It can be tempting to want to jump straight in and start as a freelancer right away, but reading these helpful tips first will help you create a strong freelancing foundation on the Fiverr platform as well as help you navigate the freelance life successfully.
This list is designed to help you avoid the most common freelancing pitfalls while creating irresistible services to promote here on Fiverr. If you’re new to freelancing, this guide will give you a handy set of starting points as well as provide inspiration along with new marketing outlets to advertise your Fiverr services. If you’re a freelancing pro, you’ll want to check out the section on growing your freelance business as well as boosting your productivity and avoiding burnout.
Ready to take the giant step into freelancing? Check out first what makes a doer!
Getting Started: Is Freelancing Right for You?
While anyone can be a freelancer, some people are more cut out for the job than others. And keep in mind, it is a job, with requirements and responsibilities that you’ll need to handle just like a regular job. So, to help ensure you have the best possible start, follow these tips:
- Write Down Your Goals
- Define Your Skills
- Have a Clear Niche
- Figure Out What Makes You Worth Hiring
- Consult with Friends and Family
- Check Out the Competition
- Find a Trait that Differentiates You from Your Competition
- Find Answers and Solutions to Your Target Customers’ Needs and Problems
- Define What Value You’ll Provide to Your Clients
- Treat Yourself and Your Work as a Business
- Learn Self Discipline
- Develop Psychological Triggers that Convert Leads into Customers
- Identify Key Messages that Help Tell Your Story
- Stay Informed, Know What’s Trending in Your Niche
- Invest in Equipment, Technology and Training
- Decide if You Will Be Working from Home or Not
- Have Extra Savings to Help Alleviate the Turbulence from the Launch Period
- Study the Marketplace
- Write Winning Gig Proposals
- Define a Pricing Strategy
- Be Clear about What You’re Going to Offer
- Be Quality Conscious
- Get Your Own Blog
- Consider Having a Distinctive Logo Created
- Create Yourself a Free MailChimp Account
- Add an Email Opt-In Form to Your Blog Sidebar
- Get Tailor-Made Email Templates for Automated Responses
- Comment on Others’ Blogs
- Guest Post on Relevant Blogs
- Go Social, Network Online
- Attend Meetups
- Market Yourself on LinkedIn
- Build an Online Portfolio
- Offer Free Giveaways to Boost Blog Email Sign-Ups
- Focus on Building Your List with Tools like Leadpages and Unbounce
- Do Some Free Freelance Projects for Friends in Exchange for Testimonials
- Use Those Testimonials within Your Blog Content
- Save as Much Money as You Can
- Be Professional
- Don’t Sell Yourself Short
- Make Sure the Project Aligns to Your Expertise
- Make Sure You Fully Understand Your Customers’ Needs and Expectations
- Make Sure You Have All the Requirements to Do the Job Properly
- Give Your Clients Regular Updates (Even if They Don’t Ask for Them)
- Over-Deliver and Exceed Your Clients’ Expectations
- Respond Quickly to Customer Messages
- Meet Your Deadlines
- Request Feedback to Further Improve Your Services
- Promote Your Gigs Through Social Media and Your Blog
- Register Yourself as Self-Employed/Sole Proprietor
- Use a Reliable Invoicing Software or Service
- Number Your Invoices
- Keep a Record of Your Invoices
- Hire an Accountant
- Learn the Basics of Accounting
- Keep Separate Bank Accounts and Credit Cards for Business Purposes
- Deduct Business Expenses from Your Taxes
- Keep Detailed Records of Your Income
- You May Be Able to Deduct a Portion of Your Home Office from Your Taxes
- Claim All Eligible Deductions
- Create a Detailed Monthly Profit and Loss Statement
- Do One Thing at a Time
- Automate Common Tasks
- Stay On Task with 40-to-50-Minute-Long Sessions
- Eliminate Distractions as Much as You Can
- Consider Outsourcing to Other Sellers to Get More Done
- Plan Your Day Before It Begins
- Remove Things that Hamper Your Productivity
- When You Plan to Work, Work. When You Plan to Rest, Rest
- Write Down What You Need to Do
- Be Organized
- The Less Stress You Have, The More Productive You’ll Be
- Reset the Deadline
- Set a Schedule
- Keep Your Work Area Neat and Organized
- Do Small Things As They Arise
- Start the Day With Your Hardest Task First
- Develop a Routine
- Stop if You’re Losing Focus
- Identify During Which Times You Work Best
- Work Out
- Get Enough Sleep
- Set Aside Time for Blog Comments
- Use a Virtual Assistant to Help You Complete Daily Tasks
- Work to Develop Your Skillset on Complementary Items
- Stay Up to Date on Industry Trends
- Take Advantage of Online Marketing Tools
- Nurture Client Relationships
- Send Out Promotional Emails to Your Blog Prospects
- Ask Your Most Satisfied Clients for Referrals
- Publicize Positive Reviews Across All Your Digital Channels
- Network Offline
- Refer Customers that Aren’t a Good Fit to Other Sellers
- Follow Up with Clients Who Requested Information But Didn’t Buy
- Reply to Inquiries Promptly
- Update Your Blog Followers Using Social Networking
- Be Honest
- Keep a Detailed Customer List
- Attend Industry Tradeshows and Conferences
- Invest in Continuing Education
- Offer New or Extra Services
- Get Some Professional Business Cards
- Create Your Own Team of Freelancers to Partner With
- Increase the Rate of Your Gigs
- Give Back to the Community!
