4 ways to challenge yourself and grow as a freelancer

Business News | 5 May |

Freelancing has gained traction as more organizations adopt remote working models. There is a projection that by 2027, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the U.S., translating to 50.9 percent of the workforce. Many people are now part-time contractors or jumping into the venture full-time.

However, the journey is not always smooth sailing, especially at the beginning when you are yet to establish yourself. To succeed in consulting, you have to define your niche and work hard to offer distinctive value in the market. With an increasingly competitive business environment, freelancers need to innovate and expand their services.

Challenging yourself is critical to ensure you stay relevant and sustain your business by always having access to freelance jobs. To inspire yourself to reach your full potential, utilize specific guidelines, such as:

1. Keep Learning

Your skills and knowledge are your competitive advantage in freelancing, setting you apart from the rest of the professionals. You must invest in learning to keep growing your knowledge. Almost all sectors experience new developments in technology, industry dynamics, work approaches, etc. The changes mean that there is always something new to learn.

First, decide on the niche you want to focus on, then determine any knowledge gaps you may have that prevent you from attracting lucrative contracts. Remember, with basic knowledge in an industry, contracts you can access are typically fewer and low-paying. With expert knowledge, you begin to play in the big league. 

There are many online courses and programs available to help you learn on your schedule. You need not worry about attending physical classes and can combine your lessons and work from the comfort of your home. To identify courses that are best suited for you, track where your industry is heading, and try to cater your skillset to fit the future of your industry.

2. Collaborate

Collaborating with fellow freelancers to offer dual services is a great way to access opportunities. The contractors established in their various fields often get direct requests from prospective clients to bid for jobs, and in some, they may not be the right fit. When you partner with such freelancers, they can recommend you for new opportunities.

You can identify other professionals that offer complementary services to yours and ask them to collaborate. For example, a social media manager could collaborate with a data analyst for a full-service social media opportunity. Some freelance platforms offer community engagement forums where you can identify potential collaborators. Frequently interact with your fellow freelancers on such platforms, and you may get a partner.

Choosing another professional to work with is like getting a business partner. Therefore, have the same considerations you would before getting into a partnership. Be sure to find someone with a similar mentality and share the goals for the collaboration upfront. If you are not in sync with your vision and objectives, the venture may not work. 

3. Share Your Intentions

You can access contracting opportunities from various options, i.e., freelancing platforms, direct clients, cold pitching, etc. Each method has its pros and cons, and no one approach works for all people alike. Some freelancers opt to use multiple means to grow their businesses. Whichever method you use, sharing your intentions is critical in making headway.

One distinctive way to this approach is by sharing your portfolio with clients, especially those you want to target in your growth. You let prospective clients know what you can offer and how you can expand your services with them. Some freelancing sites provide platforms for showcasing your projects and providing consulting services.

You can also showcase through cold pitching to organizations/individuals you perceive need your services. You need a well-organized selection of your past projects and certifications to demonstrate a compelling value proposition. Soon enough, clients will notice and sign you up.

4. Be an Authority

Being an authority in your industry sets you apart from other professionals and reduces your competition for projects. Have a strategy for establishing yourself as an authority in your sector and for the services you offer.

There are many strategies you can use to become an authority. Such approaches include – building relationships with experts & influencers, expert engagement in online community forums, focusing on one niche, offering courses, etc. You can opt to create online training in a field you are competent in or share advice on social media.

Consider starting a website or blog that allows you to share more long-form advice and insights on your industry with the masses. In this approach, you get a personal published profile that prospective clients refer to when considering contracting you. 

Grow Your Freelance Business

There are many success stories of freelancing ventures. Many professionals are now earning a living exclusively from freelancing, an increase of 8 percent since 2019. It is possible for you when you take action to develop your potential and use it to succeed. Soon you will overcome the setbacks of starting and jumpstart your career to the next level. 

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