Our common problems as freelancers

Last month, I was invited by friends to an outdoor potluck. It was the first "nice weather Saturday" of the year, thus a meal outside was the best plan possible in a city where the sun is hard to come by.

by Mariana Cadenas
In a garden full of strangers, a common theme of discussion took me by surprise, that of the number of people freelancing and our common point of struggles. An accountant, a chiropractor, a translator, a French teacher, a voice coach, and a novice filmmaker like myself all faced the exact same issues as self-employees: how to find clients, how to promote your services and how to price them.

Freelancing can be alienating. But knowing that these professionals with a very different skill set than my own also suffered the same trail of problems, made it seem a bit less lonely. The accountant invited me to join the Facebook group called Freelancers in Belgium, from where I found out about the Freelance Business Day.

The event's agenda quickly revealed the same reality back at the potluck. I was determined to find at least 10 tips related to our common troubles. To my new freelance acquaintances, to anybody that might be interested in knowing how to pave a path as a self-employed, below my top takeaways from that day:

1) Opening time for marketing your business is priority

2) Systematically document and share some details about your projects on social media

3) Create a sales framework that starts with wishlist clients

4) Focus on why they need your business, why now, and why you (in this order)

5) Deliver high-quality work, freelancing is a trail of reference

6) Reach out to 5 connections every single week

7) Completed a project? Ask for reviews and referrals

8) Negotiate your price as high above the ladder as possible

9) Pricing is a value puzzle, you must create it while balancing various factors such as: income, time, marketing value, learning experience, network possibilities, fun, easy money, and intellectual challenge

10) Understand that as a freelancer you are constantly navigating in a sea of rejection. Learn how to swim these waters, and take advantage of as many good waves there are available to ride

For more about Freelance Business Day

Mariana Cadenas
Freelance Journalist
Mariana is a visual storyteller, trying to understand the World through human connections. One who truly believes that empathy is running scarce, that we need to create spaces where we listen to each other. Connect with Mariana.
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