What do you want out of freelancing? Many people say “more freedom” or “the ability to be my own boss”. Those are admirable goals – write them down! But writing them down alone won’t make them happen. Keep asking yourself, “What will that bring me?” after you write your goal down. Think of it as making “sub-goals” that will get to the heart of what you’re really after as a freelancer.
Even if you know you do something well, it’s worth defining it in concrete terms. For example, “web designer” encompasses a wide range of skills – from graphic design to programming to project management. Defining your skills helps you “zero in” on what you’re truly good at, and what can really help you thrive in the freelance world.
Going back to our “web design” example, there are tons of web designers out there – both on Fiverr and beyond. The good news is that you don’t have to compete with all of them. Choosing your niche – that is, your specialty – can help you stand out among a sea of competitors. For example, you could decide to specialize in the WordPress platform, design website templates in Photoshop or focus on mobile-responsive websites. All of these are types of web design gigs that are making money right now on Fiverr – and you can be a part of it, or create your own special niche that you can dominate!
Once you’ve narrowed down your goals, your skills and your specialty, the question then becomes, “Why should the customer hire you?” What makes you worth hiring doesn’t necessarily have to be your background or the degrees you have, but other, intangible features – like your attention to detail, your ability to coordinate with a team, or your special skills or a combination of skills that set you apart from the competition.
If you’re hitting a roadblock and struggling to define what makes you stand out as a freelance superstar, consider asking your friends and family – if they were looking to hire someone in your line of work, what would make them want to hire you? If they really know you, they’ll gush about your many positive qualities – qualities you can then springboard off of to start working successfully in the freelance world!
No successful freelancer ever got there by working within a bubble. Great freelancers know that there’s plenty of competition, and they’d do well to keep a finger on the pulse of that competition, before they find their best source of income has dried up because someone else offered the same thing with the same features – only cheaper! Monitor what the competition is doing and feel free to make course corrections as needed. No freelancer’s offerings are ever set in stone.
This tip sounds a lot like “figure out what makes you worth hiring” – but in this case, it’s not so much centered around you, as it is your competitors. If your competition isn’t as attentive to answering customer support inquiries, or don’t specialize in a certain aspect, you can take note of their shortcomings and make those your differentiating factors.
Never forget that the reason your freelancing career exists in the first place is because your customer base has unanswered needs, questions and problems – problems that they’ll pay to solve. As a freelancer, the question then becomes – how can you better understand your customers’ problems and how can you solve those problems more thoroughly, efficiently and quickly than your competition? If you’re not sure how to answer that, research the relevant tools and technology you’ll need. You can use Quora.com, Facebook, industry forums and even Yahoo answers to do some basic market research.
This is a tangible tip referencing a very intangible thing – value. You’re not just providing value in terms of the service that you offer, but in how well you do the job, as well as how well you follow up after the job is complete. Your attentiveness, focus, professionalism – all of these are values that your clients will come to enjoy and rely on you for. They’ll also provide the foundation for a strong and thriving freelance career.
Making the Leap into Freelancing
So you’ve decided that freelancing is the perfect move for you – great! But how do you get your new business off the ground? Are there any innate skills or qualities you should have? Anything that you should learn? When thinking about a freelancing career, there are still pitfalls to be wary of. Many freelancers who didn’t listen to the following tips found themselves scrambling to keep up with demand and still produce quality work on time.
This is probably the most common mistake that new freelancers make – they forget that they are running a business and that they and their work should show it. This means little to no interruption, professional replies and conduct, and the ability to focus without distractions.
Self-discipline is a key quality of the most successful freelancers. Having the focus to set yourself to a task and see it through to completion is easier for some people than others, however it is also a trait that can be cultivated and nourished. Follow whatever steps you need in order to help yourself, such as minimizing distractions, making a to-do list, setting a timer for a set amount of attentive on-task work – whatever helps you! As you continue to work toward honing your self-discipline, you will find that it becomes easier each time!
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is just how insightful you become regarding people’s behaviors and psychology. It can be fascinating to uncover the true motivations behind turning leads into customers – and also a bit of a challenge. Taking the time to research and study human psychology, including emotional triggers and “hot buttons”, can help make turning leads into customers much easier and smoother.
