You’re unique. I’m unique.
We have different personalities, freelancing specialties, and goals. What works well for one freelancer may not work for another.
With the online advice deluge from a myriad of so-called gurus, blogs and books–it’s easy for a freelancer to forget what makes them tick and get caught up in trying to follow the latest fad.
Yet following the wrong freelancing advice can be a bit like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It’s hard to do and if you do manage to get it done it just doesn’t work right.
I’ve never been a believer in one-size fits all advice. When I give advice, I share what generally works for me based on my own experience–but I also encourage readers to share their own thoughts and experiences.
In this post, I’ll explain how you can get the most from online advice and provide some tips for finding the right advice for you.
The first part of finding the right freelancing advice is being honest about yourself. You need to know yourself in order to find advice that works well for you.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself:
- Why do I freelance?
- What are my freelancing goals?
- What type of working environment do I prefer?
- When do I like to work?
- How much work am I willing to do?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you have a filter that you can use to review all future freelancing advice. Consider what you’ve learned about yourself each time you decide whether or not to take someone else’s advice.
For example, if you know that you’re just not a morning person (and never will be), then productivity advice that tells you to get up an hour earlier each day probably isn’t going to work for you. Now, there’s not really anything wrong with that advice–it just doesn’t fit you if you’re not a morning person. That same advice might work well for someone who is at their peak in the morning hours.
In addition to knowing yourself, you should also take the time to review the qualifications of the guru who is giving you the advice.
Know Your Advisor
Before taking online advice, you should consider the source. As yourself, why is this person qualified to give advice?
Here are some questions you can use to review an advice guru’s qualifications:
- What experience does the expert have?
- What type of specialty is the advisor working in?
- Does the advisor’s personality seem similar to yours?
- What do others say about this guru?
While there many qualified experts online and a wealth of good information online, there are also those who simply don’t know what they’re talking about. If you don’t like what you find, look elsewhere for an advisor.
To find out more about a particular online expert, check the following sources:
- Their website
- The social media profiles (and particularly their LinkedIn profile)
- Any online articles or posts that they’ve written
- Testimonials about the expert
But remember that even an advisor who doesn’t match your specialty or personality exactly can provide a tip (or two) that you can learn from.
The Bits and Pieces Approach to Using Advice
Just because someone is offering freelancing advice doesn’t mean you always have to follow all of that advice (or any of it). What works for someone else may not work for you. Often, however, you will find a few good ideas to implement in advice that otherwise doesn’t apply to you.
Also, don’t feel guilty about not taking advice that doesn’t really fit your needs. Don’t let yourself feel pressured to do something just because everyone else seems to be doing it. There are trends and fads in popular advice just as there are in other things.
Most of the time it’s okay to take the bits and pieces of freelancing advice that apply to you and forget the rest.
There’s a huge amount of good freelancing advice online, but not all of it is for every freelancer.
What’s the very best freelancing advice you’ve ever gotten? Why was that advice so good?
Share your thoughts in the comments.