How to be a great freelancer

How to be a great freelancer

Some reflections on a training event

Last week I attended a virtual masterclass run by Alison Grade, author of the best selling The Freelance Bible published in early March last year (a book I was aware of but haven’t read!) The timing of the masterclass was perfect for me – a new year is often a time for reflection. Having been freelance for 10 months I have been thinking about what is going well, what ‘needs improvement’ and what I could do differently. In the two and a half hour session Alison covered a great many aspects and I don’t intend to repeat it all verbatim, but will expand on three aspects that especially resonated with me:

Freelance Mindset

Alison talked about our own wellbeing, considering the Freelance Mindset includes the essential need to feel ‘secure with the insecurity’. For many people having control over your work pattern is a strong attraction to going self-employed in the first case. As a new freelancer I did initially struggle with the uncertainty – not knowing what potential clients or opportunities there might be next week or the week after. As the year progressed securing clients did increase my workload leaving less time to worry about this. The workload also meant it was necessary to negotiate with potential clients (where there appeared to be some flexibility over timing).

Work ON your freelancing

Alison reminded us of the joy / pain (delete as appropriate) in being a freelancer and the need to wear many hats – including Chief Executive, Sales Director and Finance Director. If we are lucky enough to be working on multiple projects simultaneously there is a high likelihood that our focus will be to keep the current clients happy and less time spent on securing the next client. Alison’s suggestion was to spend a small amount of time each day on the underlying business of being self-employed – whether this is making contact with potential clients or keeping on-top of invoices.

Secret sauce recipe

The secret sauce recipe was Alison’s metaphor to think about the value that I add to to my clients. This will be a combination of my skills and experience but also my personal values. I found this to be a refreshing perspective and not one I have necessarily communicated clearly to potential clients.

A thoroughly enjoyable session with lots of opportunities to ask questions and one or two additions to my todo list!

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