How to Slay The Dragons Of Your Freelance Journey

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Dragons are dreadful.

And you know they’re there. Lurking in the shadows. They’re just waiting for you to come out in the open, not knowing about their presence.

And when they do show themselves, and if you’re not prepared, they will rip you apart and burn you to a crisp.

So what does a freelance warrior have to do to slay those nasty, vile creatures? Of course, the answer is to always come prepared. Let me tell you how later. But first, let’s talk about those dragons.

The Dragons of Your Freelancing Career

They’re everywhere! These fearsome, winged creatures come in many shapes, sizes and names.

These dragons are the challenges of your freelance career. You can’t deny that they’re real. They are in fact so real that many freelance warriors have fallen into despair because of them.

  • Hunger – New freelance warriors start out hungry. They don’t have enough gold to provide for a hearty meal. They also hate their current day job, or don’t have one in the first place.
  • Fear – Traveling alone as a freelancer is tough. You’re out in the open and you never know what to expect. You’re probably fearful of running into internet bandits, corrupt clients, rejection and of course, failure.
  • Desperation – As a freelancer, you don’t have a permanent lord (boss). Competition is tough, and because of this, you might settle for low-paying jobs.
  • Lack of Experience – If you lack experience, you don’t always know how to get the job done right. You pitch lords the wrong way. You don’t provide exceptional work.
  • Procrastination – You might procrastinate looking for clients, or working on your portfolio, or building an online platform. You wait until you learn lessons the hard way.
  • Doubt – Even experienced freelance warriors doubt their skills. How much more if you’re new to the whole deal? What happens? You keep on reading books, blogs or manuals and take all the courses you can and still not set out to get your first job. You worry that if you don’t know everything, you won’t survive.

These are just a few of the dragons that are lurking in the shadows, haunting your days and nights. It’s time to get up, and start slaying those cursed fiends. Here’s how you can start.

1. Choose Your Weapon Wisely

Sword, bow or axe?

Before you set out on your freelance journey, it’s best you first choose a weapon that you’ll be specializing on. Choosing one weapon to specialize on will help you in the long run when it’s time to choose a job off a list

Whether you decide to write fiction, business, blogging, health, etc., it’s wise to choose one specialty that you are familiar with. Below are a few questions you can ask yourself to aid you in choosing the right weapon for you.

  • What type of books do you enjoy reading?
  • What interests do you have outside of your profession?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What course did you take in college?
  • What do you know a lot about outside from what you took up in school?

Choosing the right weapon for your journey will aid you in carrying out your job as a freelancer better than trying to be good at everything.

When you have chosen a weapon for the offensive, you’re already getting yourself prepared to slay dragons. Now let’s build up our defenses.

2. Get Good Armor

Protect yourself.

As a freelancer, you’re taking on jobs on your own. You need good armor to protect yourself in the heat of battle. Below are a few things that you can consider for defense.

General Knowledge – You can’t charge your enemy without proper training and knowledge on how to fight. Before you try going out seeking adventures, train yourself by reading a few books on your field.

Practice what you’ve learned as much as you can without wearing yourself out. Keep yourself informed with current trends by reading newspapers, magazines, and blog posts.

Build a Portfolio – New freelancers find it hard to get clients because they have no stories of past quests or battle scars to show off. Start small by doing easier jobs, or gain exposure by writing for others through guest posts. Build your portfolio slowly, but do not take too much time with starter-jobs and neglecting the need to get better, higher-paying jobs.

Have an Online Platform – Competition is tough. It’s best you have a well-built online platform where you can talk about past adventures and show off those battle scars. Whether it is a blog, or just a simple website, having an online platform can be an edge over the competition.

Once you’ve obtained your weapon of choice, as well as some good armor, you’re all set. It’s time to slay some dragons.

3. Don’t Stab in the Dark

Open your eyes.

Whether you’re in the heat of battle, or still trying to find clients, never stab in the dark. You’ll only be wasting precious time and effort, and you’ll realize it’s not worth it in the end.

  • Try to get a clearer view of everything in front of you before you thrust with all your might.
  • Do a background check on the client before you take on a job, or ask other freelancers if they have experience with them. They might have some bad history when it comes to payment, or being inconsistent with the actual work requested.
  • Do adequate research to obtain specific knowledge on your task before working on it, you don’t want to just pull out ideas from your head as you’re working.
  • Don’t worry about your first draft, most of the time it’s going to come out bad. Just like a diamond that starts out an ordinary lump of coal in the beginning, it is shaped and treated to become one of the most stunning items in the world. The magic is found in the editing process.

It’s important to tackle your jobs with a systematic approach so as to avoid mistakes and to have more effective results. It’s also good to consider that regardless of your experience and skill, you still need to edit your work multiple times to get better results.

Now there’s one thing you need to learn to survive as  a freelance warrior.

4. Don’t be Afraid to Run

Run for your life.

When you’re in the heat of battle, it is foolish to always stand your ground when you find yourself at a disadvantage.

As a freelancer, you often encounter some jobs that are too much for you to handle. These jobs may be about topics that you are not familiar with, or with subjects that you’re personally not comfortable writing about.

It’s important to have an idea of what jobs you can tackle, and what jobs you can’t. This way you won’t be wasting time over-researching a topic when you can finish another job much faster and be able to produce better results.

This is why you have to choose your weapon or specialty wisely.

When you are faced with a job that you believe you can’t handle, don’t be afraid to run. What you can do afterward is to obtain more general knowledge on the topics that you’re not familiar with so you can start taking on more jobs. Focus on the jobs that you’re good at while training for those you’re not ready to take on yet.

Now here’s one lesson that freelance warrior should never forget.

5. Never Fight Alone

Learn from the wolves.

Wolves, like most animals have an instinct to never get caught fighting a battle alone.
You might be thinking, “I thought I was a freelancer?”

You are, but being a freelance warrior does not mean you have to go out and fight your battles alone. You can always enlist the aid of friends and fellow freelancers. Let me tell you how you can do this.

  • Social Media – You have a plethora of tools available like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and a lot more at your disposal. Use them to your advantage when you need help in doing a project for a client.
  • Forums – Forums are a great way to get information among like-minded individuals on a certain topic. There are plenty of forums on the Internet, a bunch for every kind of niche you can think of.
  • Contacts – These people are the ones you know personally, as well as the people on your email  list. If you need certain information, you can always ask the people on your list or your colleagues through email.
  • Mentors – Every freelance warrior needs to have a mentor for guidance. Whether it’s your editor, or an authority figure in a certain niche, warriors need to have someone to answer their questions on certain topics.

Just like wolves, learn to have your pack help you out in times of need or self-doubt. Never underestimate the power of your network.

Freelance Warriors!

Before you embark on your freelance journey, you have to be prepared.

Don’t let the dragons of procrastination and doubt keep you from your adventures. Don’t let them hinder you from warrior immortality. Pick up your weapon, wear some good, dependable armor and take that first step.

Fight smart and avoid blind thrusts. Run when you have to. And never underestimate the power of teamwork.

What say you?

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by patrimonio.

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