The Freelancing Success Code

morse-codeFreelancing is hard work, but it’s not impossible.

While most successful freelancers work extremely hard (which usually means putting a significant effort into their business), those who are serious about freelancing usually find that the effort is well worth it.

Yet, a surprising number of would-be freelancers are stuck. They don’t know how to start freelancing and once started they don’t know how to proceed. It’s almost as though there’s a secret success code that separates the successful freelancers from the rest. It seems like those who know the code succeed and those who don’t know it don’t make it.

Well, there isn’t really a secret freelancing success code (although some “gurus” may try to convince you otherwise). There are, however, some principles that all freelancers must follow if they are to succeed. In this post, I’ll share those principles.


Freelancing Success Principles

There’s lots and lots of success advice out there. Some of it is even pretty good advice. A lot of it, however, is subjective and only works in certain situations for certain freelancers.

There are a few things that are pretty much universal. Here are some of those principles that all successful freelancers must follow:

  1. Get Started. Many people talk about freelancing, but never really get their freelancing business off the ground. They can’t succeed as a freelancer because they never even get started. You can talk all you want, but talk is cheap and talk alone won’t ever lead to freelancing success.
  2. Do What You Say You’re Going to Do. Honesty is huge in freelancing (and in fact, is vital to any successful business endeavor). If you commit to doing something for a client, you need to do everything in your power to make sure that you live up to your commitment. If your clients can’t rely on you to get things done you won’t be in business long.
  3. Make Money. Successful businesses make money. They cover their expenses and earn a profit. They may give something away as a promotion, but at the end of the day a successful businesses earns a profit. To be successful, know what your expenses are and adjust your charges so that your expenses are more than covered and there is a profit left over.
  4. Don’t Quit. Many small business owners and freelancers give up way too soon. It’s normal for a young business to encounter difficulties and make mistakes. Often the only difference between a business that ultimately succeeds and one that doesn’t succeed is that one business sticks with it and learns from their mistakes while the other doesn’t.

Another Look at the Freelancing Success Code

I wish that I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me how I got my freelance business to the point it is today. As you can probably guess, I get that question a lot.

Sadly, most of the questioners aren’t satisfied with the real answer, which involves a bit of hard work on their part. Instead, they want some super-secret freelancing success code that will allow them to take the short and easy path to establishing a freelancing business without much effort.

I’ve read a lot of freelancing advice over the years. I’ve even read material from some of the self-appointed success gurus. What I’ve learned is that, while it’s possible to work more efficiently in some instances, there is no substitute for following the principles listed above. Without them, you don’t really even have much of a business.

What do you think?

Is there a secret freelancing success code after all? Have you found it?

What success principle would you add to the ones listed above?

Share your answers in the comments.

Image by jenny-pics