Everyone has a story, and you are no different. Your story is going to be both what differentiates and endears you to your customers. Key messages refer to the points you want to emphasize when sharing your story. What makes you – and by extension your services – worth paying attention to? What do you bring to the industry that can help your clients achieve their own goals? Zero in on those messages and make them a part of your profile description.
Don’t be out of the loop when it comes to industry trends and updates. Subscribe to magazines (online and offline), follow industry news sites and Twitter accounts, and generally keep abreast of what’s happening. Although your customers won’t know about the trends directly, they will often nevertheless be influenced by them in a roundabout way – much like Apple changed our expectations for what electronics and mobile devices should look like. Even if you’re not a mobile device guru, you can’t deny the impact that these trends had on the population as a whole. Stay informed.
The freelance launch period can be especially turbulent (see tip #17 below), but don’t forget to invest in equipment, technology and training that can make you better at the service you provide. It doesn’t have to be brand-new equipment or costly technology. See what successful Fiverr freelancers are doing and how they’re investing in technology and tools to improve their solopreneur success.
Working from home has its own set of benefits and challenges. As everyone’s lifestyle is different, you may find it quiet and comforting to work from home and focus. Alternatively, you may be at your wit’s end with interruptions from family. In the latter case, coworking (renting out a spot at an office designed for self-employed or small groups) can help you get into a more entrepreneurial mindset – without the distractions.
Every smart entrepreneur knows that you don’t just take the plunge into freelancing on a whim. You plan for it as best as you can – which includes having a “safety net” of savings during the rocky launch period. How much is enough? Experts say you should have at least three months’ worth of the necessities (money for rent/mortgage, food, utilities) saved up, but others advise as much as half a year. While that can seem like a staggering amount, it all depends on your lifestyle and how much you feel you can realistically save without having to resort to ramen noodles every night!
Great entrepreneurs don’t just study the competition – they study the marketplace too. Look at what’s being offered on the Fiverr marketplace. Of the offers that are available, what’s selling the most and rated the highest among consumers? Studying the marketplace doesn’t just give you an idea of what your competitors are doing, but also – and perhaps more importantly – what customers are buying. How can you adapt the Fiverr marketplace offerings for your own target audience? In what way can you carve out your own niche among the competition?
Gigs are how work gets done on Fiverr. You can think of a gig as a small slice of your overall service offering. There’s no limit to the number of gigs you can create, but we recommend that you don’t spread yourself thin when starting out. Don’t hesitate to offer a very specialized service, just as this Fiverr user did, and then branch out as you begin to build up a following on Fiverr. To do this successfully, you’ll want to write a compelling gig proposal outlining precisely what you have to offer. Not much of a writer? No problem! There are plenty of freelance writers on Fiverr who are standing by to help you!
Your pricing is one of many deciding factors a customer must examine before they ultimately choose you (or your competition) to do business with. What is your pricing strategy? How will you price your products so that they are affordable, yet help you avoid wasting time with “tire kickers”? This may be a bit of an experimental phase as you settle into the right pricing structure – but fortunately, you can easily adjust the prices of your Fiverr gigs so that your service price remains competitive and within the reach of most client budgets.
Before you jump into preparing your gigs (or having them written for you), decide what is and is not going to be included. The clearer you are in your proposal, the less chance that there will be misunderstandings between you and your clients over what’s expected and what’s delivered. Take time before formulating your gigs to outline precisely what your customers can expect as a result – it will save everyone needless hassle, frustration and disappointment!
As a freelancer, quality is first and foremost. As the old adage says, “Be the project great or small, do it well or not at all.” Taking the time to ensure a quality result – no matter what you’re offering – will help make sure that you don’t just complete job successfully, but that you create the foundation for future potential work from that client. As you continue to refine and build your skill-set, never forget that quality is what separates the average freelancer from the truly great.
Having a blog adds another side to your freelancing business – a more personal “get to know you” side. Not only can your blog be used to share and demonstrate your skills, but it can also serve as a portfolio of your work, and give clients a more in-depth look at the person behind the gig. There are many free sites that allow you to create blogs. The most popular is WordPress.com, the hosted/managed WordPress version. You can also install the WordPress content management system on your own domain name, like example.com/blog. If you don’t know how to do, Fiverr is home to many excellent WordPress specialists who can help you get up and running quickly.
If you’re not much of a graphic artist, creating a logo can be a complex and cumbersome chore. The good news is that there are plenty of Fiverr freelancers who can create your logo for you in a way that perfectly reflects your niche, personality and style. Having a distinctive logo not only sets you apart from your competition, but it also allows you to build a brand around your company name.
Email marketing is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to forge one-on-one connections with prospects. Mailchimp.com is an email marketing solution that offers its basic account for free. This allows you to build a mailing list of loyal, interested blog subscribers who are looking for the solutions you offer and who want to hear from you. MailChimp is easy to set up and offers numerous plugins that work with WordPress and other sites and platforms too, making it easy for people to stay informed and see your latest work.
