Becoming a freelancer can seem frightening
Becoming a freelancer can seem frightening. Getting out there and doing your own thing as your own boss can feel liberating yet confusing. You’re probably having a lot of questions going through your head, questions like “Where do I even begin?” or “What if I’m just going to waste my time?”
It’s normal to feel like that, after all not everyone has succeeded in their freelance journey, but thinking of working on your own time and having the ability to balance work and life must sound too good to give up.
So, how do you get started? How can you become a successful freelancer in the world of freelancing?
Below you’ll find a few tips and tricks to help you climb that ladder to success in your freelance journey!
FIND YOUR NICHE
If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer then you might already have a service you’re willing to offer that suits your skill. Maybe you’re a good writer, photographer, or web designer or maybe you’re a songwriter. Or maybe you have a beautiful voice, do you know that there are people who buy voice records? You have to identify your niche and be specific about it in your profile.
So ask yourself, what are you best at? If you can answer this question then you’re ready to take the next step.
TIP: Don’t put yourself down if you don’t have the right answer to that question yet. No one has entered the freelancing world knowing everything. Many of them learn as they go. So if you don’t have a specific niche in mind yet, you can focus on things like ghostwriting, transcribing, and even becoming a virtual assistant. If you are passionate about something but you’re not very familiar with it, you can learn more about it online. There are plenty of free online courses that can teach you a new set of skills (SEE: Coursera, Khan Academy).
JOIN A FREELANCE PLATFORM
Most freelancers of today are found selling their services on different freelance platforms. These platforms are the easiest way to find the right clients that are looking for the service you’re offering, job offers are always available there. Keep in mind that most of these platforms have policies and offer protection to both freelancers and employers. You and the client are required to adhere to the terms of every project you accept on a freelance platform. Look for top-quality sites such as UpWork or Flexjobs.
If you feel like you can join multiple of them, you can certainly do that too. It gives you a wider range of potential clients. Just don’t overdo yourself to a point where you can’t even take care of one profile.
TIP: Be professional and don’t sell something you’re not good at. Many such profiles offer cheaply-done, poor-quality work that doesn’t help them nor the customer. From personal experience, Fiverr is not the best choice when it comes to freelance work (nor buying services). Freelancers are usually abused and taken advantage of by customers without any needed support from the platform. Also, as a client, you need to search long before you find a qualified profile to do the work you need as most of them are from the least developed countries and offer poor quality work.
Maybe you’re wondering why I didn’t list Fiverr or Freelancer here. Well, if you sign up for one of the 2 sites, get ready to face the Indian competition. Not that they would be so good at any service that sells them on Fiverr, but they keep the top on Fiverr. In fact, I think that if it weren’t for them, the Fiverr platform would definitely be bankrupt. From my experience with Fiverr as a service buyer, I can say that it left me with a bitter taste.
So make sure that the services offered are of good quality. I don’t want to go into details about the Freelancer experience. Totally disappointing.
CREATE YOUR PROFILE
One of the most important things to work on is your profile. Having a professional-looking profile is crucial to your success as a freelancer. A brief introduction about you and the work you do will help the client know more about you and decide whether you’re fit for the kind of work that they are looking for. Here are some tips to get that professional profile up and running:
- Add a professional-looking profile picture. Your face should be seen clearly and centered. Don’t add pictures of animals, celebrities, or landscapes, it’s not gonna look very appealing.
- Put effort into your title and introduction. Chances are that there are hundreds of others offering the same service. Not trying to discourage you! But you have to think outside the box a little and try to make yourself stand out from that crowd. Talk about what you do, but don’t write a novel! A brief yet captivating title and introduction is all you need.
TIP: Common mistake is being too broad. Add a bit of value to the work you do, make it sound interesting. Don’t add simple words such as “writer” or “photographer”, to stand out you need to describe your work in a bit more detail.
- Add your social media accounts. A nice-looking profile on platforms such as LinkedIn can create a more trustful and captivating experience for the buyer, so if you do not have an account, set one up! It definitely adds value and professionalism.
- Remember to change your profile with time. As you grow in the freelancing business, it is good to add new achievements, improvements, etc. Don’t let it be static, it’s important to be up to date on it.
TIP: If you’ve just started your freelance career and do not have any relevant work experience, it’s okay! You can state other past similar achievements that are related to the skills you’re offering online. But don’t list something that has nothing to do with the work you’re doing.
GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Many don’t realize just how important it is to publicize yourself. Create an account on different platforms, such as LinkedIn or Instagram, and start advertising your niche. Show passion for what you do and focus on growing your accounts. It can help you find potential clients outside of those freelance platforms and it gives them a chance to know you better and see your dedication.
I hate to say it, but today to identify yourself, you must have a social media account ( UHH). Most people ask you when you need to identify yourself: do you have a Facebook account?
TIP: Just like with everything else, it can take some time to grow these accounts and get yourself out there. That is why it is important to be committed and determined to do this for the long run. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
INCREASE YOUR HOURLY RATE
As someone who just started out, it’s normal to have a lower rate but as your account grows and you receive more clients, it is important to grow your hourly rate. You might think that that will push those clients away, but that’s actually the contrary. Usually, cheap services attract cheap customers, and trust me, you don’t want someone that’s gonna cause you trouble or anything of such. As you get better at your skills and become more experienced, you’ll gain more quality clients that will be willing to pay more for your services, because you’ll be trusted.
BE ACTIVE AND QUICK TO RESPOND
You can’t expect to be a successful freelancer if you don’t take care of your account/s. Being inexperienced can sometimes push clients away, that’s why you have to put in a bit of effort and stand out even if you’re at the beginning of the journey. Most freelancers leave it to their “luck” and don’t work on any of these characteristics and therefore they don’t get any recognition.
Be sure to stay active, be quick to respond to your clients and show your professionalism through the way you speak and through the services you sell. This way, not only will you get new clients more often, but you’ll also have existing clients willing to work with you again!
LEARN TO SAY NO
Finally, it’s important to set boundaries and learn to say no when you feel like the project you’re being offered isn’t for you or you get a bad feeling from the potential client. It’s no shame and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Go with your gut.
TIP: Many freelancers get scammed and threatened to do more of their job than they’re paid to offer. If you’re asked to do something extra, don’t do it for free. Each service has to be paid, and if you allow it to pass once, it will happen again. Be strict yet professional!
You might find all this a little overwhelming, but if you really like the idea of freelancing and being your own boss, you’ll find that you enjoy doing these things along the way. It might be challenging and frustrating at times, that’s why it is also important to already have an income when you get started. Don’t rely on this from the start because it will not work out right away. With a bit of sweat, you’ll get the success you’ve been working for!
I hope this article sheds some light on how to become a successful freelancer!