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How to be successful at freelancing

How to be successful at freelancing

You’ve read the positives and negatives freelancing and you’re still here? You still want to be a successful freelancer? Well that proves it, you are definitely my new favorite person.

Today you’re going to discover how to actually be successful at freelancing.

Oh look at that, a video – how exciting, why not take a few minutes with a cup of coffee and give it a watch?

To figure out how you’re going to become successful, you’ll have to figure out what success means to you.

After all everyone’s idea of success is different.

Think about people who dream off opening their own business vs people who want to be on a reality TV show, both have different definitions of what success means to them.

You might believe that being a successful freelancer is all about the money you earn, in which case you’re wrong.

I know a variety of freelancers who are earning insane amounts of money, but hate their work – do you think they are successful?

Becoming a successful freelancer isn’t just about the money, it’s about the life you build through freelancing.

Your idea of a successful life has most likely been heavily manipulated by the media, you’ve been brainwashed your whole life to want a big house with a mortgage, a nice car, and a safe secure job.

When you really think about it, will those things really make you successful or happy?

With that big house, comes a big mortgage. A big mortgage that you’ll have to pay off for the rest of your life, you’ll never be able to travel, or have any extra money, because everything goes into the black hole that is your house.

That new nice car, looks great doesn’t it? The insurance, tax, and t travel costs don’t look to great thou, do they? No to mention the fact that it is depreciating in value every year.

At least you have your nice secure job…. Sorry to break it to you but your job ain’t that great.

If your employed by someone else you’re making someone else rich, your wage is determined by your employer, and your employer decides if you can keep your job, they also decide when you can’t and can go on holiday. They make you show every morning at 9AM to be told what to do, you do what they say because they pay you.

When you think about it is your job really that great? Are you happy? Do you feel successful?

A successful freelancer on the other hand, can live wherever they want, because they aren’t tied to a company or employer. They don’t have to buy a big house that takes their money because they can live and work in Thailand one month and move to Mexico the next. They don’t need a car because they can work from home.

Freelancing allows you to make yourself rich – not make your boss richer, and you’ll earn considerably more as a freelancer doing the same work as you would for some employer.

Maybe you’re a:

  • Stay at home mum/dad – and your idea of success is being to be able to run your own business while still spending quality time with your kids.
    A student who wants to be able to travel for a year.
  • An office worker who want’s to escape your cubicle
  • You could have already been freelancing for a while and you’re now stuck working for low pay, doing jobs you hate.
  • Maybe you’ve just been fired, and want to now become your own boss.

No matter what’s brought you to this page, you have a dream, a dream that you want freelancing to help you achieve, whatever your particular dream is, it’s important.

On your road to becoming a successful freelancer there are a variety of bumps and hurdles you can expect:

  • You might struggle to land clients
  • You might get underpaid
  • Sometimes you’ll be overworked
  • You’ll have to deal with tight deadlines
  • You might get trapped in work you hate
  • You’ll question whether freelancing is for you.

If you’re not careful you can quickly find yourself hating your life as a freelancer.

You will be trapped, with your only options being quit or live in an eternal state of depression.

You’ll be doing jobs you don’t like, for clients you don’t want to work with and you’ll have no life outside of freelancing,

I should know,  I did all of these things myself.

The first time I tried freelancing I started out as a freelance writer because I love to write, but I quickly became obsessed with earning as much money as possible. So I was doing all sorts of writing; academic writing, copy-writing, article writing –  jobs I wasn’t interested in and stuff I never imagined myself doing.

I hated all my clients, because even know I was chasing money, I was getting paid less than I was in Subway and McDonalds. I hated ever second of it, but I kept hanging on in the hope things got better.

I was facing just about every bump in the road that a freelancer could face, and I was anything but successful.

On top of that my life outside of freelancing fell apart, I lost my girlfriend, and it had been months since I had seen my friends, and I had to keep working in McDonald’s and Subway as freelancing was’t supporting me.

If you want to avoid my mistake and actually become a successful happy freelancer you only need to do one thing.

Let me explain, to become a successful freelancer you have to deal with four different elements that will determine your level of success and your overall happiness as a freelancer, if you can be happy in all four of these areas you will be successful.

These four things are:

  • Your projects
  • Your clients
  • Your earnings
  • Your lifestyle

To avoid facing the same problems I did, you need to have a clear definition of what success means to you, and you also need to have a goal, or a dream life to aim for.

As we’ve already seen everyone’s definition of success will be different, everyone has an initial dream that attracted them to freelancing in the first place – a dream that you need to hold onto.