An opt-in form lets users leave their name and email address in exchange for information – something you’ll definitely want to have as part of your blog. This is as easy as copying and pasting code from MailChimp to your blog. This way, you’ll have an instant, simple way for your blog visitors to sign up and stay up to date on your latest projects, specials and more. If you’re not sure how to add this opt-in form to your sidebar, there are many freelancers on Fiverr who can customize and set this up for you at a very affordable rate.
Another great benefit of a mailing list is the fact that you can automate common responses rather than answering the same questions over and over again, which takes up your valuable time. If you’re always asked the same kinds of questions, you can hire a Fiverr freelancer to set up an automated response within MailChimp for you. You can even hire a specialist on Fiverr to create a custom template designed that incorporates your new logo and color scheme – making every email even more authentic!
One of the best ways to spread the word about your new freelancing venture is to provide constructive, helpful and kind comments on other people’s blogs. Don’t just spam them with your blog URL, but rather provide helpful insights or thank the user for writing such a solid post. Ideally you’ll want to comment on blogs that are complementary to your own – not in direct competition. This may even potentially open doors to some possible partnerships or referrals down the road!
Guest posting is an invitation to contribute a post on another person’s blog. It can be free or paid, depending on the blog’s author or team. But just because it’s free doesn’t mean you should shun it – after all, that’s free publicity! Share your expertise or experience, write a how-to guide, or even a list of tips like this one. Most blogs that you guest post on will let you have a byline – or a short 2-3 sentence bio with a link back to your site at the bottom of the article.
The web offers a host of networking opportunities, and they’re not hard to find. From social media like Twitter and Facebook to professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, there’s no shortage of groups (both local and specialty) that you can join and share tips, techniques and strategies, as well as get advice or questions answered. And who knows, maybe some of those connections will turn into customers!
Local meetups in your area are happening all the time – at industry conferences, small groups, and networking events. Why not be a part of them? Look at it as more than an opportunity to hand out your business cards (you DO have business cards, don’t you?), but rather get to know people’s needs, common issues, trends and much more. Even if they’re in the same industry as you are, there’s no reason not to join in and learn what’s impacting your line of work as a whole.
LinkedIn is a great opportunity for professional networkers to make connections, join groups and reach out to influencers and rising stars alike. You can also advertise on LinkedIn with paid ads. Although not as popular as Facebook, LinkedIn caters to a more professional audience and is a great way to not only build new relationships with potential clients, but uncover guest blogging opportunities, potential referrals and much more.
Your blog can serve as an excellent basis for an online portfolio. Share your latest work and include not just photos of it from different angles, but the story behind its creation as well as any particular methods or techniques you used to make it stand out. This way, when people see your gigs on Fiverr, you can also direct them to your portfolio if they’d like to browse more of your work.
Want to increase the number of users who sign up to learn more about you and your work from your blog? Create a small but valuable freebie they can request in exchange for their name and email address on your opt-in form. It can be a small e-book, a guide, an infographic – anything your prospects would find value in having.
Leadpages and Unbounce are both landing page creation platforms that can help you build your email subscriber list. Create something for free, such as a tip sheet, guide or other resource, and give it away in exchange for the user’s name and email address. A landing page can be a great way to promote your freebie and your list, while inviting users to get to know you and your work.
While most startup gurus advise against working for free, it may be a good way to get a “foot in the door” by doing some free work for colleagues or friends in exchange for their honest testimonial – particularly if you’re having a hard time getting customers because of a perceived lack of experience, or there aren’t many entries in your online portfolio.
When you get your testimonials from the free work you’ve done, don’t hesitate to use those in your blog content! Put them in the sidebar or on your online portfolio page to demonstrate the faith and trust that customers have in you. Testimonials can lend a great deal to your credibility and your reputation as a freelancing professional!
During the startup phase of your freelancing career, it can be challenging to stay on track and still make income comparable to what you did before you made the jump. This is why it’s so important to save as much as you can during the beginning – resist the urge to splurge on the latest technology, software or other items, but don’t needlessly struggle either. Find a solid balance so that you can continue to hone your skills and boost your income.
Boosting Your Success as a Freelancer
Once you’ve taken the plunge as a freelancer, you’ll find that it’s vital to handle business in the most professional way – from how you respond to messages to how you deliver on client expectations. Here’s how to take your freelancing business to the next level.
It sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised at how many freelancers use the same everyday language and slang in their business messages as in their texts to a friend. Keep a level head and be professional and courteous in all of your messages and dealings with your clients. Don’t argue, belittle, or dismiss their concerns. Take the time to understand the problem fully and work toward a mutually beneficial resolution.
