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Freelancers

AI Is Disrupting Freelancing: Here's How You Can Thrive

All you have to do is add new skills faster than the robots can update themselves.
AI Is Disrupting Freelancing: Here's How You Can Thrive
Image credit: PhonlamaiPhoto | Getty Images
VIP Contributor
Entrepreneur and Connector
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Freelancers are definitely having a moment. It’s expected that by 2027 freelancers will make-up over 50 percent of the American workforce.

At the same time, technology is also disrupting the landscape of work. Can you think of any industry that’s not being impacted by technology like artificial intelligence? Freelancing is no exception. I mean why spend a ton of money on a writer when you can have a robot do it for you?

I know this may sound concerning for freelancers. But, you can still thrive, even in the era of the machines, by following these five simple pieces of advice.

Enhance your existing skills and knowledge.

Despite the fact that 49 percent of freelancers say that AI has already affected their work, freelancers are also a resourceful and knowledgeable group -- 65 percent of freelancers report that they’re more prepared for the future then full-time workers because they’re regularly updating their skills.

If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to start taking online or in-person classes. You will want to enhance your skills or develop new skills that will be needed in the future. In this way you can remain competitive and be more flexible. You will remain relevant -- so you can keep landing gigs.

Related: 15 Free Online Business Courses You Can Take From Harvard, Yale, MIT and Other Amazing Schools

Build your personal brand.

As talented as you are, nothing is as important as your personal brand as a freelancer. It’s what separates you from the competition -- both other from freelancers and the machines. It also proves that you’re credible and skilled enough to get the job done when a client requests your services.

Max Palmer explains in another Calendar article that, “The best approach is to get yourself setup with an online presence. If you’re easy to find then people will start to trust you.”

Here’s some suggestions to get you started on your personal brand:

Build a website: A website is an absolute must. This is where clients can learn more you, both personally and professionally. Here is where your resume and samples of your work will be viewed. Make sure that your site appears professional. If you’ve never built a site before -- try using a website builder like Squarespace or Wix. There’s also the old reliable WordPress. Here are a few tips to build a website.

Social media: Through social media you can showcase knowledge and skills by sharing advice or examples of your previous work. You don’t need to be on each every channel. For example, if you’re a designer or photographer -- then setting up an Instagram account would be your best bet.

Personal logo: Having your own logo to place on your website, invoices and business cards is a clever way to help you stand-out from other freelancers. Best of all, you don’t have to get too fancy with it. You can simply create a cool looking logo with your initials.

View AI as an aid, not a hindrance.

“From a logical point of view, you have to consider the fact that the professional services industry isn’t going anywhere,” writes Larry Alton in a VentureBeat article. “Sure, there might be automated website builders and account software -- but the demand for freelancers isn’t going to suddenly disappear.”

Alton adds that, “Growth in AI isn’t going to replace web developers, accountants, lawyers, and consultants. If anything, it’s going to assist them and make them more efficient and profitable.”

In fact, thanks to AI, there are a now a number of powerful tools that can expedite your freelancing career. Here’s just some of the most promising tools:

Futuerenda can help solve any time management problems by dividing to-do-tasks into and breaking them into sessions. These tasks are then automatically added to your agenda.

Calendar is a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to make smart suggestions on when, where, and which types of meetings to schedule.

Smarter: Time is an intelligent assistant that can accurately track the time spent on working on projects.

Zoom utilizes blockchain technology to match freelancers with businesses. It also schedules meeting, plans projects, and handles secure payments. It’s like having a personal assistant.

Crystal.io will make any digital marketing efforts smarter and simpler by connecting every digital channel you have and then providing advice on how to improve them.

Logopony can help create a smart logo so that you can stand out from other freelancers.

SpinnerChief can develop fresh content by rewriting existing content you’ve created.

Everypixel will locate high quality stock images for your work.

AiZimov gathers intelligence on prospective clients and then automatically composes personalized emails.

Related: 3 Ways You Might Be Screwing Up Your LinkedIn Profile and How to Avoid Them

Become a part of a community.

“When you choose to be self employed you need to focus on building a supportive community around you,” writes Angela Ruth in a previous Calendar article. “Whether the community is full of other freelancers, past clients, or both it’s important to have people to fall back on for support, resources, and accountability.”

“Often times you can find pre-existing communities depending on where you reside,” such as co-working spaces like WeWork. This gives you an opportunity to work side-by-side with fellow freelancers in order to exchange ideas or refer clients to each other. It’s also a great source to find motivation and stay current on emerging trends.

If there aren’t any co-working spaces in your proximity -- you can join online communities like Freelancer to obtain tips and advice.

Avoid burnout.

The beauty of freelancing is that you can set your own schedule. When you’re new to freelancing -- or you just like to hustle -- you may be tempted to accept each and every job that comes your way. This can  pad your bank account -- but it can also lead to you getting burned out.

The burnout.

In case you weren’t aware, burnout has some serious consequences.  If you tend to procrastination, constantly running behind, and diminishing work quality -- you are probably burned out.

Health effects of burnout.

Even worse, working too many hours can lead to diabetes, heart problems, and heavy drinking. Eventually, you won’t be as productive, which means we’ll be replaced by those dreaded robots who never have sick days.

Set boundaries.

The best way to avoid burnout is by setting boundaries. If you already have a full plate, then don’t accept any new clients. This doesn’t mean you can’t work with them in the future. It just means that you inform them that you’re currently swamped. If they can’t wait -- refer them to another capable freelancer.

Have you set your exact work hours?

Additionally, make sure that you have set work hours. While there may be some days when you have to work overtime -- make it a priority to have a stop time each day. Make sure that you find time to unplug. For example, I make it a point not to check my inbox from Friday to Sunday night.

What if you still work too many hours?

Finally, if you find that you’re still putting in too many hours, consider outsourcing some of your tasks. This could be anything from hiring a virtual assistant to manage your schedule and emails to a bookkeeper to organize your books. With this extra time, you can focus on the tasks that really matter to your freelancing career.

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