So, here’s what you’re going to do.

As we go through the four different elements of a successful freelancer, I want you picture your ideal life, and how these different areas fit into that. Be as specific and as clear as possible to yourself, I then want you to take a piece of paper, or open a google doc, or type into your mobile the exact life you want and write it down.

Write it down in as much detail as possible, be honest to yourself and write what you actually want.

Don’t skip this.

Again, don’t skip this.

When it comes to your dream life don’t think small. Think Big. Like really big. Think HUGE.

how to be a successful freelancer - the magic of thinking big

I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Magic of Thinking Big, but basically it’s an entire book dedicated to making you realize that you need to think much bigger when you’re setting goals.

The number one mistake that people make when setting goals is not setting them big enough.

So a quick summary of this book is –  to think really fucking big.

My summary doesn’t really do it justice so I recommend you pick it up for yourself if you’re interested, you can buy it here.

You want to imagine your dream life, include as many details and specifics as possible, then make sure you understand what success means to you.

It may seem small, unimportant or silly but write it down, and keep it somewhere safe.

There will be a time in the not so distant future where you’ll forget your dream and what success means to you and you’ll go down a very bad path.

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m warning you I’m not. You’ll regret not writing it down if you’re serious about becoming a freelancer.

The first thing you’ll need to figure out if you want to be successful is to know what projects you want to be working on.

Projects refer to the type of work you want to do, you may be a web designer, a writer, or a graphic designer, if you can’t think of your skill which is perfectly normal don’t worry I cover it in my free course if you haven’t already signed up for it.

Think about your ideal day, imagine yourself in it, what are the exact projects that you would love to be working on and getting paid for? write it down.

The trick to getting projects that will lead to your dream life is to get as specific as possible, as to what it is exactly you want to do.

Imagine a graphic designer named Steve.

Steve can design info-graphics, flyers, PowerPoint’s, websites whatever, but the work Steve loves doing is logo design.

Other jobs in the graphic design field pay really well such as keynote presentations but Steve hates keynote presentations, but he absolutely loves creating logos.

So Steve writes down that his dream project is to do only design logos, as this is what he loves. His ideal work day is spent only designing logos.

Again, get as specific as possible.

Regardless of your area of work you need to be specific, you need to hone your focus. As I cover in the free course, it won’t only make you happier but it will also allow you to land more jobs.

If you aren’t doing the projects you love, you won’t ever be successful as a freelancer,  you have to make sure the projects you’re working on are projects that you truly love.

Although it’s an overused quote listen to it, everyone that has ever been successful states that it’s all about doing something you love.

If your always doing projects you don’t like because they pay well you will find yourself quitting, depressed or hating the fact you started freelancing.

So have a clear definition of what the exact projects you want to be working on, and write it down.

Steve wrote down he only wants to design logos.

Next up is the clients you want to work with.

You’re going to be choosy about your projects but you’re also going to be choosy about your clients.

This idea might be absurd to some of you who are off the opinion that you should take everything that you are given, but this is not the case.

The quickest way to ruin your chances of success and happiness as a freelancer is to work with clients that you don’t want to work with.

The clients you work with will determine whether your life is a vacation, or an absolute nightmare.

Even a couple of nightmare clients will literally ruin your life.

Every time you see their name pop up in your email you will literally want to kill yourself, so choose your clients wisely.

Good clients are more difficult to acquire, yes, But they are infinitely better than the horrible clients who are the majority of people who hire unfortunately.

So picture your ideal life, what clients do you want to be working with.

I’ll go back to our friend Steve who wants to do logos. Steve decides he doesn’t want to work with just anyone. He wants to only work with startups as he loves the energy, and passion of startups.

Steve loves the idea of creating an attractive logo that gets a startup more attention and therefore more success.

Steve’s dream life is to only design logos, and to only work with startups.

Steve is smart so he writes this down, as this is what he truly wants.

The next element is the income you want.

The majority of people who freelance get paid a lot less than they deserve, some earning just about minimum wage.

I’ve worked for less than $1 an hour on some projects, I didn’t agree to it or plan to be working for so little but when a projects fixed price cost is $6 and you spend 12 hours and provide unlimited revisions you’re hourly rate quickly drops.

So I know the pain of low paid work. The only way to solve this is to picture your dream life and how much you’re earning, what figure do you have to earn before you think you’re successful?

Don’t think you’ll be earning less than your current job, in fact you should be earning a lot more as a full time freelancer.

