Skills pay bills, but adding to your freelance repertoire is Priceless.
When we start as independent workers, one thing zaps all our energy (and it’s quite normal): finding our clients. They are essential for our business, for us to get paid and feel useful! Nevertheless, just like employees need to train themselves, the entrepreneurs must not neglect their own development. For themselves…and their clients.
Skill up to develop your business
Nobody knows everything, even in their specific expert domain. As freelancers, we need to keep ourselves updated on the latest developments and continue learning to stay “on top”. A saying that becomes even truer in domains that are far away from any natural skills, but are crucial to make your business run: accounting, sales tactics, communication… It’s up to you!
Developing your skills on a regular basis helps you evolve and prevents you from becoming outdated. It also gives you an advantage over your competitors, and this is priceless. I am a web copywriter and when the idea of launching my own blog crossed my mind, I asked a professional to explain me how she built hers, but mostly, how I could use it on my own. She trained me and, today, I might not be a web developer but I know how to build on specifications, and can even audit the websites of my clients. With this, I now have more to offer.
Think creatively in new ways
We all know the expression “can’t see the forest for the trees”. It is so true when you are a freelancer! We spend our entire time prospecting, producing, communication, networking, managing everything to the accounting…it never ends.
And even when the clients are becoming rare, we have the impression we don’t have enough time for everything, namely developing new skills. And yet, this is essential! These moments allow us to step back and exchange with other freelancers, those who experience the same problems as we do. This allows us to recharge our batteries, and find creativity again. As soon as you feel you lack one of these two elements, think about training! Be it online (MOOC, Lynda.com) in real life, alone, or in a group, for a few hours or a few months, every training session will bring you something positive. Cherry on the cake, you might meet potential clients! Yes, it also allows you to widen your professional network.
Transform a cost into an investment
When we talk about training, we freelancers, have two well-prepared catchphrases.
- It’s very expensive
- I don’t have time!
The latter is not a great excuse. You can always make time, it’s a matter of priorities. For the first catchphrase, I suggest you see it as an investment, not a cost!
Every job evolves, be it technically, artistically or intellectually. Training yourself will allow you to not only develop your services but also increase your rate. You need to be an expert in your field, differentiate yourself from your peers.
Eventually, training yourself also adds value when working with clients. You can propose more tailored solutions; allowing them to add even more value to their businesses. A truly virtuous circle…
How to choose your training?
I would first recommend engaging with your network: ask your personal and professional circles, collect good and bad experiences. Do not forget to ask why it’s been this way for them, we all have different expectations. Before committing yourself, follow training centres on Social Media and read their blogs. Even ask for an interview to see if the course really does match your needs. In fact, just like any other purchase, try to make a comparative study. But do not blind yourself by price only, listen to your intuition and always ask yourself if what you will get out of it is superior to what you pay for.
Take my personal experience: last year, I decided to get coached in web development. It has been a sizeable investment, but I have no regrets because it really changed my way of doing business – and leading my business. I developed it in a way I wanted it to be and attracted clients that both matched my activity and appreciated the value of my work.
So go ahead, skill up!
Are you already multitasking and have an amazing skill set?