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10 Ways to Make a Living as a Freelancer

For people who enjoy being their own boss, freelancing offers the chance to work when you want, where you want, and how you want. It also gives you the opportunity to grow as your business grows, so it’s not uncommon to start out doing everything yourself and become a manager of other freelancers over time. Achieving success as a freelancer can be challenging though, so read on to find 10 ways to help you make a living as a freelancer.

1) Plan for success

According to a recent poll, 55% of freelancers say they aren’t earning enough money. But that number is misleading: While some freelancers find themselves perpetually strapped for cash, most can increase their earnings by following these four steps. As long as you’re strategic about how you operate your business and what services you offer, it’s possible for any freelancer to do well with their career.

2) Stay motivated with gratitude

Maintaining a gratitude journal is an essential part of your new freelancing routine. Writing down everything you’re grateful for will help you stay positive and happy, which are vital components to long-term success in freelancing. Plus, it’s an easy way to remember how far you’ve come! Simply write down what you’re thankful for every day; over time, your gratitude will grow even larger and more powerful.

3) Budget wisely

Just because you can live frugally doesn’t mean you should. There are ways to save money without sacrificing your quality of life. The key is having an emergency fund and putting savings in separate accounts that don’t tie up your cash but allow it to grow interest-free. Also, realize that different cities or regions might have higher costs of living, so budget accordingly. You may need to make more—and work harder—to get by in certain places than others.

4) Be organized

Your freelancing career depends on your work being organized, including your payment system. A tool like Freshbooks can help you manage your time and keep track of customer payments. You may also need to set up an LLC or separate corporation for freelancing purposes, depending on what kind of freelance business you’re starting up. If that sounds like too much trouble, consider taking on paid projects only from companies you have a relationship with or who have been referred by someone else in your field.

5) Make your home office efficient

If you’re not working from an actual office, make sure you find a comfortable space for work. Having all your tools and supplies at your fingertips will help you feel more productive. Plus, it’s easier to remain focused when you aren’t running around looking for equipment or supplies.

6) Try new opportunities

Working for yourself has great advantages, but one of its drawbacks is that your income can be inconsistent. To stabilize your cash flow and increase your earning potential, try new types of work. Working part-time in retail or as a waiter/waitress will help you learn skills that you can use to supplement your freelancing career—and bring in some extra money on nights and weekends. Another option: look into gig economy apps like Uber or TaskRabbit where there’s always something available for you to do.

7) Network with others

When you first start freelancing, it’s easy to fall into a jack of all trades, master of none situation. You don’t want that. You want to build an actual career so you can count on yourself for money in your old age. To do that, you need to build up your network—you need people who trust and respect you who will hire you and keep hiring you long-term.

8) Get Help When You Need It

This is one of those tips that may seem blindingly obvious, but don’t be so quick to dismiss it. A professional often has more connections than you do. So, go ahead and ask them if they can introduce you to their client/colleague/friend who does something similar to what you do. You might be surprised at how quickly things progress from there!

9) Focus on Balance and Wellbeing, Too!

When you’re starting out, it’s easy to get caught up in work. But remember: You also need to be able to relax and enjoy yourself! Remember that doing something for fun doesn’t have to equate into work, so if you want your business (and your life) to flourish, make sure you don’t neglect hobbies and other activities that feed your soul.

10) Know When It’s Time to Quit

You’ve spent time coming up with an idea and then carefully writing your business plan. At some point, you have to accept that you won’t be able to do everything yourself, and let go of your vision. You have to know when it’s time give someone else control of your business. And while there are plenty of individuals out there who will gladly step in and take over, there are also many bad actors looking for ways to exploit people who aren’t prepared.

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