Freelancing is an increasingly popular way of working, but it’s also a terrifying prospect for people with little or no prior experience. How to juggle multiple clients? Where to find work? How much should you charge?
These are just some of the concerns that might be preventing you from embarking on your journey as a freelancer.
Thankfully, though, I’ve done all the hard work for you! Check out my tips below, and before long you’ll be on your way to building a new career that you can do from home, or if like me you’re allergic to staying still for more than 15 minutes at a time, from anywhere in the world.
|1. Freelancing is accessible even without experience.|
|2. Leverage your skills and creativity to get started.|
|3. Building a strong portfolio is essential.|
|4. Utilize online platforms to find freelance work.|
|5. Continuous learning is key to freelance success.|
|6. Start with competitive pricing and adjust over time.|
|7. Showcase your expertise through clear communication.|
|8. Networking can lead to valuable client connections.|
|9. Building credibility takes time and dedication.|
|10. Focus on delivering quality work for clients.|
Identify Your Skills And Interests
Now that you know what to look for in terms of experience, it’s time to think about the skills and interests that will help you get started.
Identifying your skills is a lot like identifying your interests it’s not always easy. You may want to ask yourself questions like “What do I already know how to do?” or “How good am I at this thing?”
If you can’t come up with an answer, try asking someone who knows you well a family member, friend or mentor can be a great resource for helping identify what sort of work might suit your talents best.
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Find Your Niche
Finding your niche is the first step to becoming a freelancer. The next thing you need to do is ask yourself what you are passionate about, what do you have experience in and what would you like to be an expert in? Think about what problems do you want to solve?
If you are still not sure which niche would suit better for your personality or skillset then try out different niches and see if something clicks with that particular field of work.
Decide On A Service Or Product
With the above in mind, it’s time to identify your general area of interest. Take some time and think about it what are you passionate about? What skills do you have that could translate into a business?
If you have no idea what field or product might be right for you, don’t worry! This is a process that takes time and experimentation. You can start by brainstorming ideas on paper or jotting down notes on your laptop until one sticks with you. Then, try to figure out:
- How would someone pay for this service/product?
- What resources would they need to make it happen (e.g., equipment)?
Aim To Solve A Problem
To start, identify a problem you can solve.
This is the most important step in any business venture, and it’s something that many people new to entrepreneurship fail to do.
Before you launch your product or service, make sure there are people out there who want it and who will pay for it! You’ll want to focus on solving problems that current customers have (rather than creating new ones).
For example, People don’t know where to find reliable information about their industry? You help them by providing an online database of resources and news. Or maybe no one has ever taught them how to write a resume? You provide free templates and articles on the latest tips for job hunters. Be creative!
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Assess Your Competition
Now that you’ve committed to going freelance, it’s time to get down to business. The first step is understanding what you’re up against and how your competitors are doing in the marketplace.
- Who are your competitors?
- What are they doing in terms of pricing and offerings?
- How do they market their businesses?
- Do they have a website, blog, or other online presence? If so, what kind of content does it have? Are there any specific strategies or tactics that have worked for them (or not)?
Set Up A Website
Setting up a website is the first step to being freelance. You need it because it’ll be your online portfolio, which will help potential clients find you and see what kinds of work you’ve done in the past.
Because there are so many different types of websites out there, it’s important to choose one that best fits your needs.
If you’re just starting as a freelancer, then chances are that money might be tight for a while; if this is the case then don’t spend too much time on creating something fancy yet!
All you need at this point is something simple with some basic content on your resume and perhaps short paragraphs about yourself and why people should hire/contact you.
If possible though (and depending on what kind of site), try setting up an email newsletter signup so that new clients can subscribe once they find your website through Google searches or social media channels like Twitter or Facebook.
Work On Your Skills And Experience
The first piece of advice I have for someone who is just getting started and wants to become a freelance writer is to work on their skills and experience. If you want to be a freelance writer, then start writing!
This may sound silly, but your ultimate goal should be to write as much as possible as often as possible. You’re not going to start earning an income from freelancing until you have a portfolio filled with relevant samples of your work (which will also come in handy when you need references during interviews).