If you’re just getting started as a freelancer, resist the urge to sell yourself short when it comes to offering your services. You have a lot of talent and skill – don’t shortchange yourself just because you’re new to the world of freelancing! Always be looking for ways to add more value to the work you do, and charge a fair price. You’re worth it!
There’s nothing more jarring than taking on a new project only to discover that you have no real idea how to proceed with it. If you can’t do it, don’t string along the client and get their hopes up. Be honest and forthright. If the project isn’t a good fit for you, perhaps you know other freelancers who would enjoy the challenge? It may take a little time and getting a few projects under your belt to discover what makes a good fit for you, but once you do, you’ll find that the projects you complete are much more satisfying.
What does the customer really want? As freelancers, it’s tempting to want to jump right in with the instant answer to all their problems. However, make sure you take the time to listen intently to what the customer needs and what they expect to receive from you. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask, as you want to be absolutely certain of what’s to be delivered before you start. This helps you avoid any misunderstandings and miscommunications and ensures a much smoother job.
When creating a gig on Fiverr, you can specify certain requirements that your buyer must provide in order for you to finish the job. This can be things such as their logo, various logins, or anything else you need in order to complete the gig. Before you begin, make sure they’ve provided you with this information or these assets.
Clients love regular updates – but oftentimes they’re so busy with their own work that they forget to check in with you. Go the extra mile and send them updates on your progress. They’ll be glad to hear about any new milestones that have been reached, and they’ll appreciate you keeping them “in the loop” when it comes to their project. A quick message should do the trick!
One of the best feelings in the world is when you finally deliver the result to your client – and absolutely WOW them. Always look for ways that you can over-deliver and exceed their expectations. Even if it’s something small but noticeable, clients will notice that you made the extra effort and their decision to choose you as their freelancer will become that much stronger – which may lead to more work in the future!
If a customer contacts you, it’s probably because they have a question, concern or other issue that needs your expertise. If you can respond to the message quickly or resolve the issue relatively soon, take the time to do so. Customers appreciate that you can help them quickly or answer their questions in a timely manner. It shows that you’re committed to their success and that you respect their time and are eager to help them find a solution.
There’s nothing more disheartening than missing a deadline. Oftentimes with projects, many different things are hinging on your ability to complete the job in a timely manner. So, if you set a deadline, do your absolute best to meet it (or deliver before the deadline if possible and delight your customer that much more!). Of course, things happen and sometimes you’re not able to complete a project on time due to circumstances beyond your control. If this happens, notify your client as soon as you can and explain the situation.
Every freelancer can improve on some aspect of their service – so why not ask? Your clients would be glad to tell you anything they feel that you could improve upon, or they may even suggest additional services that you could consider offering. Don’t be afraid to ask for their opinions and feedback, and use that information to help you grow and evolve your service offerings.
Don’t rely only on Fiverr to showcase your gigs; you can also help promote your seller page and profile by using some of the free promotional tools Fiverr provides you with to help you amplify your gigs’ exposure. Via a simple HTML code you just need to copy and paste, within a click you can share your freelance status within your blog sidebar or social channels such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Tax Tips for Freelancers
Freelancers have to handle tax season a bit differently than those who are not self-employed. However, the suggestions below are only general guidelines and are not to be construed as specific financial advice. You should consult with your local tax office, tax professional or accountant in general, and specifically for questions relating to taxes in your own country.
In many countries, you will need to register yourself as self-employed or a sole proprietor. There may be a fee involved and some paperwork. Doing this makes it easier at tax time for you to be able to demonstrate that you were employed and that you had taxable income. Depending on where you live, failing to do this may cause you to be subject to a penalty.
When tax season rolls around, reliable invoicing software or even a web-based service can help you considerably. Not only can it provide proper documentation of income and loss, but it can also help you track your spending, manage your clients and much more. There are a wide range of invoicing programs and services available – both free and paid. Just be sure that the one you choose is comfortable and convenient for you to use, because as a freelancer who wants to get paid promptly, it can be your new best friend!
Keeping track of your projects and the work you need to do can be cumbersome enough if you don’t have a system in place to manage them. This is why numbering your invoices is so important, as is having a system to track and manage them. So you just got a payment for invoice #55? What was that for again? Who was the client? Having a system in place to tie payments to clients and track amounts is crucial for professional freelancers.
Having an online system or software program to create and save invoices not only lets you track your income, expenditures, clients and any outstanding payments, but it also helps you keep a record of those payments for tax purposes as well. When looking into a proper invoicing system, being able to keep historical records of who paid, how much, and when, will help you build an accurate profile of your freelancing business.
Taxes can be overwhelming, so it may be in your best interest to work with a seasoned accountant who understands the ins and outs of the freelancing business model and can help you complete and file your taxes accurately. Accounting is a lot for one person to juggle, so there’s no shame in reaching out for an expert to help you juggle that paperwork!
