Samurai were Japanese warriors, admired for their skills and their distinct influence on Japanese culture. Being a samurai was an honour. They enjoyed privileges that ordinary citizens didn’t get. Samurai owned customised swords and were the only ones allowed to ride horses. But they didn’t just do as they pleased, they reported to a master.
A master who controlled their fate…
You see, a master could kick you out of the clan at a moment’s notice and you’d end up as a ronin, an outcast warrior.
This story relates perfectly to a friend of mine, Sam Greathead, Sam used to work for a successful magazine for a number of years. She was a respected member of staff and set an excellent example in the business.
Her future looked bright – Or so she thought.
One day, she learned that her company was going bust and she lost her job.
Instead of going into panic mode about where her next paycheck was coming from, Sam decided to take action.
Today, I want to share with you how Sam started a successful business as a freelancer and became a ronin in her industry.
How Sam became the master of her own destiny through freelancing
Many freelancers believe that all you need to do is find a niche in your industry and then you can start looking for clients, work and the money will start coming in.
But it’s really not that simple…
If you want your freelance business to be a lucrative, productive and enjoyable business, you need to work hard and make some sacrifices, just like Sam did.
Here are three freelance elements to lay the foundation for long-term success…
Freelance Element #1: Ensure that your niche fits your area of expertise
You have a unique set of work and life experiences. So ask yourself, where do your strengths
lie? What are you good at? Which areas of business do you know the most about?
Sam didn’t find it hard to identify her niche. Most of her work is in business journalism, she was good at it, knew what business people expected of her and responded to their needs.
So, it’s important that you know your strengths so you can harness them to produce exceptional work.
The more you draw on your strengths and produce exceptional work, the easier you’ll find it to become the recognised authority within your chosen niche.
And that’s what you want and should aim for. You want to be the first person people think of when it comes to writing or copywriting within a particular area.
Freelance element #2: Love your work
You need to have passion and care about what you’re doing. Otherwise, you will feel like your business is just a chore.
Sure, you can work on whatever is given to you. But you’ll do your best work and be most productive when you love what you do.
This is particularly important for freelancers. When you sit at your desk each day you can either get excited at the chance to start work. Or you can force yourself to the chair and put in a day of work, reluctantly.
You want to be excited. It makes life more pleasant, and you’ll be a lot more successful as a result. Sam enjoys what she does because she has always been a “free” kind of person.
Freelancing allows her to work on her own terms, so she is massively successful at it.
Freelance element #3: Make sure your clients can afford your services
You want to find a niche where your clients have the budget to pay the fees you ask for. What you absolutely don’t want to do is work in an area where your clients are trying to beat you down on your prices.
This often means looking at medium-sized and larger businesses. Very small companies and start-ups can be interesting to work with, but are more likely to spin you a yarn about how they can only pay a little now, but in the future they can pay more.
You don’t want that to happen to you, so stay very far from such companies.
Sam targets media houses who need writing over and above what their in-house staff can provide.
She’s doesn’t have to hustle them to pay because they’re in need of her services and they can afford them.
Now that you have your foundation, you need to take the next step to freelance success.