To build up my portfolio I did the following things:
I created a blog about my interests and hobbies that allowed me to test out different styles of writing and hone my voice before diving into more serious work like copywriting or advertising copy.
After gaining some confidence with blogging, I began pitching articles as well as volunteering at local newspapers where they were always looking for people who could write short pieces on topics like local history or sports news for them to fill some space between longer articles that took longer periods than what was required by most ad agencies who wanted quick turnaround times instead of quality content.
This led me to eventually get hired at one such agency where we worked together collaboratively every day after school hours until graduation day came around again!
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Get Some Feedback On Your Ideas And Plans.
As you start planning your freelance business, it’s important to get feedback from people who know what they’re talking about. Here are a few groups of people to talk with:
Your friends and family. Your loved ones may be able to offer some helpful insights into your plan (or tell you that some aspects of it are doomed).
People who work in the field you’re targeting. You might not have experience in a given industry, but there are probably plenty of people who do and they can help break down its ins and outs for you!
Yourself! This isn’t just an excuse for self-reflection; by outlining the pros and cons of freelance work, making lists of resources (both useful and less so), and even just brainstorming ideas on paper or digitally, this process will help make sure all bases are covered before diving into any major decisions or investments related to freelancing life.
Make The Big Decision To Quit Your Job Or Go Part-Time.
Before you jump ship and get into freelance work, it’s important to make sure that you have enough money saved up and that the time is right. Although starting a business can be done while working full-time, it’s not always easy to do. To ensure success in this venture, keep these things in mind:
Make sure you have enough money saved up before quitting your job. Starting as a freelancer means putting all of your eggs in one basket; if something goes wrong or if sales are slow for whatever reason, there’s no safety net for income like there would be when working for an employer who pays a steady salary every month.
This can lead some people into financial distress if they don’t manage their finances well or don’t earn enough from their new career path quickly enough (and let’s face it there will be times when things aren’t going as planned!).
Give proper notice before leaving your current position. Even though people may want nothing more than freedom from the daily grind of cubicle life after reading this article about how great being self-employed sounds like (and trust me when I say that I understand).
It doesn’t mean they should go off without giving proper notice at their current place of employment so they’ll have time left on their contract agreement with them before taking off elsewhere!
Figure Out Your Finances And Make A Budget.
The first thing you should do is figure out how much money you will need to live on per month. This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s not as complicated as it might seem. There are several ways that you can calculate your budget:
- If your income from the job is steady and predictable, then just use that number for your expenses.
- If not, track all of your spendings for a few months and work out the average amount that you spend each month.
- You can also make up some sample budgets based on different numbers of clients and see which one would be best for you.
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Decide On The Hours You Work Each Day.
This may sound obvious, but it’s important to note that freelancers don’t get paid for the time they aren’t working. So if you’re considering becoming a freelance writer, editor, or graphic designer, it’s best to choose an hour of the day when your energy is at its highest and your focus is sharpest, and then stick to it!
For example: If mornings are when all of your brain cells show up for work (for me it’s midday), then consider scheduling tasks such as research sessions and editing during those hours instead of trying to push through them while groggy from a night out or hungover from too much wine the night before.
If weekends are usually when you’re most productive at home because everyone else in your house has gone somewhere else for some reason (like their own jobs),
Then keep all meetings with potential clients during those times so that if something comes up during another weeknight that requires urgent attention from everyone who lives under one roof together… well… hopefully someone will have stayed behind to take care of business!
Market Yourself – You Need Customers To Know You Exist!
The first step to becoming a freelancer is to market yourself. The best way to do this is by using social media. Build relationships with other freelancers, as well as connect with other people who have similar interests and skills.
Be sure to promote your work online, and don’t be afraid to sell yourself! Just remember that being confident in your abilities doesn’t mean being pushy.
If someone isn’t interested in what you’re offering, don’t be afraid to ask for help finding clients or selling yourself; the more experienced professionals will be happy to help out their colleagues!
