WORK & BUSINESS >
A SERIES – PART I
“JUST DO IT ALREADY!”
This article is not going to be long because I’m not going to go into the intricacies of business setup, business management, administration, portfolio presentation, accounting, marketing, applying for projects, getting your first client, and a whole array of other skills and expertise I could share that I have learned over the past 11-15 years.
Though learning the above will come in handy in the future, you don’t need to know all of that when you start out in freelancing. Wouldn’t it be better to overcome your fear and get your first project under the belt?
Too much information can be a distraction. Analyzing the hell out of something can be a major distraction. Doing too much research and not taking action after the research is done is an enormous distraction.
THE NO. 1 MISTAKE FREELANCERS MAKE
The information I’ll share with you in this first article in our Freelance Business Series is based on one simple mistake I see beginner freelancers committing over and over:
• Procrastination, distraction, and focusing on what is not important – sometimes for months on end.
The fact is, if you already possess a skill or service that you can sell, then there is no excuse for not being able to land your first client within a week. Sometimes, when you already have the skill, you simply have to jump into the deep end and learn to swim.
BEWARE OF THE BS
No matter how many courses the “coaching experts” are recommending you take, you don’t need all of that if you have worked in your industry for several years and know how to communicate and sell to a client. Basic common sense goes a long way in the freelance industry.
BEWARE OF “FAKE” RESEARCH & “FAKE” DATA
Too much data and information will confuse you even further when you’re just starting out in freelancing. Forget about all that BS and get yourself some projects before you even design your “brand” or logo or any other BS coaches tell their students to do first. You don’t need a logo or brand identity when you start out. That can come much later.
What do you know about your brand, anyway, if you have not done a single project as a newbie freelancer in your niche?
TOP TIP -– START TODAY!
Whenever anyone interested specifically in freelancing (I’m not referring here to official business setup and registration) asks me for advice on how to get started, I always tell them the same thing:
“Before you even think about spending hours on your ‘brand identity’ or logo design, get yourself out there and make some money! You already have the skills required from working all these years in your industry. You don’t need to do another course or register a company or put yourself into debt trying to pay an accountant and bank fees just yet.”
– “But I can’t do that! I need to do some more research, do a course, write a business plan, design my logo and letterhead, rent an office, and set up my admin and accounting before I can start my freelance business…” I’ve heard that a couple of thousand times by now.
All of these are simply distractions and forms of procrastination. You don’t need to know everything about everything when you start out. You don’t have to invest much money to do your first project or get your first client, either. If you already have a skill you can use to make money with, start earning from that skill right away. It will save you countless hours spent on stuff that won’t matter in the end.
Before you got into freelancing, you had this perspective about it in your mind. All of us did. But once you start working on your first project, you realize: “Oh my gosh. It’s not like I imagined it at all. I’ll have to change my brand identity and niche now. Ooops!”
Practical experience is always hands and feet more valuable than theoretical knowledge in the freelance world, especially if you want to earn well as a freelancer. I always advise freelancers to put their skills to the test and get their first project(s) and client right away before investing too much time in brand building, business plan writing or website design. Once you have those first experiences under your belt, a whole new world will open up before your eyes that will push your mind to think more widely and broadly than if you were stuck in brand identity development and BS for months on end and then realize your business idea or brand is not going to work.
It is the same as the way many large corporations first test an idea or concept before mass producing it. Considering you already possess a sellable skill, focus first on how you can make money, which can be done within 24 hours.
Yip! You heard correctly. 24 hours is all you need to get online and start earning.
Are you a graphic designer? Great!
• So why haven’t you signed up to any freelance platforms yet and got yourself your first project? Why haven’t you competed in any freelance contests to build up your portfolio? Don’t waste any more time. Go and do it right now! It only takes about two hours to set up a proper profile on most platforms and start applying for projects.
Are you a passionate freelance writer or editor who has been dreaming of writing professionally for the past five years? Fantastic!
• So, why don’t you have any portfolio items yet to showcase to potential clients? Have you not been writing blogs, articles or books for yourself over the past five years? Why have you not approached a company and asked them if you could write their website content (if that is your niche)?
Stop making excuses and start writing blogs, articles or whatever you are interested in for yourself, family, and friends, and get your portfolio started. It’s that easy. Don’t be scared of working for free to gain writing experience. Everyone starts somewhere.
Are you a website designer or software developer? My goodness! What are you waiting for? – Website experts and developers are more in demand now than ever.
Getting where this is going?
Over the past years, I have met more freelancers who procrastinate and make excuses than I have found ones who are proactive and putting themselves out there. If you want to do anything in life, start right now. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. Today.
Come on, you can do it!