As a freelance social media manager, there are lessons I wished I knew earlier in my career. Even though it is not too late now, knowing them then would help a lot.
In this post, I shared some of the biggest lessons I have learned as a social media manager in six months. (yeah, I know it is really a short period of time).
These lessons are not just gems for every freelance social media manager but also for anyone in the freelancing industry. In fact, some of the lessons are valuable to anyone with a business.
I remembered trying to manage a social media page in 2020, I was frustrated.
It was a period that really messed with my mental health coupled with the effect of the pandemic.
I had to quit in less than three months.
After quitting, I didn’t know what else to do with my life. Social media has always been my passion.
It took time but I got better and decided to try to become a social media manager again but this time with proper training.
I took a course on social media management and watched YouTube videos.
I’m glad I learned these lessons as a freelance social media manager.
One thing about being a freelance social media manager is that you need to open your mind to learning.
If you are ready, grab a pen and paper.
15 biggest lessons learned for every freelance social media manager
1. Connect with other freelancers in your niche
I believe this is the biggest lesson I have learned. Anyone who wants to be successful in their niche needs to connect with others.
The same goes for freelance social media managers.
I joined a social media management online community when I just started and I can say it is the best thing I did.
Meeting other social media managers made me understand a lot about the industry. I began to learn what I should do and what not to do from people who have been there.
People posted their struggles and solutions were provided.
You should look out for other freelancers in your niche and connect with them. The advantages are numerous especially if you are new to freelancing.
2. Never get too excited for a job
Yes, you read that right.
I know you’re excited to begin this new journey but hear me out.
Getting overexcited is likely to push you into making mistakes that could have been avoided.
If you’re someone like me, excitement can cloud and take complete control of your thinking. When this happens, you are likely to take steps without thinking well.
I’m not saying don’t be happy you’re starting a new career. Of course, you’ll be happy to explore this path but be calm, don’t rush.
Having a client interested in your services is just a step. There are many more steps you ought to go through before starting work.
And this brings me to the third lesson.
3. Have an onboarding process for clients
Make sure to write it down. This is the most important step in your freelancing career.
Every expert in social media management mentioned this step.
I had already started working with two clients before I learned this.
Honestly, I wished I knew about it earlier.
You need an onboarding process for every client that you are interested to work with.
This process will take your client through how you work and also help you decide if they are right for you.
Never start work with a client without taking them through your onboarding process.
I made the mistake so you won’t have to make the same.
Your onboarding process for clients should start with a discovery call.
A discovery call will help you understand who your client is, what their business is about, and other important things.
Also, when onboarding a new client, make sure you ask questions that will help you gain a better understanding of what you need to do.
4. Have a contract signed before starting work
I knew nothing about social media management before I dived into it.
But I’m glad that I am learning now.
I did not have a contract when I started.
Don’t be like me.
No matter what happens make sure you send a contract to your client, get them to sign it, and send it back to you before starting work.
A contract states clearly the service(s) you’re going to render to your client, your work process, and most importantly how they’ll pay for your services.
For instance, when a client wants you to do anything outside the contract, you can either tell them it’s not in the contract and not do it or have them pay extra for it.
A contract really makes your job easy.
5. Don’t think your business is for everyone you can’t do everything hence you need to choose people you want to serve. More like picking a niche
Niching is important.
But at the beginning of your career, you might not how to find your niche as a social media manager.
Here’s what you can do,
- Start with the industry that you are interested in
If you are interested in more than one industry, try to test all of them. You might find the one or two that you enjoy working with.
- Niche by platform
It is okay if you are not an expert on every social media platform. Whichever social media platform you enjoy, feel free to take jobs that require only that platform.
6. Create packages for your services
When you create services that you want to offer your client, it makes sense for you to divide your services into packages.
Creating packages gives you the opportunity to set different prices for your services. A good way to create more money for yourself.
7. Never charge a client with respect to your bank account
This lesson also applies to online business owners and course creators.
Whether it is a product or service, never set your price based on what you have in your bank account.
Remember that your clients do not know your bank account balance, your customers do not, no one does (except the people you tell and your bank maybe).
