What do you want to become when you grow up? If you’re an adult now, becoming a freelancer might be the right answer. But what exactly does freelance mean?
How does freelancing work? Is this something you can make happen with your current skill set?
Here are some ways to find the answer to How do I become a freelancer? And get started on your freelance career!
What is Freelancing?
When people talk about freelancing, they’re typically referring to one of two things: working for yourself or working as an independent contractor. In most cases, though, they mean both.
As a freelancer, you’ll have more control over your time and work-life balance. However, being self-employed means, you have more responsibility and take on additional roles typically handled by someone else.
For example, if you need help with IT or bookkeeping issues, it’s up to you as a freelancer to find those solutions rather than rely on your employer’s existing infrastructure.
Once you understand these differences between being employed and self-employed, deciding whether freelance work is right for you will be much easier!
Types of Freelancing Jobs Online
There are many freelancing jobs online, including writing, programming, editing, designing, and even coding.
These jobs can either be done remotely (where you work from home) or require that you attend an office. It depends on what position you’re applying for.
The more specialized your skills are, the more options you’ll have available to you when deciding how to become a freelancer. Think about your skills and what type of projects interest you most to get started with an idea about which way is best for you!
How to Become a Freelancer
The road to becoming a freelancer is different for everyone, but there are some things you need to know before you get started. And, while working for yourself can be both rewarding and lucrative, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
Freelancers should understand what they’re getting into to build their freelance career around their strengths, mitigate any potential weaknesses and avoid pitfalls that others have encountered. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to become a freelancer.
Things To Do Before Starting Your Freelance Career
If you’re new to freelancing or considering making a career out of it, there are some things you should consider before moving forward. Building your freelance business is going to be tough.
It can also be rewarding, so long as you’re prepared for what’s ahead. Here are six things you should do before taking on clients.
Contact Everyone in your Contact List
Many freelancers will tell you that their networks are what kept them afloat in their first years.
Whether you’re looking for freelance work or trying to drum up business for your projects, it never hurts to send an email or two. One word of caution: Just because someone knows you don’t mean they want to help.
Be sure your request is reasonable and appropriate before you hit send.
Develop a Personal Brand
The first step towards finding clients is getting yourself out there. And, since most work for freelancers these days comes from word-of-mouth, having an active presence on social media and online communities can help boost your profile and make it easier for others to find you.
Establishing your brand will also provide context for potential clients so they know what you’re all about. To build your brand, it’s essential to ensure that all your online profiles look like they belong together (i.e., LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc.).
Think about how they complement each other and reflect your experience/skillset/interests/etc. on both individual sites as well as taken together as a whole.
Do a Thorough Market Research
If you want to make freelancing work for you, you must do some market research. Find out what other freelancers are charging, where they are getting jobs from, and how long it takes them to get hired.
Consider researching larger sites like Upwork or Elance because many companies use them when outsourcing work to independent professionals.
You must gain insight into both supply and demand so that when it comes time for you to sell yourself as a freelancer, you can figure out what sort of price point people are willing to pay.
Pay Attention to Competition
This is one of the most important things you can do if you want to succeed in freelancing.
Not only are there several people who are trying to make it in freelancing, but your services are also being compared with many full-time employees who work at larger firms.
The key here is that you need to consistently provide better services than these people or businesses charging less for their services. If not, then there’s no reason for someone else to choose you over them.
If you find yourself competing with others on price alone, your business model might need some adjusting, so that doesn’t happen anymore.
Get yourself a Mentor – and your first client
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for freelance life is by making sure you have a mentor in your corner who’s done what you’re about to do. Find someone with experience in freelancing and seek their advice when deciding whether or not it’s right for you.
Thereafter get their opinion on how you should go about finding clients. Your mentor will probably tell you that there are two main steps to finding clients—generating leads, and landing them.
The lead-generation part is where your networking skills come into play. You need to be able to spread awareness of your skills for people to hire them, which means getting out there and making connections.
Lead generation takes time, though, so don’t expect it all to happen immediately.
Things To Do After Launching
In your first few months of freelancing, you’ll make mistakes. This is good! Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn.
After all, if you spend your time making all of your biggest errors on someone else’s dime, you won’t have any room left in your learning curve for things that matter.
During these early days, you must take some time for reflection and future planning. Here are a few things I suggest doing after you launch.
Develop a practical pricing strategy
Pricing your services is tricky. Setting prices too low can make you look like an amateur and put you at risk of getting bad reviews from customers.
But setting prices too high could scare away business entirely, especially if it’s a brand-new service for which customers aren’t sure how much they want or need.
A good strategy for any freelancer is to consider what your competitors are charging and then come in slightly lower. If you position yourself as a value-add option instead of the cheapest, you might be able to squeeze out more profit without cutting into your margins.
Much Should You Charge as a Freelancer?
Working from home is no different from working in an office.
Being your boss can have many benefits over office work, including more control over your schedule and much greater freedom to decide how you go about doing things.
The flip side of these perks is that when you work for yourself, you also have fewer resources available for help when something goes wrong—and it’s usually going to be up to you to handle any problems that pop up.
To make sure that running your freelance career doesn’t end up costing you more than it’s worth, learn all about how much you should charge as a freelancer.
Market your freelance Skills
To market your freelance skills, you first need to determine what those skills are.
Even if you know it inside and out, it’s good practice to put together a list of those skills and any other information that will make you stand out from the competition.
In addition, it’s never too early to start marketing yourself by building your online presence and sharing your expertise with others online. Start by compiling a portfolio of your previous work and include any experience or knowledge not directly related to your skillset.
Set Long-term and Short-term goals
Working for yourself takes commitment and determination.
While working as a freelancer can be very rewarding, setting long-term and short-term goals is essential. Long-term goals help you focus on what you want your life as a freelancer to look like—what kind of work will you do, where you live, and what will your schedule look like?
Short-term goals are more specific to your day-to-day tasks. These are things like finishing three writing assignments or learning how to use Photoshop.
Venture Into New Markets – It’s time to grow
When you freelance, you’re in charge of your destiny. It’s easy to get comfortable doing what you know how to do best, but if you stop there, you’ll never reach your potential. If I could go back and give my younger self advice, I’d tell myself it’s time to grow.
As a freelancer, people will want things from you that they didn’t ask for before—go ahead and give them those things if it means increasing your revenue stream. Make sure everything’s evident with your client first, though!
Evaluate your success
Evaluating success can be difficult, especially if you’re busy doing new jobs and trying to find ways to get more clients. Make sure you take some time to analyze what has been going well for you and what areas need improvement.
Once you have a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses, you can look at possible solutions.
For example, if it’s hard for you to track down leads on your own, consider hiring someone on an hourly basis who can help with outreach so that you have more time for higher-paying jobs.
The important thing is not only understanding how successful (or unsuccessful) your freelance career has been thus far but also realizing that there’s always room for improvement!
If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer, many aspects of your life will have to change. When building your career as a freelancer, you have to face harsh realities about what you can and cannot do.
In general, not much is handed to you in freelancing—you’ll need plenty of initiative and drive to succeed. Most importantly, though, before making any decision at all, make sure you’re going into it for all of the right reasons.
If not, beware: it’s very easy for freelancing to quickly become overwhelming and dissatisfying—in which case it might be best if you stick with something more stable.
You can begin your freelancing career at Freelance Professors platform. We have lots of opportunities for content writers, graphic designers, academic writers, and more.