We owe it to technology to be able to work remotely and with as much flexibility as we want. However, technologies impacting the industry like artificial intelligence are becoming a threat to this dream work setup.
Why hire humans who commit errors when you can just invest in robots who do exactly as you say, right? It does sound cold but you can’t undermine the matter’s seriousness, especially when many companies are already tempted by this concept. So what can you do to thrive?
Humans have always adapted to major world changes, and this slight turn in the freelancing industry is only a blip compared to what humankind has gone through. Come on, we’ve transformed from being apes into being Homo Sapiens, which is Latin for “wise man”. So you can obviously evolve as a freelancer, too. Read on to learn how.
Constantly Develop Your Existing Skills and Knowledge Further
The main difference between AI and the human brain is that the former mimics human behavior based on built-in instructions, whereas the latter constantly adapts to different cases using a network of cognitive processes. In short, humans can always keep up with external changes ahead of designed machines.
This just means that our minds can keep up with the changes around us before AI upgrades. Never waste any opportunity to improve your existing skills and gain more knowledge about your profession. We are made to continuously grow along the way, so don’t resist the call for a level up (trust me, it rings every day so pick up).
It’s understandable, however, that we don’t seem to do it as much as we can and should, probably given our average 8-second attention span (lower than a goldfish). It’s such a shame that Charles Darwin is probably looking down on us now, thinking about how many of us won’t make it further.
Create a Solid Personal Brand
Solid branding is what has fooled us into buying those ugly Apple Airpods, which now have earphone straps you have to purchase separately only so they could hang like normal earphones. If the product didn’t come from Apple, I’m sure no one would have bought a pair at all.
That’s the power you have to carry as a freelancer. I don’t mean you should pull the same ridiculous capitalist scheme. Just present your works and services as hot commodities. It’s a business you’re handling here, and you’ve got to launch and operate it with consistent and remarkable branding.
Here are three things you can do to create your solid personal brand:
Create a Website
Websites sound so official. We are wired to think that a business isn’t official or reliable unless they have a website linked on their Google page. The same goes for freelancing, you need a website to showcase your accomplished works, provide information about how you can be contracted for projects, and prove that you are a professional in what you do.
You’re probably thinking it’s complicated to set up a website anyway. Don’t worry, you have sites like Wix and Squarespace that make website building easy by using simple drag-and-drop designing processes. WordPress also has available themes you can just customize without any hassle.
If you think you’re aesthetically challenged, you can just hire someone to design your website for you. A freelance marketplace called Rakuboss offers quality and affordable services. You should also read this guide that cites the steps on building a website with a freelance team from the said freelance platform.
Have a Logo
Logos are one of the main reasons people would go broke just to buy any product from a luxury brand. Some of these items don’t even make sense like Jil Sander’s $290 paper bag, as in just a plain brown bag to put your lunch in. They even have $780 clear plastic bags in case you want an upgrade.
Of course, you’re paying for the brand here not the items themselves. That’s how powerful brands are, especially if they have iconic logos to represent them. Come on, the small Jil Sanders label printed on the brown bag was the only thing that made the item absurdly priced.
I don’t guarantee you to gain the same power over your sales once you get your logo set up. However, it helps you get more recognized, which is important to ensure you survive the competition in the industry. Studies say that it only takes 10 seconds for consumers to make an opinion about business logos, so you have to come up with something striking right off the bat.
Before aiming for the Coca Cola logo’s success at having 94% of the world’s population recognize it, work on these pointers first when designing your logo:
- Make it memorable, which means come up with a simple and timeless graphic design.
- Make sure it’s versatile so its charms would work wherever it’s printed or whether if it’s in color or black and white.
- Your business logo should carry a meaning or purpose just like how the arrow on the Amazon logo points from a to z as an implication that they sell everything from a to z.
- 33% of the world’s top 100 brands have the color blue in their logos.
- Using a consistent color palette on your logo can increase your brand recognition by up to 80%.
If you don’t know how to make logos or think that these standards are too advanced for your editing skills, you can always pay an expert to do it for you. You can check out Rakuboss for that as it is home to the biggest listings of Filipino freelance graphic artists. Read about it here.
Be Present on Social Media
You probably know how valuable social media presence is for a business. If you’re not on social media, you’re losing a huge chunk of clients who usually browse through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for freelance workers.
You can use your personal accounts and fill it with content related to work. That is a much more personal touch anyway, and that’s what clients are looking for. Aside from that, here are the fundamental things that social media conveys for your freelance services:
Social media is still more accessible than websites, after all. So double the proof of authenticity by creating a social media page dedicated to your services or turning your personal accounts into a mini portfolio or update hub for your projects.
