We’ve spoken before about the many benefits of freelancing. Controlling your own time, being your own boss, and the flexibility and variety it brings to your life – just to name a few. If the current climate has taught us anything though, it’s that life as a freelancer certainly isn’t all plain sailing.
PAYE employees can be guilty of believing that their freelance counterparts are all about sleeping in late, jetting off on holiday at the drop of a hat, and spending the afternoons bingeing daytime TV.
However, when it comes to the rat race, freelancers and full-time employees have more in common than they might realise.
In this article, we throw the spotlight on how pitching for freelance jobs isn’t all that different from the stresses and strains of the standard job hunt. We share our top tips to ensure that you’re fulfilling your potential but staying happy and healthy while you’re doing it. So, what are the secrets to success?
Keep your CV and portfolio up-to-date
When you’re buried under your workload and constantly in pursuit of demanding deadlines, updating your CV or your portfolio tends to always fall to the bottom of the priority list.
But, refreshing your CV, your website, or your showreel as you go along will save you a huge amount of time and stress in the long run.
Doing so means you’ll be able to readily produce an up-to-date portfolio to strengthen your pitch and showcase your talent, without having to fumble around the archives for past examples of work.
Top tip: Ask clients for testimonials so you can include them in your portfolio.
Don’t get complacent with longstanding clients
It’s important to remember that a client staying loyal to you for several years doesn’t mean they’re immune to having their heads turned by a better offer.
It might be a lower cost, an updated process, or a new piece of kit that your competition can come along with, and swipe them from right under your nose. To stay ahead in the game, endeavour to impress your clients as much today as you did when you pitched to win them over, way back when.
Never take longstanding clients for granted. Remind them that they’re important to you and that you’re grateful for their custom on a regular basis. Make them feel special and appreciated.
Keep a close eye on the competition
This one’s a no-brainer but we thought we’d point out the obvious anyway to really hammer the message home: keep your colleagues close but your competition closer.
Pitching for freelance jobs is like survival of the fittest in the animal kingdom. If you want to rule the pack, you need to ensure that you’re always ready to pivot and evolve in order to outshine your competition.
Regularly review your pricing structure
Chasing invoices and battling late-paying clients is one of the downsides of being a freelancer, and can cause a level of financial insecurity that salaried staff don’t have to deal with.
Make sure your pricing aligns with your expenditure by regularly reviewing your rate card. If you can afford to, seek out the expertise of a reputable accountant who will be able to help you keep your cash flow on the straight and narrow.
Try to see the positive side if you’re turned down
This is much easier said than done – we get that – but when you’re putting yourself out there and pitching for jobs, you can’t possibly win them all. Try not to take it personally.
When this does happen, you’ve got two choices ahead of you: wallow in disappointment and fuel self-doubt, or take it on the chin, learn from the experience and use it to better yourself moving forward. We always recommend going for the latter. (Maybe a quick wallow with a cup of tea and a biscuit – we’re only human).
Give yourself a well-earned break every once in a while
The trials and tribulations of hunting for opportunities and pitching for jobs is exhausting. In fact, sometimes, it can feel like a full-time job in itself. Even when you win the work, when you’ve got the celebrations out the way, you’ve then got to knuckle down and get on with it.
In order to be the best version of you that you can possibly be – both professionally and personally – it’s vital that you take your foot off the gas from time to time. Stick your out-of-office on, clear your calendar, and take a break away from the daily grind to reset, recharge and refresh.
Nobody performs well when they’re on the brink of burnout – but hey, you don’t need us to tell you that.
Got any of your own advice to add? Speaking from many years of experience as pro-pitcher? Share your thoughts with us on social media using the links below!