You are among thousands, if not millions in Malaysia or Indonesia trying to make some decent income doing creative freelancing. Sounds pretty difficult isn’t it? Well, not really you know. There is always a way. Give these tricks a shot.
Specialist in your niche. Are you a specialist in your subject? If you are, then all set to go. Let’s say that you’re a freelance blogger with years of experience in social media and digital marketing. Work your strengths up on these areas only and ditch others. Forget about travelling, tech, gadgets or even healthcare. Demonstrate your flexibility and ability to learn new things within your niche such as trying new way of creating good topics or style of writing. It is always critical to highlight the skills that you’re already a pro at, rather than trying something new altogether. Maintain and continue working on your sharpness is a foundation for success.
Belong to at least one freelancing site. Do you belong in any freelancing site that suits your niche? Then you might want to consider one. In Malaysia and Indonesia, if you a creative freelancer such as a blogger, copywriter, graphic designer, translator, infographic specialist, video editor, videographer and related niche, you may begin register yourself with NSE or any other related sites that can offer you on-going jobs. What these sites will do is that, they will use the strength of their brands to acquire customers. Their brand credibility attracts the customers (normally SMEs and large corporations) and therefore shorten the buying cycles. All you have to do is to wait for their cue.
Blog Blog and Blog. Do you write? Well you better start now if you are yet to write. Don’t worry if you’re not good at it. You’ll definitely find your own voice as you go along. What customers are looking for on your articles is that you’re showcasing your knowledge in your area of expertise. If you were a specialist in creating infographics for example, then you’re blog would contain information like the tips to create an attractive design, type of font to use, colour combinations and how to position each icon and make the overall design looked clean. When a customer spots your blog and they’re impressed by knowledge, they’ll definitely will contact and hire you to assist them with their marketing content because you’ve proven your value. If you want to become a great blogger, keep in mind that consumer love visual. It’s easy for them to scan through, digest and share. Also, I’m a firm believer in less is more. Get directly to the point and don’t overdo your blog posts with pictures and links.
Leverage on others. There are only so many hours in the day. Between completing tasks by the deadline, marketing your services, and the financial backend work that needs to be done, you’re not really left with a whole lot of time on your hands. When your workload becomes out of hand, get help. There are people who are willing to assist you for a small fee. They might do a better and faster job that you do. By leveraging, it is not only going to help you to release some steam off, you can spend the right amount of time to work on your creativity and work on that piece you’re working on more diligently.
Use the Right Tools. Besides leveraging, you need to also rely on the right tools to help maintain your productivity, along with saving you a ton of time and money. Here are some of the tools I’ve been using for years:
- Google Docs for all my documents such as proposals, quotations, invoicing clients through spreadsheets and presentation slides to help complete my work faster.
- Hootsuite to schedule content onto my social media accounts and monitor their activity.
- LinkedIn to build better relationships with my customers and industry influencers.
- Google Drive to provide cloud storage for documents and spreadsheets that I can also share and collaborate on documents and spreadsheets with others. There’s also email, hangouts, and a calendar.
- Canva for simple creative graphic design needs.
- Adobe Illustrator for my heavy creative graphic design needs.
- WordPress as my blogging platform.
- Whatsapp and Telegram to communicate with customers and freelancers
- YouTube for inspirations.
Take a good care of your health. Getting burnout as a freelancer is a real concern. Unlike some jobs when you just clock out at the end, freelancing can become almost like a 24/7 job. Just because you’re done actually working for the day doesn’t mean that you’re not thinking about your next assignment or some other unfinished work from another customer. This type of stress, on top of juggling your personal life can easily get in the way of your career. To prevent this from happening in the first place, take the following steps.
- Set the expectation on time boundaries. If you’re away for the weekend or swamped with work, don’t be afraid to tell your customers. Be totally upfront. While making more money is tempting, overcommitting is one of the easiest ways to get overwhelmed and beyond on your work. It is also the best way for you to become unreliable. There is no way you can do absolutely everything that has to be done all by yourself.
- Establish goals and priorities. My rule of thumb is first come, first serve – unless the customers need something urgently. Work on your top priorities first and get to the ones that aren’t as important later.
- Only accept projects or customer that interest you and not ‘difficult’ to work with. Just because you could use the extra cash doesn’t mean that you have to accept a stunt that you loathe. Are you really going to be motivated to complete a task when it’s something that bores you or is for a customer you can’t stand?
- Build a strong rapport with current customers. Remember your anchor customers. Take care of them and they will take care of you. Be their friends and within their circle of trusts.