So, forget your bank account and focus on the service and value you are offering.
Some think comparing prices with your competitor is a good way to set your price but I don’t totally agree with that.
Because you don’t have the same level of education or expertise as them.
Also, you are not on the same experience level as them. So don’t compare instead, set your price based on what would make you comfortable.
Remember to include the subscription of tools you’ll use and your mobile data subscription when setting your price.
8. Always discuss everything payment
Still on the money.
Although you might have included your payment methods in your contract, there are still some things you need to clearly discuss with your client concerning the payment process.
- Are they willing to invest in ads?
- How much are they willing to invest in ads?
- Who would pay for any other extra expenses?
Make sure you clear out any money doubt in your mind. Don’t start work until you do that.
9. Set work boundaries early in your career
As a freelancer, it is easy to get so involved in your client’s work especially if you have built a deep relationship with them.
You need to find a way to work and live without hurting your health. I don’t believe in work and life balance, because there are some days you might need to work extra hours on your freelancing business, and some days you need to spend more time on other areas of your life.
However, this does not mean you should work without boundaries.
Set boundaries that you feel are necessary for you to work optimally.
Set work time. You are human and you need rest so set time to rest as well.
Let your client know when you’re no longer working for the day, preferably in your contract.
I’m not saying you can’t sacrifice for your client if you want to, but still set boundaries and make sure you respect them.
This brings me to the next lesson
10. Your job is not a 24 hours job
When you run your own business whether that is a freelancing business or any other one, you run a risk of working overtime.
This is why creating boundaries is important. Create a healthy work and personal life boundary.
It is easy to get soaked in a client’s work because you want to satisfy them. Creating work boundaries will help you decide work hours so that you do not work every hour of the day.
Remember, your job is not a 24-hour job.
11. Treat your freelance career like a business because it is
Freelancers are business owners.
In order to live the kind of life you desire or earn the amount you desire, you need to treat your freelancing career as a business.
It is true that freelancing can make you financially free but only if you can grow it as a business.
Here are some things that can help you position your freelance career as a business
- Having a contract
- Having an automated system like invoice for payment
- Being disciplined when working
- Setting goals for your career
12. Make sure your client works around your time and not the other way
Remember that your freelancing career is a business, you should have a schedule of things you want to work on.
In your schedule, set time aside for your client. Make them work around your time so that they would value your time.
There is no greater mistake than letting your client decide your work hours. It is your duty to set your set own work hours and communicate that clearly to your client from the onset.
That way, you can only work during your work hours whether that is having a meeting or creating content.
13. Your mental health is a priority, don’t exchange it for anything
Your health should always be number one on your priority list.
Not just your physical health, but also your mental health.
You cannot perform at peak when you’re not feeling like yourself. So, take care of your mental health.
Don’t let the behavior of a client affect you.
Don’t say YES to everything just because you want to satisfy your client. Protect your mental health at all costs.
That leads me to the next lesson.
14. Invest in gadgets that would make your life and work easier
Being a social media manager requires you to have good gadgets. It’s a necessity for the job.
Using a gadget in poor condition can make social media management harder than it looks. I know because I can relate.
I have been a victim of phones that hang when I’m trying to upload something. You don’t want that.
So, you need to invest in gadgets that would make your work easier. Invest in laptops with fast speed, phones with fast speed, and other gadgets that would make life easier.
15. Don’t compare your journey
You are unique and that is all that matters.
Don’t compare your journey with someone else. This is because you do not have the same experience, education, or exposure as they do.
Comparing yourself to anyone is an invitation to sadness and depression. Focus on becoming better than you were yesterday and stay focused on your journey.
Conclusion on lessons learned as a social media manager
I wish I knew all these before I had my first client. If you are new to social media management, these lessons are important.
My career as a freelance social media manager has only begun and I am glad that I have learned so much in little time. As a social media manager, you need to keep learning.
Your progress depends so much on how ready you are to learn and grow.
These 15 lessons are important so keep them in mind.
Do you want part 2 of this post? As in, another 15 lessons I learned as a freelance social media manager.