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7 Basic Keys to Freelance Success | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

7 Basic Keys to Freelance Success

Date March 26, 2008


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Distraught little Suns fan
Creative Commons License photo credit: robotography

Every successful endeavor has some type of formula that successful people follow. And every successful person goes back to the basics—to “freshen up”, stay on track, and make sure their course of action is sound.

You may already be proficient, but fine-tuning in absolutely necessary. The following keys will help keep you motivated and focused on your goals.

Make your service better

Sounds simple but it’s often overlooked. Many newcomers fail to look at the existing market—to scope out the competition or otherwise. What they don’t realize is that, oftentimes, the most successful service is just a new spin off an old idea.

You may think you’ve hit on a one-of-a-kind, never heard of before idea. But, chances are, someone else has already been there. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on your idea. It just means you’ll have to do a little more work to be successful.

Focus on your priorities

 Remember the reasons you wanted to start your business in the first place. For me, I wanted to pay off my house and possibly start investing in real estate.

My priorities served as motivational tools. Whenever I felt like my situation wasn’t getting any better, I remembered why I started in the first place.

Sometimes it gave me a creative jolt to try new services or marketing methods.

Know your competition

In this business, knowing your competition is absolutely necessary. For whatever reason, many newbies are afraid to look. But examining and analyzing similar businesses can help you find a niche.

Look at your competition’s marketing materials. Look at headlines, which ones grab your attention? Now, think of ways you can alter headlines to meet your service specs.

Niche and grow rich

You’ve heard this before. But it applies even more so today. Try to find a target market that you can hit again and again. With my initial service offerings, I targeted small and home based businesses.

It was hard at first—I felt like I was limiting my market. I don’t know if I did limit myself but my response with this group was excellent.

I don’t think I would have had quite the response if I targeted a generic audience with generic marketing messages.

Cut your losers

If an idea doesn’t work, stop doing it. All is not lost if an idea doesn’t materialize like you thought. Actually, that’s good news because it forces you to think like your customers.

It forces you to be more creative.But even the best of ideas can end up in the trash pile. But that’s ok. Sometimes old ideas can be revived later.

Know what your customers want

One way to use your e-mail list is to survey your customers. If you don’t know what they want—ask. If you’re sincere and honest, you’ll get a lot of positive feedback—not to mention free ideas.

Don’t think of your customer as just another sale. If they want something, they’ll certainly tell you.

Just do it

There comes a point when you have to step out in faith and go. Before I started my business I felt like I had to know everything.

Over the course of 9 years, I filled my bookshelves with every business startup guide, I read every business magazine, and I sought out the council of successful business owners—then I sat. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do.

I was waiting for “the establishment” to give me a push, to tell me it was all right to go ahead. But it never happened.

There comes a time when you have to sit down at your computer, or pull out your pad of paper, and start your business. Good, bad, or ugly you have to make it happen. You don’t have to be perfect.

You don’t even have to be right. You just have to start—as slow and unfruitful as that may be.Looking back, I realized that I wasted at least five years. I’ll give myself two years credit but that’s only because I like to take my time.

But, there were five good, productive years that I missed. I don’t want to think of the profits I lost. You’ll never know what you can really do unless you start—today.

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Related posts:

  1. How I Wasted a lot of Time Starting my Business
  2. 25 Trendy and Unusual Freelance Business Ideas
  3. Freelance Idea Monday - Creativity Consulting

2 Responses to “7 Basic Keys to Freelance Success”

  1. Wade Balsdon said:

    nice article, practical advice for someone starting up a new business.

  2. Jerret said:

    Thanks, Wade. Glad you liked it.

    -Jerret

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