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April 6, 2004
The Art of Successful Freelancing
By Kristi Patrice Carter, J.D.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for yourself?

There'd be no boss to ask you to stay late, no petty rivalries or office gossip to contend with, and no early morning commute (especially in sub-zero weather) to endure. You'd be home when your kids came back from school, and if you felt like doing your shopping or going for a walk in the middle of the afternoon, well heck, who's going to stop you?

Is it any wonder then that so many people have already made the freelancing jump?

Obviously, building a successful freelance business won't happen overnight. You'll need to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills. You'll have to learn how to find clients, market your talents, and recruit reliable help.

But for any budding freelancer, these are challenges not obstacles. Best of all, with experience, they soon become just another routine part of the job.

So how do you get started on your own successful freelance business?

The first thing to do is to conduct some comprehensive market research. Determine who your competitors are and how they market their freelance services. For instance, if you are a writer, conduct an online search and thoroughly review your competitors' Websites. While you're there, view their portfolios and their price structures. Use their information to determine how to effectively market your services and set your own prices.

Second, obtain all the information you can on becoming a successful freelancer. Read articles and books that will tell you what to expect each step of the way. In fact, lots of freelancers have produced accounts of their own transition, especially freelance writers. In so doing, they help newbies cross the freelancing threshold without having to learn the hard way. Fire Your Boss and Hire Yourself! Freelance Your Way to Happiness and Prosperity is probably the most helpful of these accounts. It contains interviews with a number of successful freelancers (from all walks of life) and features advice and tips on what to expect and what to avoid when embarking on a freelance career. For more information, visit www.freelanceyourway.com.

Third, join a few online freelance Websites that assist in finding you jobs. Some of the most popular ones are Elance.com and Guru.com. There are, however, hundreds of them on the Internet and all you have to do is visit your local search engine, type in "freelance," and hit "search." You can then evaluate the myriad possibilities on your own.

Fourth, once you find an interesting freelance Website prospect, browse the actual site before you make a commitment. That way, you can spend less time getting into the flow and more time building clients. Try it out for a while and see where it leads you.

Fifth, check out message boards and online newsgroups where other freelancers hang out, and network, network, network. See which sites are in and which ones are out, and try to obtain contract assignments.

Sixth, make sure that you effectively market yourself both online and offline. This will help you obtain more clients and will assist you in building solid client relationships.

Lastly, make sure you've got all the equipment you need, and then, when you're ready, kiss that long commute goodbye and say hello to the wonderful and lucrative world of Freelance!


Kristi Patrice Carter is a published writer, experienced copywriter, and owner of three online writing Websites (www.kpcresume.com, www.kpcmarketing.com, and www.mywritingta.com ). Mrs. Carter is also the author of Fire Your Boss and Hire Yourself! Freelance Your Way to Happiness and Prosperity (www.freelanceyourway.com).
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