The Benefit of Taking Risks in Your Freelance Biz

Written by Bethany Johnson on January 9, 2017

If you’ve spent the last few weeks consuming how-to-grow-your-business books, e-courses, tutorials and videos — great, more power to you. Learning is good. But, it might be time to stop. Just … stop.

Sure, the information out there is helpful, and yes, I’m the first to recommend due diligence. But, there comes a point when you have enough information, or maybe you’ve even hit a detrimental information overload. Have you reached that point? You can’t experience the benefit of taking risks if you’re still reading about why and how to step out.

If you’re ready for a friendly nudge, consider this it. Here are four ways taking measured risks put me in high demand, plus inspiration for you to shake off the information overload, take action and cinch your share of the freelance success pie.

1. I Created a Professional Website

Before my site was up, I knew my clients were referring others to me, but I had trouble closing deals for ongoing work. Crafting a website was a risk, because it took time and energy away from my work and cost me a few hundred bucks. But within a week, I had three new high-paying clients who were boasting to others about having me on board.

2. I Started Writing Things Like “Just Stop”

After I built my website, I took my writing to a new level by inserting my own hand-on-the-shoulder voice. In other words, when clients asked me to be the expert, I obliged. This is a little risky, because I put my own personality into the tone of my work.

To my surprise, though, my most revered clients suddenly began retweeting my stuff like a gaggle of fangirls. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, taking small risks encourages innovation and creativity, and that energizes everyone involved.

3. I Engaged My Friends

Before, I never told my own personal network about my freelance business unless it could directly help them. I kept my cards close to my chest, because I didn’t want to become an “influence marketer,” selling stuff to my friends. Well, a few months ago, I invited all my real-life friends to follow me on social, and I was surprised to find everyone from my neighbor to my aunt, podiatrist, local farmer and former client hop on board and start engaging with each post. Now, I promote my latest freelance projects to my friends. Instead of exploiting them like I feared, my friends feel grateful I’ve let them into my world. They love seeing what I work on.

4. I Unleashed My Ideas

Every creative has weird ideas. You know the ones: You wonder whether they should be let out to get some air, but then, you imagine how your buttoned-up client will receive the oddball pitch. Recently, my client asked his pool of freelancers to propose a few zany ideas, and that’s all the invite I needed to unload.

I winced as I hit “send” on the email containing sixteen (yes, sixteen) ideas, thinking he’d recommend a therapist for me instead of premium work opportunities. His response, though, was over-the-top excitement. He was so thankful for the effort I’d taken and variety in the list of ideas I’d delivered. The benefit of taking risks, in this case, put a spotlight on my capacity for copious ideation. Now, I know exactly how to stand out among the competition.

My risks are not always going to be yours. By reading my story, though, you’ve likely thought of which risk would profit you most. Before reading another advice article, ask yourself whether you already know what the headline promises. Then, take a small risk today and actually do what you already know how to do.

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