How Freelancing Makes You Better

To the beginner, freelancing sounds like the perfect gig: you set your own hours, define your own contracts, and name your own price. Though freelancing is a great option for supplementing full-time income or building a better reputation as a social media professional, it’s also an important learning experience that will make you better at business. Here’s how.

Freelancing sharpens your client skills.

This one’s probably obvious, but it’s important. Many of us Millennials have a phone phobia, and avoid placing a call at all costs. When you’re freelancing, that’s not really an option. Clear, frequent communication with your client is important because it sets the groundwork for your project. It’s also important because it can teach you how to appropriately handle conflict. Many of us agency people rely heavily on our account teams to deal with difficult situations for us. As your own unit, that’s up to you. Learning how to lead a client through empowering them with a viewpoint is an extremely valuable skill.

It forces you to better manage your time.

Just like you become your own account person as a freelancer, you also become your own project manager. If you’re not good at setting deadlines already, freelancing will force you to start. By understanding realistically how you tackle different pieces of business, you’ll optimize your own processes, and become more efficient at your job. It’ll also force you to balance your work life and your personal life, which is something many of us forget to do. The earlier you work out how to do that, the happier you’ll be in your career. Trust me.

It improves your strategic POV.

One of the things I value most about agency life is the collaborative atmosphere. It’s always helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the work I’m doing, or walk through the approach I’ve taken. Still, collaboration is never responsible for all pieces of a project, and that’s where freelancing can be very beneficial. Because you’re left to your own devices to identify the direction of your project, you’ll become more comfortable with advocating for your point of view. ¬†And since much of your support will be based in research, strategically plotting a direction won’t seem as scary as it may have before.

It evaluates your strengths and growth opportunities.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. And, if you do, you’ll learn very quickly which pieces of your freelance services are easier for you to deliver on than others. I’m a social strategist by nature; I may have a design certificate, but it would be impractical for me to offer logo design as part of my freelance package because I’m not an accomplished designer. I choose to stick to what I know because it comes naturally, and I have the confidence I need to do the job right. If you can’t speak to why you’re qualified to do something for more than a minute, don’t try. You don’t have to be good at everything. In fact, it can be more powerful to own your unique skill set and play to its strengths rather than to try and fit it into something else.

It makes you more self-sufficient.

To build on that last point, when you become more comfortable with the work you do and how you do it, you are able to tackle bigger pieces of projects without as much guidance. As I mentioned before, collaboration is important, but being able to execute strong work solo is something that will help you grow in your craft. Combine that with your newfound client relationship & project management skills, and you’ll be the favorite wherever you work.

Have other advice or insights from your own freelancing experiences? Share ’em in the comments below.