Freelancing, like any profession, goes through trends and fads. Unlike most other professions, however, freelancing is still relatively new, and new trends can be tricky to spot. If you know where to look, you can benefit a lot just by keeping an eye on what your fellow freelancers are doing. The concept of borrowing good ideas from your competition is as old as business itself, so this is an opportunity to set yourself above your competition.
Copy Best Practices
Be on the lookout for freelancers in your field who are very successful. You can join large online communities such as Upwork or Freelancer, and look for the best in your field. Do some research and see what sets them apart.
Here are some quick ways to stay on top of best practices:
- Read freelancer-focused blogs.
- Speak with your clients about what other freelancers do for them.
- Reach out to other freelancers.
- Join online freelancer groups.
- Conduct general internet searches.
- Work at shared offices.
Adjust to Changing Client Expectations
If you’ve been at this a while, you probably already noticed that freelance clients are pretty familiar with the space. Experienced clients know what they want and that they can shop around for the right talent.
You can impress new clients by being prepared to meet those higher expectations. This may mean having more work samples or a better webcam for Skype communication. You might have a standard contract or work terms that you share before each project. A proactive attitude may make clients feel more comfortable because you seem like an alpha freelancer who is reliable and professional.
Incorporate New Technology
You may be very comfortable with the devices and software you are currently using, but try to keep your digital toolbox evolving with the times. You probably don’t want to jump on every tech bandwagon, but openness to better gadgets and software may make you more productive down the road.
Items to consider include:
- Time management software
- Client management software
- Accounting and tax software
- Calendars and scheduling
- A faster Wi-Fi router
- Freelance apps for mobile devices
Add New Skills Strategically
Look to add new skills that are in high demand. If you are a website designer and video production is on the rise, consider learning how to produce attractive videos. You may be a copywriter who realizes it pays to also know WordPress and infographic creation.
You might also enjoy the challenge of adding to your repertoire because it breaks up your standard day-to-day operations. If you don’t think you have the time or ability to learn something new, try teaming up with another freelancer who has skills that complement your work.
Keep an Eye on Rates
When you’re checking out other freelancer profiles, take mental note of how rates change over time. You don’t want to miss out on a potential raise or a signal that your particular skills aren’t commanding as much value as before.