Are you looking to freelance but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re already an established freelancer and want to expand your sphere of influence and take on more clients.
Either way, starting as a freelancer can seem quite daunting at first. After all, there are so many tasks you need to think about before taking the plunge. From understanding contracts, finding clients, setting rates, and even identifying your niche market — just to name a few.
However, once you break down the process into small steps and learn from your mistakes, it becomes a lot easier to get started as a freelancer.
In this blog post, we’ll answer all of your questions about how to start as a freelancer and grow your business from there. Keep reading for details on how you can get started today!
What is a freelance career?
Freelancing is a career in which workers are not employed by, and do not work for, an organization, but are self-employed. Freelancers are typically independent contractors who do work for themselves as opposed to working for someone else.
The work is typically done out of the home, and employees typically work 9 to 5. Freelancing is a type of work that is done by individuals at work from home and in other ways at any time they find comfortable for them.
Popular freelancing occupations
It is a career path that is different from working in an office environment and should not be judged harshly for that difference. Invest in yourself and your freelancing business.
The best way to start is to take the time to research and understand the industry in which you want to freelance. Be open to different opportunities and understand the career path that gets you where you want to be.
Below are some of the most popular freelancing jobs in 2022:
- Software Developer
- Digital marketer
- Web/mobile developer
- Graphic designer
It can be difficult to pivot if you are just starting as a freelancer, but it is important as it will help you excel in your chosen industry.
Why should you become a freelancer?
Freelancing allows you to freeload off of someone else’s success. The only prerequisite for freelancing is that you have a talent for it. If you have the skills and experience necessary, then freelancing can be a great way to make money while pursuing your own passions.
Some freelancers work in fields that are highly recession-resistant or are even in growth industries. While freelancing can be a great way to make extra money when times are tight, it is important to be realistic about the return on your investment.
Becoming a freelancer in 10 easy steps
Stpe1: Get the right equipment
As an aspiring freelancer, you might start by asking yourself what you need to get started. One of the most important purchases you can make is a quality computer.
When searching for your ideal laptop, look for something that will last at least a few years, has a large hard drive, long battery life, the latest software and hardware, 16 GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA graphics card.
Desktop computers can handle heavy loads and complex tasks better than laptops. But they generally cost more. You’ll also want to invest in a reliable internet connection with good upload and download speeds.
Good internet is essential for any freelance business as it is key for staying connected with clients remotely.
Step 2: Find A Marketable Skill
Freelance work is often more like contracting than full-time employment. You’ll need to be able to pick up new skills when demand requires it. You’ll also want to be able to market yourself to multiple industries or even fields, depending on the type of work you want to do.
If you go into the profession with a skill set that is in high demand, you’ll be more likely to find work. For example, traditional marketing skills will almost certainly be in high demand.
But if you have a specialized skill, such as programming or designing an app, that skill will be more specialized and might be in demand in just one or two industries. You’ll need to be able to get work quickly and have a good reputation in the industry to find consistent work.
Step 3: Polish Up Your Skills
It’s important to keep refining your skills and building your resume to find success as a freelancer. To start, it might be a good idea to look for freelance projects in your current industry.
If there are none, it’s a great opportunity to start picking up new skills by offering your services for free. Another option is to start small. Perhaps you can find a local business that needs some light marketing, copywriting, and design work, or attend a seminar or two to keep your skills sharp while building your portfolio.
To meet clients’ expectations, you’ll want to ensure that your work is always at a high level. To do so, it’s a good idea to find a co-working space with a coworking membership. This way you’ll have access to top-notch WiFi, office equipment, and a collaborative environment.
Step 4: Build Your Reputation
Building your reputation as a freelancer can be tricky because you have a lot less control over your online reputation than an employee. However, there are still a few things you can do to help your reputation grow.
- Make sure to complete every project 100% and on time. This will help you gain a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy freelancer.
- Stay connected with your clients and follow best practices when it comes to communicating with them. This includes replying to emails and messages promptly, being professional, and always being honest.
- Create a blog or website where you can publish your work and show off your portfolio. This will help you get your name out there as a freelancer and will help you gain clients in return.
- It’s a good idea to join online communities and networks related to your industry and type of work. This will help you make connections, learn more about the industry and find new leads.
Step 5: Create A Portfolio
To get new clients and prove to existing ones that you’re a qualified freelancer, you’ll need to create a portfolio. A portfolio is basically a collection of your work samples, such as websites, infographics, and even blog posts you’ve published.
There are a few options for creating a portfolio. You can create your portfolio online using a website builder, such as Squarespace or Wix. Or, you can create a portfolio on the go with a site like Instagram or Behance.
Step 6: Try Freelancing Part-Time
Freelancing part-time can be a great way to start working as a freelancer while gaining experience. This way you can help supplement your current income while growing your network, honing your skills, and looking for freelance work.
Once you have a few clients, you can use those as references when applying for full-time freelance positions.
There are a few ways to start freelancing part-time.
- You can try finding freelance work through various freelance websites, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.
- You can offer your services on local online forums, such as Craigslist.
- You can reach out to local businesses that might need some design work done, but don’t have the budget to hire a full-time designer.
- You can also find opportunities to freelance on social media sites, such as Facebook or Instagram.
Step 7: Find The Right Freelance Platform
You’ll want to find the right freelance platform that fits your freelancing style and allows you to find clients. When starting out, it’s a good idea to try a variety of platforms, such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Behance.
Some platforms might be more suited to your style of freelancing. For example, if graphic design is your niche, it might be better to try sites like Behance or Creativebug.
if you’re trying to find a platform that lets you work remotely, you’ll want to try sites like Upwork or Freelancer.
Once you’ve found a few platforms that suit your needs, you can start building your brand, growing your portfolio, and finding new clients.
Step 8: Charge The Right Price
One of the most important things to consider when starting out as a freelancer is your price. Your price will help set the standard of quality of your work. You’ll want to choose a price that balances the value of your work with the amount of money you need.
Be sure to do your research and look at your competitors’ rates. You don’t want to offer your services at a rate that is too low, but you also don’t want to price yourself out of the market either.
When you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to price your services a little lower than you would once you’ve built up a strong reputation as a freelancer. This will help you gain new clients and a higher reputation more quicker.
Step 9: Send Your First Proposal
Once you’ve found a potential client, it’s time to send your first proposal. A proposal is a formal contract for the project you’re looking to work on. You’ll want to make sure to include all relevant details, such as the project’s name, the client’s name, the estimated length of the project, your rate, and the payment terms.
You’ll also want to make sure to include any special skills you’ll be using for the project, such as software or design programs, and any special equipment you’ll need.
It’s a good idea to follow up with your client after a few days if you don’t hear anything. And if they still don’t respond, you can cancel the project and remove them from your client list.
Step 10: Deliver Beyond Expectations
Now you have to make sure that you can deliver the project just as the client has requested. You can also do a job by going above and beyond the client’s expectations.
For example, If you get a job writing a blog article with fixed words of around 1000 and you deliver the article to be about 1100-1200 with some graphics without giving extra charge.
The clients will be happy with your work. And gave 5-star ratings.
So you have to find a way to do work that goes beyond expectations. And remember to stand out from the crowd. That’s the only way to develop a lasting career as a freelancer.
While freelancing may not be for everyone, it’s a booming industry that has lots of potential for those who can navigate the obstacles. Freelancing can help you earn money to help you fund your own projects or pay for services that you need—for example, marketing and editing services for an upcoming photography project.
Freelancing as a newbie can feel like walking into an unknown world, but with the right preparation and attitude, it doesn’t have to be scary at all.