There are freelancers who get by and there are freelancers who make things happen. Who would you like to be?
I am guessing that you’d obviously like to be the latter. Warrior freelancers are those with the mindset of winning (but they are alright with losing). Everyday is a battle, and in the end they know that they are in a war zone. Freelancing is simple when you think about it; it’s the “doing” that’s the tough part.
Here are some ways of the truly heroic, warrior freelancers:
Marketing warfare is in the middle name
Warrior freelancers get off their bed and start pitching, hustling, selling, marketing, and doing everything they can to secure new business. It’s something that they do every single day, where this task is high-priority and shows up in the red. Marketing everyday is the single biggest secret of success of warrior freelancers.
Pitching for new businesses, sending out proposals, throwing bids in response to Requests For Proposal, and sending in direct emails, or working hard to pull in projects off your social media networks — they do whatever it takes, everyday, regardless of responses. They just work at getting better with every proposal or pitch instead of agonizing over why previous pitches didn’t work.
Diplomacy for dealing with clients
Not all clients are great to work with (… but most of them are). Some of them can be a pain and that’s when warrior freelancers bring out a mix of being firm while still being polite and diplomatic depending on what works best at that time. Warrior freelancers are not afraid to state what’s on their mind. They don’t mind having a frank chat with clients on what’s right and what’s wrong.
In fact, the best of the freelancers choose not to do business with clients who err on malpractices, sleazy methods of work, and tons of other reasons. Obviously, you can only afford to do this when you master the first point on marketing.
Taking tough decisions and managing uncertainty is as easy as breathing
When you are going through a rough patch and a client proposes to work with you for a fraction of your usual cost, what do you do? When the going gets even tougher and that job offer is too tempting, should you give in? It seems that you just started out freelancing and there doesn’t seem to be a profit windfall yet, what do you do?
Tough calls, all of them. How do you know what’s the best course of action is? You don’t know; you just go with the hunch. You try. You just let the situation determine the outcome.
Living with uncertainty
Should you start getting used to that client who’s been with you for the last 4 years? How about this other client who accounts for 65% of your monthly billing? You shouldn’t get used to anything in the world of freelancing except your marketing and productivity habits. Everything else belongs to the world of uncertainty and that, I am afraid, you’ll get used to in due course of time.
Quitting? What on earth is that?
I agree with Laura Spencer on Freelance Folder who wrote 10 Marks of a Self Disciplined Freelancer. Clients are nowhere to be found. You barely make anything to feed yourself and pay the bills let alone taking care of your financial needs. The corporate world beckons. Freelance seems to be a tall order with hollow promises, after all.
Should you quit? That depends. Warrior freelancers don’t quit. They just learn from their mistakes and start another day of doing things right. They figure out where they are going wrong and then set about doing it all right. Quitting is a word they don’t’ have the luxury of knowing.
The code of honor
What if your clients insist on having you work on things that are wrong? For instance, SEO clients could ask you to work on Black Hat SEO. Perhaps a web design client wants you to use ancient code or hidden, manipulative techniques?
What if a client who wants to hire you for your content writing services request you to rewrite, copy & paste, or clearly force you to engage in unethical practices? Warrior freelancers don’t take up such projects. If they ever quit working for clients, it’s here. If you have to be in business, there’s a code of honor that you should abide by. Everything else can take a backseat.
What kind of a freelancer are you?