Does it feel like your accountant is speaking a foreign language when talking to you? Learn the basics yourself! There are several great online courses, as well as local classes you might find within your area, that will teach you the basics of accounting so that you can better understand the terminology and tips your accountant gives you.
Even if you’re just starting out, it’s always a smart idea to separate business and personal expenses. Apply for a credit card that’s to be used strictly for business purposes (and no, an emergency pizza is not a business expense!) as well as a bank account that’s separate from your personal one. This makes it easier at tax time for you to correctly divide your assets – something that tax departments look at keenly when browsing tax returns.
As a business owner, you can deduct a wide range of business-related expenses from your taxes. Depending on your local tax laws, you may be able to deduct a portion of things such as the technology you invest in, courses or books to improve your skills, and even some of your travel if it’s to and from meetings with clients. Obviously, what you can deduct varies greatly from one country to the next, so check with a tax attorney or accounting professional if you have specific questions.
The right invoicing program can also help you keep detailed records of your income – something you should be doing regardless of the program or service you use. Records of how much you made and spent are going to make your tax preparation much less of a headache, so do yourself a favor and save your sanity (and time) by keeping detailed records now.
Although the rules vary from country to country, if you use a part of your home purely for business purposes, you may be able to deduct a portion of it from your taxes. You’ll want to consult with a qualified tax advisor to know if it’s possible within your country and for details on how to do this and how to calculate how much you can deduct. For some freelancers, this kind of news is always surprising – and welcomed!
While we’re on the topic of deductions for home offices, it’s worth noting that if you can claim a deduction – do it. Again, depending on where you live and local tax regulations, certain things – even the mileage you drive your car or your work-related meals – may be deductible. Consult with a tax advisor within your area if it’s applicable to you.
Another helpful step you can take, even before tax time, is to make a detailed profit and loss statement. Not only is this good to have for tax purposes, but it also shows you, month by month, what’s working and where you could be losing money. Does your business have more of a seasonal upturn or downturn? The only way to know is to look at your profit and loss statements over the course of a year. You may be surprised at what you learn!
Boosting Your Productivity
Productivity is like fuel for freelancers, and who couldn’t use more of it? If you want to learn how to get more done in less time but without sacrificing quality, these tips are for you.
You’ve likely heard of the term “multitasking” and may even believe that if you can handle several things at once, you’ll be able to get more done, faster. But our brains simply aren’t wired to multitask well, which is why it’s worth avoiding the hype and focusing on one thing at a time. Not only will you avoid making silly little mistakes by spreading your attention too thin, but you’ll also be able to devote yourself wholly to the task at hand and give it your full concentration.
Many of the everyday tasks you do as a freelancer can be automated to some extent. Take the time to craft questions and answers for your buyers for each gig you create with the more common questions you receive, or look for ways to streamline or automate some of your work using technology, services and tools. By getting a lot of the simple stuff under control, you can spend time focusing on more complex challenges.
You can’t realistically expect to be able to spend a complete 8-hour day sitting at your desk working tirelessly on a task. There are just too many distractions and things competing for your attention. To help you stay on task, devote yourself to 40 to 50 uninterrupted minutes of complete focus.
It can be nearly impossible to avoid distractions entirely – so try to cut back on them as much as you can. Turn off your cell phone, and shut off Facebook and other notifications to give a job your complete attention. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family – true friends will want to see your venture succeed and will do what they can within reason to help you reach your goal.
If you find that your work is starting to pile up and you could use a little help, you could reach out to some of Fiverr’s top sellers to see if they’d be willing to tackle some of your workload at a fair price. Not only does this help you get more done, but it can help you broaden your service offerings as well and nurture professional relationships.
Start each morning productively by planning your day before it even starts. Think about what you’re going to accomplish that day and how much time you’re going to allot to different tasks. Leave some “breathing room” for issues that might crop up, but by planning your day this way, you lessen distractions, keep your focus, and get more done!
If you find yourself positively glued to your phone, it may be better to take it to another room so you won’t be distracted. Try to cut out as many things as you can that are slowing you down during normal business hours – such as social media alerts, non-client phone calls and so on. As inviting of a distraction as they may be, you can always catch up over lunch or at the end of the day!
Running a business – especially from home – can create an unusual sense of time. Especially in the beginning, you may feel like you want to pour yourself into your work – but this is the quickest way to feel burnt out and exhausted. Stick to a plan – when you’re working, work. When you’re resting, rest. Don’t try to combine things or take on additional work when you should really let yourself rest. Your body will thank you for it.
A “to-do” list can be a major help when prioritizing your tasks. Don’t try to remember it all in your head, because you’ll inevitably start to forget things. Write it down and make it happen – then you can experience the satisfaction of crossing items off that list as you make progress!
Working from home in your pajamas sounds like fun – in the beginning. But the more organized you are, the better you’ll be able to complete the tasks and tackle even larger projects. Organize in a way that makes sense to you. If you’re all about folders and file boxes or tracking things on whiteboards, or if you prefer a more digital space, choose the style of organization you’re most likely to stick with in the long run!
