If you are interested in starting a career as an independent contractor or freelancer, we have tips on how to get started!
Life as a contractor comes with a lot of flexibility but also with its own set of challenges – finding steady work, keeping several clients happy at once and still making time for your personal life are just a few of the obstacles that every contractor in every industry faces. Still, it can be a really lucrative and rewarding way to work once the clients start rolling in.
As you get started down the path to independence, consider these tips for establishing and maintaining your reputation.
1) Know your brand. What can you provide that stands out from your competitors? It is not enough to know the services you offer—you should know your niche and target market based on what makes you uniquely you.
2) Take your reputation seriously. Treat every client like they are your one and only. If a dispute arises, work to fix the problem in an amicable way. Turn in assignments on time. Charge fairly for your work. Be a trustworthy professional and your positive reputation will precede you.
3) Get online. You must have an online presence, both through a website and through social media networks that fit your industry and personal brand. Referred clients should be able to find you quickly online by name, and complete strangers should stumble upon you when doing basic searches for your industry in your area.
4) Create content. Show the world your expertise through professional content. This could be video content on platforms like YouTube or Vine, or microblogging on sites like Twitter. You should also consider guest blogging for other industry sites or providing expert opinions for other publications.
5) Turn things down. This may seem counterintuitive to getting your contractor reputation off the ground, but if you take on too much work too quickly, it could backfire. Likewise, if you say “yes” to a job that is not really in your area of expertise, you risk having unhappy clients (and a lot more stress for yourself). Take an out when you need it and stay focused on the jobs that will really make you shine.
6) Take breaks. Give yourself days off. Try to walk away from your work at a certain time each day. Remember to eat lunch, work out, and sleep. All of these things will keep you refreshed and will help you perform better.
7) Network. Always be on the lookout for ways to connect with potential clients, both in-person and online. Keep your profiles up to date on work platforms like Field Nation and social media sites like LinkedIn. Never pass up the chance to introduce yourself to someone new. Keep business cards on you. You never know when the person next to you in line for coffee could turn into your next big client.
8) Ask for feedback. You should ask all clients to give you feedback privately, either through a survey or just email. You should also ask clients who were especially pleased with your quality of work to post about it on your business profiles, your website, or even on your social media accounts.
9) Aim high. Try not to let doubt crowd your confidence. You may not have as much experience or as much positive feedback as another contractor, but don’t let that discourage you. Prove to current and potential clients that you are the right person for the job through your professionalism and commitment.
10) Commit to quality work. Give the very best service you can to every single client and you will see an uptick in the amount of work you receive.
What seems to be working for you when it comes to establishing your own reputation as a contractor?