freelance

Five Indispensable Lessons I learned about running a freelance business

You need a vision

A vision informs your goals.  Your vision might change over time, but it is good to have one.  If you are wondering aimlessly with no vision, then you have no mission or goals.

freelance
Freelance is not easy!

When I began Dfwfootball.net, my vision was to make the website the “ESPN of football in Dallas-Fort Worth.”  In some ways, that vision still holds true, although I never actually wrote it down.  Now, my vision for that website is something that’s not quite as grandiose.

When you have a vision, you know where you need to go with your business.  Then, you can implement the goals and tasks it takes to get there.

Persistence is Key

One thing is for sure, you are not going to get to the top overnight.  That’s called winning the lottery.  Building a freelance business takes lots of time and effort and long hours even.  Darren Rowse said in a video that he held at least three jobs, at the same time, before Problogger became a big hit.

It’s just not going to happen overnight.  Content can go viral fast, but becoming a successful business takes effort and patience.

Networking is the nucleus

I have gained more ground by networking than almost anything else.  Networking online; networking offline, it doesn’t matter.  The best way to find fellow collaborators and clients is to network.  The methods may be different, but the same is true for all of us.

Networking also takes time, but you can be efficient.  Go to as many conferences or meetups as you can.  It’s not always possible, so I recommend going to the ones that are free to the public.  I attended one last year in Conway, AR where I lived and met a lot of great folks whom I have since become linked to via social media, etc.

Use your social media tools.  I have seen projects become reality through the collaboration of people who communicate regularly through Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Failure will happen

Failure will happen somewhere along the road.  It might be your first try at running a freelance business.  You may mess up a project or make a client mad.  You might fail to make enough money.

However, don’t let failure be the reason you don’t try, or, even worse, the reason you stop trying.  The future may depend on us being a freelancer in some instance.  The regular, normal job is ceasing to exist (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/the-future-of-work/).  We are becoming an economy of freelance labors.  Everyone is learning that they are bringing something to the table.

I remember my first jaunt in to freelance work.  Utter failure.

If you don’t learn how to fail, then how will you learn how to succeed?

Communication is priority

Some entrepreneur are learning they need to write.  Blogging has become an essential element of running a business.  Speech is another element of communication.  Your customers are your community, and community is the base for the word communication.  If you want to build a community of customers, you need learn how to communicate.

There are so many platforms to communicate in this day in time.  You don’t have to master all of them, but you certainly need to know how to navigate many of them.  That is why companies are paying people money to consult, manage or establish social media campaigns.

Companies have been building websites for years now as well as other more traditional marketing materials.

You have to learn to communicate your message to the customer and hear from the customer all of his or her feedback.  Companies who fail to do this, especially listening to customers, will have a harder time in the next 25 years.

Marketing has become a two-way street for companies as customers have made use of the platforms they have to use such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube (just to name a few!).

What things have you learned running a freelance or small business?

Shama Kabani has shared hers.

Photo Credit: Mat Honan

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