Write down your dream figure, I guarantee you can probably make more.

So back to Steve the graphic designer, we know he’s making logos for start-ups, but he doesn’t know what he wants his income to be, he nearly writes $50 an hour but then he knows he’s lying to himself and this isn’t his dream,  so instead he writes what he wants $200 an hour, with $100,000 a year in income.

Steve now knows if he wants to be a successful freelancer living his dream life he has to be earning $200 an hour with an income of $100,000 a year, designing logos for start-ups, and he’s wrote that down on a piece of paper.

You should now do the same.

So, what is the exact hourly rate and income you want to be earning ever year?

Whatever you think add 10% and write it down.

The last element we have to deal with is lifestyle.

Freelancing is about creating your dream lifestyle, not just about earning more money.

To be clear your lifestyle is the other aspects off your life that aren’t related to your work, for example:

  • Your hobbies
  • Your interests
  • Time with friends
  • Going out for meals.
  • Quality time for your family
  • Your ideal routine

Again everyone’s ideal lifestyle is going to be different.

But your lifestyle is just as important as everything else, let’s go back to our friend Steve.

Steve is now earning his $200 an hour, designing logos for startups, exactly what he wrote.

However, he is having to work 14 hours a day, he missed his daughters first Birthday due to all his deadlines, he hasn’t seen his friends in months and his wife has left him. This didn’t all happen at once, but slowly Steve’s life began to fall apart. All because Steve decided to skip writing about his ideal lifestyle.

Steve lost focus of the lifestyle he wanted, he had three out of the four elements in place but Steve isn’t successful he’s depressed.

He’s begun to hate his dream work he wants to quit and go back to his old job, and try to recover his old life.

Steve forgot his initial dream of wanting to spend more time with his daughter, to take his wife away 3 months out of the year and to meet up with his friends once a week. These are just as important as anything else in order to be a successful freelancer.

Imagine your dream lifestyle, get rid of any preconceptions you have in your mind, of what’s possible. Regardless of your current situation, what would you want you’re ideal day, week, month and year to be?

Write it down, commit it to the physical world.

Mine was and still is to be location independent, to have to work no more than four hours a day freelancing, to be able to take a break from freelancing whenever I want,  and to earn enough that I can pursue my dream of creating a blog to help others become rich young adults, with enough time to see my friends, and to spend at least 3 months out of the year travelling.

I got even more specific than that going as far as saying I wanted to ride an elephant, start Muay Thai and BJJ – all of which I’ve done. Which a few years ago would have been impossible to imagine, you probably wouldn’t have even noticed me as I served you your big mac in McDonald’s.

From Big Macs to being able to train Muay Thai whenever I want – Freelancing has even allowed me to go to Thailand to train with actual champions (Photo taken prior to our battle to the death)


So don’t underestimate the power of writing this down, think big and be as clear as possible.

Keep this information safe as you’ll have to look at it when you’re deciding to make a big decision that will determine the path of your freelancing career, or when times are tough you can look at the destination you’re heading to and know it will all be worth it.

Many books state the power of writing stuff down but the granddaddy of them all Napoleon Hills Think and Grow Rich said it so don’t argue and just do it, if you haven’t read it, you simply have to, you can get it from this link, pick it up at a local store or borrow it from a friend, all I’ll say is you have to get your hands on it.

Once you have you’re ideal dream life, and what success means to you, you’ll know exactly what being a successful freelancer mean to you, all you need to do is take action.

This series will provide you with the information and guidance you need, but no one can force you to take action, if you need motivation to be successful, you’ll never be successful, it’s that simple. So fucking go for your dream life.

Obviously their will be times when you have to do something because you need money, or your life is difficult, everyone faces difficulty. If you’re preparing your bullshit excuses as to why you can’t start freelancing or why this doesn’t apply to you in your head, you’ve already failed. Other people who don’t have 1% of of your intelligence, resources or opportunities have made it, so you have no excuse. Take action and stop holding back.

Comment with your exact dream life and of what success means to you be as detailed as possible, others may laugh or judge you – but fuck them, I want to hear exactly what your dream life and idea of success is, and I support you 100%. Writing it down for the world to see is a massive step towards actually making it happen.

Once you’ve wrote down you’re dream life, the projects you want to work, the clients you want to work with, the money you want to be earning and the lifestyle you want you can view how to actually start freelancing here.

Or if you missed the previous lesson: the positives and negatives of freelancing click right here.

Make sure to share this post with someone who might just need it, you never know what idea it could spark in their head.

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