This article is written by Quin Hoskins. Having studied law and several science-related subjects at degree level, this has provided him with the perfect foundation to cover an eclectic range of topics in his freelance writing career. From the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs to countless travel sites, he is proud to be associated with companies and organizations that are definitely at the top of their game. The flexibility of his freelance writing business allows him to devote a significant proportion of his time to study and is finishing his last course – out of 6 – towards his LLB (Hons) this year. He is also an avid traveler and has proudly visited 40 other countries to date, with much more planned for the future.
When you work for another company, you usually receive regular training sessions and refreshers to ensure you are performing your role to the very best of your ability. Now, just because you have decided to work for yourself, this does not mean you can forget all about refreshing your knowledge and skills; on the contrary, when you are responsible for you alone and the services you are offering, this becomes even more imperative.
It is a widely accepted fact that any type of service offered by a freelancer is not going to stay the same forever. Alas, this is never the nature of the beast. With this in mind, there are a number of things you can do to help make sure you have that truly competitive edge in your industry and that you far outshine your competitors. So what is a freelance? Here's what freelancers should know about being adaptable in this ever-changing market.
Keep Your Finger On The Pulse
Having worked as a freelance service provider for more than eight years now, I can honestly say that there are certain aspects of my industry that have changed beyond all recognition since I first started. This has been due to the fact that the industry has evolved and technology has moved on. Furthermore, the huge search engines have continually moved the goal posts when it comes to a concept known as ‘search engine optimization’ and this has meant that I have had to keep my finger on the pulse on a regular basis. SEO will be familiar to a number of different service areas in the world of freelancing.
This does not mean to say that I have to spend every waking moment investigating the latest news releases to stay abreast of my industry; simply that an allocated hour or two every week to catch up on the current developments is more than sufficient. Most of the time, you are likely to find that there is little or no change to the status quo; other times there may have been a seismic shift that you will need to acquaint yourself with adeptly as soon as possible.
Evolving Trends In Your Clients’ Expectations
It is worth bearing in mind that you will not be the only one keeping up-to-date with the current trends in your freelancing industry. You may well be surprised at how quickly your clients will become aware of the latest best practices and will absolutely demand these elements in every new project you take on. If you have failed to do your homework, trust me when I state that your client will soon work this out and it will be very little skin off their nose to move along to the next freelancer who actually seems to know what they’re talking about.
Charging For These New And Improved Services
One of the biggest issues you will notice as a freelancer is that many clients want something for nothing. They will expect you to adhere to the latest best practices, which often may involve additional work on your part, but will invariably expect to pay the same rate to you. This is one of the biggest challenges you are likely to face working for yourself. This requires very careful handling and the key here is to exert a confident yet always polite approach in your service area.
When corresponding with the client, do not be afraid to identify the fact that there will be more work involved than before. However, you need to truly sell these new skills to the client. This is where you may like to confidently set out what the client can look forward to as the end result of the project. Let them see what you are doing for them and how you care about delivering a project that is absolutely up-to-date and most likely to help your client succeed in their future endeavors.
Freelance Working Platforms
You will have to excuse me here while I let out a huge cat-like hiss and my family look up at me as if I were going mad! Oh my goodness, over the years, I have found that freelance working platforms really can prove to be the absolute bane of your life. It is fair to say that there have been times when they have driven me completely crazy! However – and it really is a BIG HOWEVER – you need to accept from the outset that these new working platforms are going to prove to be your bread and butter; especially when you are first starting off in your freelancing career.
So, you’re happily working away as a freelancer and everything seems to be going swimmingly well – then BANG! Your main working platform announces that they will be doubling the rate of commission they will be charging you for next month, or you will not be entitled to so many ‘connects’ from next month and will have to pay extra to get in contact with potential clients. Worse still, your favorite platform will send you a message to let you know that it has been taken over by another dreadful company that you always did your best to avoid in the past as it was not productive for you (experienced providers reading this blog will know exactly which platform I am talking about here!). Believe it or not, but all of these very situations have arisen for me within the past two years.
Once you get over the initial panic and anxiety of such an announcement, your survivor instinct will kick in and you will immediately start to work out how you can adapt and change to accommodate this new development. Do you attempt to move to other working platforms, if available? Do you stay put and simply ride out the changes? When it comes to it, only you will know; but this is the lesson you need to be prepared for right now if you truly intend to put some longevity behind you in your freelancing career.
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