Set Up An Agreement With Customers Before Starting Work
Before you start working with a client, it’s important to make sure that both sides are clear on what’s expected. You should take the time to set up an agreement with them and outline your expectations, as well as define milestones and payment dates.
Make sure that everything is written down so there are no misunderstandings or disagreements later on.
If you’re not comfortable with contract law, use your lawyer for help in creating one that is legally binding. It can be tempting to skimp out on this step because of budget constraints, but it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to legal matters like these!
Know when it’s time to get help – maybe some or all of that marketing can be outsourced to an experienced professional?
You are the best judge of what you are good at, and what you aren’t. If you don’t feel like your skills will allow you to do some of the marketing yourself, consider outsourcing that part to an experienced professional. They can help with things like:
- Writing your blog posts (or guest writing them)
- Driving traffic to your website via SEO and social media
- Creating videos for YouTube and other platforms
You’ll then be able to focus on what matters: creating content, networking with potential clients, etc.
You might find that it’s cost-effective to outsource some or all of this work; however, if there’s something important about running a business that needs doing in the house (like making sales), then make sure it stays in the house!
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Set Up An Accounting System For Your Business Finances
Seeing where money is flowing in and out of your business will help you make better decisions about how to market yourself and get more clients, as well as save you from accidentally overspending on something.
It’s not a bad idea to hire an accountant for advice or help with the paperwork, but you can set up a simple accounting system with either Excel or an online service like Quickbooks.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can be freelance and successful even if you are just starting out
As a freelancer, you have the freedom to choose your clients and projects. You can also easily set your schedule, which is why it’s an attractive industry for people who want to work from home.
However, if you’re just starting as a freelancer, the thought of going from being employed full-time to working for yourself can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need experience or expertise to start small and work your way up.
As long as you know how much money is needed for business owners (who are your potential clients) will pay their bills each month and how many hours they will allocate towards completing those tasks themselves; then determine what rates should be charged per hour is easy enough!
If you’d feel more comfortable working for a company, that’s okay! You can still use the skills that come with being a freelancer to help you stand out from other candidates.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Work For Myself?
You have more control over your time than if you were working for an employer, so it’s easier to balance your life.
How Do I Get More Clients?
The best way is through referrals from current clients and industry connections (e.g., friends, family members). It’s also helpful to develop a sense of social media marketing skills and knowledge of where potential clients might be found online such as relevant Facebook groups or LinkedIn communities. If that sounds like too much work, then consider hiring someone who specializes in this area it’ll cost less than you think!
Do I Need A Degree To Be A Freelancer?
Not necessarily…but having one will help since most employers want proof that people know what they’re doing before hiring them full-time (and even then sometimes not).
While some specializations require master’s degrees (like engineering), many others simply require a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree from an accredited university/college within their field(s) of study (e.,g., psychology).
For example: If someone wants to become an expert pet sitter they would need at least 2 years of experience plus either a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science/ Zoology OR A 4 Year Degree With A Concentration In Animal Care Management And Management Studies OR Any Equivalent Combination Of Education And Experience To Meet The Minimum Qualifications For This Position.
How Do I Know What To Charge?
This is a question that many freelancers struggle with, as there is no definitive answer. The best way to determine your rate is by researching similar services and comparing their prices. Some freelancers may also want to consider referring back to the cost of living in their area and what they were previously earning before becoming self-employed.
How Do I Find Clients?
There are several ways you can go about finding clients for your new business:
Use online resources such as Freelance Switch or Upwork – these websites allow you to create profiles where potential clients can view them and choose who they want to hire based on skillset, availability/scheduling requirements, and price point (if applicable).
You can also reach out directly through email or other social media platforms like Facebook groups (like our very own Freelance Chat). These networks are great because they allow you access to communities that have already gathered around similar interests so there’s less time spent trying to establish connections.
However, it might be harder work than using an established platform like those mentioned above especially if your niche isn’t well represented within those communities yet!
Do I Need To Be Qualified To Be Freelance?
No, you don’t need a degree to be freelance. Many people start on their own and become successful without any qualifications at all.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.