The last thing you need when you’re trying to run a freelance business is to accumulate too much stress. That’s why you should work to eliminate as much of it as possible. Learn to delegate more often – to your kids (if they’re of the appropriate age) or enlist your partner to help. Think even of hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions to teach you some basic meditation or relaxation exercises to help calm and stretch your body.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things come up that we simply have no control over. If you have such a situation, reach out to the client well in advance and ask about moving the deadline. Explain the issue and offer a free bonus to compensate for the delay. Sometimes a client can’t agree because they have their own deadlines; if this is the case, don’t argue, review your schedule and do your best to meet your client’s expectations.
Just as in the regular 9-to-5 workplace, you likely had a schedule that you adhered to, and freelancing should be no different. The good news is – you can create your own schedule! Just make sure that when you do, you’re creating a schedule that’s totally workable and not overloading yourself with unnecessary stress. Give yourself some breathing room in your schedule and make sure to take time out from work to rest and relax too.
Your work area will quickly become the central focus of your day, so it’s important that you keep it neat and organized as much as you can. Have the tools and things you need on a daily basis within easy reach and work to keep it that way. You’ll feel a lot better with less clutter around you too!
When little things crop up throughout your day, it can be tempting to simply push them aside until a later time. But continuing to do this could mean that they blossom into even bigger things which require even more of your time and attention. Take care of the small stuff as it happens, provided it’s just small stuff.
One of the best ways to ensure a good start to your day is to tackle the complex, challenging or difficult stuff first. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll feel empowered enough to handle all of the other things on your list, and you can congratulate yourself on a job well done!
A solid, predictable routine is a definite asset when it comes to managing your freelance business. Set aside time to focus squarely on project tasks, emails, phone calls and so on, in a routine that you can easily manage and adapt to as different needs arise. Not only will this let you tackle each day’s projects with a greater awareness of what needs to be done, but it can help boost your productivity too!
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we lose focus. There are other demands or priorities that crop up and take away our time and concentration. If this happens to you, it’s okay to stop and tend to that thing (or things) that is causing you to be distracted. Just try to ensure it doesn’t happen constantly! Plus, you’ll free up more of your time to focus on the task at hand rather than the thing that’s causing you to lose focus in the first place!
Everyone has a certain rhythm where they work best. Maybe you really are a morning person or more of a night-owl. Perhaps you’re somewhere in between. As you continue in the freelancing world, you’ll naturally establish a routine and hone in on the times you work best. Use these times to tackle complex challenges or work on more involved projects. Your body will naturally go through ebbs and flows as the day progresses. Learning to work with those peaks and valleys can help you get more done, faster.
Sitting at a desk all day can lead to a host of health problems if you’re not careful. Plus, you’re not getting the exercise you used to. Fortunately, now that you’re more in control of your schedule, you can take some time out for yourself to work out. You also don’t necessarily have to join a gym or fitness center if you don’t want to. Even something as simple as a walk or running with your dog in the park can help your body perform at its best.
Just as you should work out regularly to keep your body in shape, so too should you make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Caricatures of freelancers plugged into coffee machines and working into the wee hours of the morning are funny, but the toll it can take on your health is anything but! Make sure you’re getting those zzz’s!
Answering blog comments can expand to fill up hours of your day if you let it. So, take time now to set aside a certain portion of your day specifically to handle blog comments. Setting aside time to answer them will help you get as many of them tended to as possible – on a schedule you set.
If you’re struggling to get all the work you need to finish done, why not hire a virtual assistant? There are several virtual assistants on Fiverr who are ready to jump in and tackle your most pressing daily tasks, so be sure to check out their skills, reviews and more to help you get more done, faster!
Branch out by honing skills that are complementary to your own! For example, if you’re a website designer, why not learn tools like Adobe Illustrator for illustrations or InDesign for print layout? Look for ways to continually add value to your services and keep learning new skills that will build a strong freelancing foundation that can last for years!
Growing Your Freelance Business
Growing your freelance business is vital to your long-term success. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to do and your efforts can add up quickly!
Take some time out of your day to read industry publications, news sites and more related to your line of work. What’s trending? What’s changing? What major changes are happening that could affect your work or your clients? By staying up to date on these trends, you’ll be able to capitalize on changes and new advances as they happen – and not play catch-up later when your competitors are miles ahead!
There are a number of helpful marketing tools – both free and low cost – which you can use to better organize your daily tasks and to-dos. Some of our favorites include: Teuxdeux.com – for making to-do lists, Google Docs and OpenOffice for web-based writing, and MindMeister.com, a premium online mind-mapping tool.
