Ways To Become A Successful Online Freelancer

Ways To Become A Successful Online FreelancerBack in September of 2013, I published the article Tips For Successful Freelancing Part 1. Well, today you finally get to enjoy Part 2 🙂

Online freelancing is hard work. I don’t care what anyone says.

Yes, I occasionally work in pajamas from the comfort of my bed, but that doesn’t mean that my work is easy or that becoming a successful online freelancer is easy.

Here are my tips to become a successful online freelancer (don’t forget to read Part 1!):

Take each job seriously.

Whether you are getting paid $100 or $1,000, you should be taking your role seriously. You should always make sure that your quality is the best that it can be. It is important to keep your level of quality high because you never know who may find your work. You don’t want your reputation to be forever doomed because you slacked off on a project.

Of course, you still want to remain realistic as well. Working 100 hours to earn $10 would not be worth it to most people.

If you do not see value in a project that you are asked to do, you are not required to say yes! I know that many freelancers try to take as many jobs as they can, but you really do not want to undervalue yourself or wear yourself out. You should be pricing your services out to a rate where you feel comfortable working.

Always stay up-to-date.

The online world changes quickly, so you should always try to stay on top of it all. I know, I know, it can be hard, especially since you probably already have 1,000 other things on your plate.

However, you should always try to learn new things such as by attending conferences (I love FinCon), networking with others, reading freelancing-related articles, and so on.

Do you want to be an expert or be diversified?

Some will probably disagree with me on this, but for the most part I think becoming an expert in just a few areas can really help a freelancer out.

If you are focused on just a few things, you can really try to improve yourself and the services that you provide. I think it would be much more difficult to offer 100 different services, because the chance of you being an expert in all 100 is very slim.

I recently came across a freelancer (I won’t share their name) who seems to do everything. They design websites, staff write, manage their own website, manage websites for others, have an online store, sell their photography, do virtual assistant work and more. It is just insane the amount of jobs that this person does, I’m not sure how they even have time for it all!

There is one BIG positive to offering several different services though, and that is that you are probably well diversified. If one area completely tanks, you can then rely on the other areas instead.

What do you think? Would you rather be well diversified in the online freelancing world, or would you rather be an expert? Is it possible to be an expert in multiple areas?

Get on social media.

If you are an online freelancer, then I really hope you are active on social media. I would look into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and possibly others as well. You should see what works best for you and your industry, but in many cases having each of the above accounts is a good idea.

Social media can be a great way to network with others, and it’s always a great way to keep in touch with past, future and current clients.

Provide great customer service.

Whatever you do, please always try to provide great customer service. I always cringe whenever I see a person who is super talented in what they do, yet they are very unapproachable because of how “mean” they seem.

Your reputation will eventually get around and it may cost you business down the line.

No, the customer isn’t always right. However, I’ve seen freelancers be catty and mean to perfectly nice people. It just doesn’t make sense to me!

Learn how to take criticism the correct way.

I know others who hate to be criticized. Even if a client says the smallest thing that wasn’t meant to be mean, they will take it like an insult.

If someone has a critique, you should at least TRY to see their side. You never know, they may say something extremely valuable that will actually help to improve your business.

Have an emergency fund.

This last tip is a little bit different from all of the rest. This is mainly because if you have an emergency fund, it doesn’t mean that you will be a great freelancer.

However, if you are already a great freelancer, an emergency fund can keep you in the game even when you have a bad month.

If you have a bad month, it can real put a sour taste in your mouth and put you in a horrible mood, and this horrible mood may affect your work. Having an emergency fund is a definite need in the online freelancing world!

Are you an online freelancer? What tips do you have to share?



Ways To Become A Successful Online Freelancer — 14 Comments

  1. I agree with you that being an expert in one or two areas can be great. Having a niche tells people that you’re worth more than the generalist down the street, and you also only work in the area where you’re the most knowledgeable and comfortable.

    • I agree! I know that I’m sort of all over the place, but I do try to keep my services a little contained to things related to writing and social media.

    • Job boards can be great. Most of my clients found me through my writing on my blog and other websites though. Having a “hire me” page on your website is always a great idea.

      For freelance writers, rates can really vary. They can sometimes be as low as $15 or as high as a few thousand. It’s really hard to say.

  2. I like these peeks into your world.

    That’s true about not being a jerk no matter what. If you’re kind to a person they will more than likely repay the kindness. You can attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

  3. Hey Michelle, great article. I can imagine it would be hectic keeping up with all the little tasks that add up when earning income online. I work full time during the day and sometimes it can be tough to juggle that with the blog. Luckily I actually like blogging so it doesn’t seem like a chore

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  5. Thanks for the helpful tips! I’m getting really into freelancing. On one hand I think it’s better to be an expert, but with my personality type I think it’s better for me to be diversified. I want to do a lot of things! One thing I need to work on is taking criticism well — I am a sensitive person, but I have so much to learn too, so I don’t need to take things a certain way. I also want to provide great customer service and be approachable, always deliver on time, and produce great content.

  6. Thanks for the advice, Michelle! Like Will, I really like these peeks into your life 🙂 I’m not a freelancer yet, but I appreciate the advice to become an expert in a few niches. My difficulty is finding something I’m an ‘expert’ in. I’m an expert in going to school… not very marketable in my opinion 🙂

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

  7. Great to get round to the follow up here Michelle..
    Any advice on freelancers improving their “copy-writing” skills..

    All the best with your upcoming wedding too, hope it all goes/has gone well 🙂

  8. Have a portfolio. Your own site, where you showcase your work. Freelancing job site portfolios are OK, but you should have your own ‘hub’.

  9. I agree. You should have 2 or 3 fields. I think specializing just in one subject is risky because your income source can change overnight, but 5 or 6 areas are way too much.

    Let’s say you’re a writer. You should have a at least 3 topics to cover (diy guides, food, freelancing, finances, whatever you want).

    It’s about finding balance 🙂

    Great post, Michelle!

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