Social media is the best way to reach out to people these days. I have received a lot of great freelance writing gigs from people who have found me on Facebook, too. So use your social media as an open line for business inquiries.
Affordable and Effortless Marketing
In order to easily get more jobs, you should have some marketing strategies in promoting your freelance services, too. Social media marketing is the best way to do it as it is affordable and effortless. Use your social media networks to advertise your availability to take on projects.
Engage in the Community
It’s easy to just get so isolated when you’re working independently. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage in the freelance community from time to time. It’s refreshing and practical to be around people who understand how this work setup goes, for they are able to share insights you might find useful as well.
There are plenty of ways you can do that. You can join co-working spaces, Facebook groups, online forums, or sign up on Rakuboss, which is not only for posting and searching gigs but for interacting with your fellow freelancers as well. The site also publishes content about the common issues in the industry to guide you in reaching your full potential as a freelancer.
Keep yourself updated with the latest trends in the freelance field. This is essential in keeping up with the recent skill demands you could master before AI acts on them. Participate in the community discussion to facilitate an easier skill development process.
Treat AI as Your Friend
Keep in mind that AI was still originally made to make people’s lives simpler. Forget about the conspiracies of AI’s purpose of replacing humankind for a minute. Why not appreciate the assistance AI can provide you instead.
Automation is already a big part of our freelance operations. Many of us use certain software for collaborating with a remote team, organizing our workflow, and optimizing our communications with both clients and teammates if there are any. All we have to do is maximize these tools.
Here are a few tools that are guaranteed to boost your freelance game:
This application is a much more modern version of Skype. You can create virtual conference rooms here for big group calls, start regular or training meetings, host video webinars, and perform cross-platform messaging & file sharing. It’s an all-in-one professional communications platform for virtual workers.
You should install this application to make setting a time for interviews and meetings easier. This tool enables you to send a link that displays your availability for a meeting. So the other party can just book the time slot instead of both parties constantly messaging or emailing each other about the call schedule.
Every freelancer needs some graphics regardless of their profession. You need great visual content for your website and social media pages, after all. Canva can make it easy for you. It has 8000+ different templates you can use instead of spending hours on photoshop or other complex editors.
You can always use a workflow management tool whether you’re a freelance team or a one-man operation. Being organized is one of the qualities that allow for quick growth. Trello has a fun drag-and-drop interface and uses Kanban boards to put all your projects in order.
Maintain a Disciplined Work Schedule
Flexibility is both a blessing and a curse in freelancing. Many times, we lean towards the negative side when we indulge in your freedom too much and end up procrastinating our tasks. We tend to slack off instead of maximizing our time for other activities such as enhancing our current skills.
This was a big problem for me at the beginning of my freelance writing career. I felt like I didn’t have much time to accomplish my tasks despite the flexibility given to me just because I didn’t manage it well. I was easily tempted to mix up my daytime with binging my Netflix series when I could have just moved it at the end of the day when I had already done some work.
Make an effort to organize your work schedule. If you hate routines like I do, at least determine your productivity peaks to know when exactly you’re the most motivated to work. Then make that a mandatory working period. You can also check out an article I wrote about how you can stay productive and focused as a home-based freelancer. You can read it here.
Avoid Overworking Yourself
It’s also possible for freelancers to overwork themselves given the easy access to work. I used to burn out myself when I received exciting assignments I found hard to take a break from. I felt inspired to just work all day and all night, and I didn’t think there was something wrong with that.
That was until I started not feeling well from the lack of sleep, not eating enough or on time, and being away from the other aspects of my life like interacting with other people. All that hard work is nothing when you get to that point. I knew I wrote excellent articles at that time, but I was too exhausted to appreciate it.
I didn’t feel like taking jobs anymore after that project. It took a while for me to regenerate my drive to work on a long vacation that cost me a lot. Avoid overworking yourself to the point of fatigue so you can enjoy regular and inexpensive holidays instead or at least have a properly balanced work-life schedule.
As I mentioned, artificial intelligence is indeed a serious threat to freelancing. That doesn’t mean it will fully eradicate the need for human employment. It’s just that some of our functions won’t be needed anymore if we don’t transcend our existing skills.
AI runs on memory, whereas we have far more complex brain functions that can certainly come up with brighter solutions or ideas than AI can. We just have to tap into that and continuously learn and adapt to the changes in the industry.