Your clients are your lifeblood as a freelancer, so even after you’ve completed a project, be sure to nurture those client relationships in the best way you can without being spammy, otherwise you run the risk of finding yourself penalized. Ask how their project is going and if there’s anything you can do to help. You may be surprised at the answers you get – and they may lead to future work as well!
If people have visited your blog and left their email address, but aren’t your clients (yet), why not reach out to them as well? It goes without saying that you MUST NOT SPAM, as sending out too many emails, even if your prospects have given you permission to contact them, can sour a relationship before it ever gets off the ground. Let them know about any specials you’re offering, any new gigs you have available and more to help compel them to become customers.
A satisfied client is an asset that can’t be bought – so why not ask them, while thanking them after they have left you a positive review, if they know of anyone else who can also use your services? This will give you a foot in the door when reaching out to their friends or colleagues, and because your client has been so delighted with your service, their own feedback will help diminish a lot of the concerns or questions a prospect may have when doing business with you for the first time.
When you get a positive review or testimonial from a client, don’t just share it on your blog – share it on all your digital channels! These can include your email list, social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and much more. Let others who are thinking of working with you (but maybe haven’t told you) see what kind of experiences your clients are having!
Don’t forget that there’s a whole world out there where networking is still done offline. Industry conferences, association meetings, fundraisers – don’t hesitate to network offline too! It’s a great way to find new prospects, show off your work and even find people who offer services that are complementary to your own.
Sometimes, through no fault of yours, customers just aren’t a good fit. Maybe they need something that doesn’t really fall within your realm of expertise, or they have a strict deadline that you’re not sure you can meet. During times like those, it’s okay to refer these clients to other sellers who have those skills. It can even be a smart idea to build a sort of “seller shortlist” so anytime a client doesn’t match up with what you have to offer, you can still refer them to someone that can help them – a win-win!
If a prospect has requested more information about your service but ultimately didn’t buy, don’t write them off! After some time, follow up and see if they found a solution, if you can help or if they have made progress with their project. Obviously we never repeat it enough – DO NOT SPAM!
One of the things that can help set you apart from other freelancers in the same line of work is how quick your response time is. If you can respond to customer inquiries promptly, they’ll remember and appreciate your promptness and courtesy – and if you’re that quick at responding, imagine how quickly and efficiently you could do their project! Of course there are many other factors involved, but it does a great deal to make a great first impression!
You don’t have to rely solely on email marketing to keep your blog followers updated; use your main social channels as well. If you don’t have the time, here again you can hire a social media specialist within the marketplace to help you out!
The old adage says “honesty is the best policy”, and nowhere is this truer than in business. Be honest and upfront with your customers. If you can’t complete a project, are having trouble or otherwise need to break some bad news to them, it’s much more worthwhile to be honest than it is to keep trying to string them along and making them wait!
You don’t need a full-blown CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program, but keeping a detailed customer list, either on paper or digitally, can help you keep track of each customer’s needs, even after you’ve finished the current project. Afterwards, what else might they need help with? They’ve already trusted and invested in your current skill-set so it’s obvious that they trust your abilities. Now how can you continue to add more value?
Are there tradeshows or conferences around your local area that you could attend? If so, don’t miss out on the opportunity! Not only will you meet new people and possibly get new referrals, but it will help you stay abreast of industry changes and new tools that can be used to broaden your skills and grow your business.
Check out online courses such as Udemy.com to see what other skills you could add to your existing expertise. For example, if you’re a graphic designer who specializes in illustration, why not try a photography class or learn a computer programming language? It’s never too late to start learning and building upon your experience.
Many of the most successful Fiverr gigs involve extra services that complement the existing ones. What are some things that you could add that would enhance your project even more and provide even greater value to your customers? Which things are most in demand from clients after completing a project with you? What else would they need to help them succeed? Reading Pete Accetturo’s success case study can help you gain a better understanding of this strategy.
Business cards may seem old-fashioned, but they’re still widely used offline – especially during meetups, networking events and conferences. You can have some professionally made on Fiverr by PRO graphic-design sellers who can design and print business cards for you!
Having a network of freelancers that you can not only refer clients to but also partner with to deliver outstanding service is a mainstay of many growing companies. In time, you’ll work with a range of talented individuals who offer skills that may be outside the scope of your own – but you all have the same vision to grow your respective businesses and help your clients. Don’t hesitate to partner with these people to tackle even larger projects than you could do alone!
As you complete gigs on Fiverr, you’ll steadily build up a portfolio of projects as well as exposure on the site as a top freelancer. If you’re finding that you get a lot of work, but don’t have a lot of time, why not increase the rate of your gigs? As your skill and quality improves, so too does the price you can ask for.
Continuing to grow and build a thriving freelance business is a terrific accomplishment! Why not share your experience with the Fiverr community? Join the forum, follow the blog and don’t hesitate to leave comments – your experience can help inspire others to do more and be the best in what they are undertaking.
So…Ready to Begin Your New Career as a Freelancer?
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