9 Insider Secrets Every New eLearning Freelancer Should Know

9 Insider Secrets Every New eLearning Freelancer Should Know
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Summary: Are you thinking about turning your passion for Instructional Design into a full-time eLearning career? In this article, I’ll divulge 9 secrets that EVERY new eLearning freelancer should commit to memory.

9 Things You Should Know As A New eLearning Freelancer

“If I only knew then what I know now.” That saying pretty much sums up the power of hindsight. Unfortunately, time travel isn’t an option, which means that new eLearning freelancers must rely on the experience and insights of more experienced colleagues. After some time has passed and lessons have been learned, the student becomes the master and the cycle begins anew. Here are 9 insider secrets that can help you get off to a great start and achieve professional success.

1. Set A Realistic Work Schedule

Mental burn-out is a major obstacle that eLearning freelancers contend with. You want to achieve success on your own terms and build your brand image. However, that doesn’t mean working 24/7 and never taking a break from running your new business. It’s wise to set specific work hours for yourself. As an example, you will only answer phone calls or emails from 9 to 5 every day, and weekends are your time to relax and unwind.

2. You Are Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool

Marketing is one of the most challenging aspects for many eLearning freelancers. In most cases, we simply want to create meaningful eLearning content for our clients or online learners, and promoting your services is the last thing on your mind. However, you need to market yourself consistently in order to land eLearning projects and do what you do best, which is to transform raw data into powerful eLearning experiences.

3. Always Get It In Writing

Even if you’ve worked with a client in the past, it’s always good to get everything in writing. You never know when you’ll need a contract to avoid disagreements or clarify confusion. For example, the client requests work that is out of your scope or not specified in the agreement. Contracts also allow you to outline communication guidelines and project milestones or due dates.

4. "No" Is Not A Bad Word

This goes hand-in-hand with setting a realistic work schedule. You’re only one person and you can only handle so many tasks at a time. Thus, it’s perfectly acceptable to decline job offers or simply say “no” if the work is out of your comfort zone. That said, there are times when it’s wise to seize new opportunities in order to gain more eLearning experience. The trick is to know your limits and to not push them beyond your breaking point. Keep in mind that you also have a personal life that may suffer if you take on every project that comes your way.

5. Pick An eLearning Niche

You cannot try to cover too much ground when you’re marketing your eLearning services. Likewise, stretching yourself too thin over numerous niches may make you a “jack of all trades, master of none”. As such, you should choose a specialty that aligns with your skills and talents. More importantly, it must cater to your passions and interests. Otherwise, you may get bored with your professional projects and want to leave eLearning altogether.

6. Your eLearning Portfolio Is A Work In Progress

You should take time to update your profile regularly. In fact, you may want to jot it down in your monthly schedule so that you can add new eLearning projects, references, and expand your current list of skills and abilities. It’s a good idea to add interactive touches to your eLearning portfolio, as well. For example, eLearning videos or presentations that showcase samples of your work. Don’t forget to include contact details and social media links so that potential clients can request more information.

7. Stay Active On Social Media

Make a point to post on social media at least once a day. It doesn’t have to be anything too involved. Even a tip, promo link, or brief update about your current eLearning project will suffice. The trick is stay fresh in your followers’ minds and connect with them on a personal level. You might also consider blogging or commenting on online discussions. There are a variety of social media groups and discussion boards where you can market yourself and get valuable tips. However, you should be ready and willing to offer advice in return whenever possible.

8. Balance Your Books

Becoming an eLearning freelancer also means that you have to become a book balancer. Keep track of your expenses and generate profit and loss statements every month. If you’re going over budget, try to figure out how to cut costs and maximize resources. If this is out of your scope, you may want to hire a trained professional to handle the bookkeeping on your behalf. In addition, you should know how to generate invoices and estimates for clients. This involves calculating what it will cost to develop the eLearning content and then determining a suitable profit margin.

9. Never Stop Learning

eLearning freelancers have the unique opportunity to help others expand their horizons and achieve their goals. However, that doesn’t mean we should ever stop learning and building our own knowledge base. Seize the chance to discover new tools, techniques, and methodologies that you can use in your eLearning course design. Consider signing up for eLearning courses or workshops to upskill or explore new topics. Indulge in your constant thirst for knowledge and get to the bottom of every question or curiosity. Attend trade shows and eLearning conferences where you can network with other eLearning professionals and learn about new technologies.

Forging a successful eLearning freelancer career path takes time and dedication. However, being able to set your own schedule and hand-pick your eLearning projects can be well worth the effort. Use these 9 insider secrets to avoid common mistakes and get a head start on your eLearning experience-building.

Communication is crucial in the world of eLearning Design and Development. Read the article 9 Communication Tips For eLearning Freelancers to discover top tips to help you open up the lines of communication with your clients.