The first thing I need to say about freelancing is: it requires a lot of hustle, hard work, perseverance and dedication. You may earn next to nothing in the first month, a little bit more in the second one, and it won’t be until 6 months later of hard work that you’ll see good results. If you are a blogger, then you understand this well enough.
We can’t deny the fact that, freelancing is still great: you get to be flexible, you get to manage your own clients and you get to learn some new skills (writing, editing, design, programming, etc).
Here are some attractive steps to get the freelance ball rolling:
1. Determine what you’re good at
This is the first and most important thing to do as a freelancer. First of all, you need to figure out what you could offer to clients. Just in case you’ve always had a knack for writing? For designing? Even coaching? Pop onto Fiverr.com and see what other people have to offer. Some people do crazy stuff (yes, writing funny messages on your belly is totally freelancing), and many make serious money out of it.
Some classic freelancing could be: ghostwriting, pic designing, research, digital marketing, virtual assistant, teaching, etc.
Here is a piece of advise: if you haven’t determined what you are good at you could just move on to try many different thing, or a bit of everything and you see what you are good at or love best. But after that it’s good to focus on one freelance activity and get really good at it.
– You should know that, you’ll have a lot of competition out there.
2.Plan a portfolio
If you want to become a full time freelancer, i would suggest that you get a properly organised and well designed website and showcase all the cool projects you have handled. But i believe as a side income that wouldn’t be necessary.
The good question here is; How do you plan your portfolio? Its best you start with the first thing you could use when pitching a client. It could be an article you wrote years ago or a project you did back in time – Just anything that proves that you have done something.
If you have nothing, this shouldn’t be an issue – with enough push and hustle you will always get a client. You’ll be using this portfolio to show potential future clients what you’re capable of and what your experience is – You should make sure to show some of your best works.
3. Start simple
The most difficult part of this is usually with the first client: because you are not sure what to do, how to set it up and how to talk to them. My best advice is that you start small, start with Upwork. They have lots of contracts in place and it’s pretty easy to find people to work for, so you could get to know more about the job.
Yes, you may be a bit under paid and it is not expected to be the most interesting work. but it’s a really great way to get started on the job – it will give a lot of exposure and confidence and a feel of what freelancing is all about.
Go right on Upwork, set up a profile – make sure it looks professional and look for some quick and cheap projects people are willing to pay someone for. This will allow you to build up a portfolio pretty quickly and it’ll therefore be easier to get more clients in the future.
This is what i meant when i said you may not earn anything the first month: You need to focus more on building up your portfolio and work with clients. Not to worry, it gets easier to build up.
4. Work on connections
One major key to getting clients as a freelancer is a ”network”. Word of mouth is your friend, you should also be careful to keep a good track record of delivering what you say. As you get more clients on Upwork, you’ll slowly start forming connections (if you do a good job of course) and those same people will refer you to more clients. And just like magic, your client base doubles and you can decide to charge them more for jobs.
It is really important to keep testimonials any time you do a good job – it’s always more good proof.
You should be able to charge more normal once you move away from upwork and have your own client base . And that’s when you start making good money out of it. I suggest making a contract every time you do work for a client (outside Upwork), outlining the following clearly; what you’re doing, how much you’re charging and when they need to pay.
5. Build yourself up
Leave no room for mediocrity, once you have attained a great height in what you do and you feel you are good enough. Go on and get your own site, you could start up with something free WordPress/Blogger/Weebly, or go pro and get a domain name.
When you create this website, you will put all your projects, starting from your work at Upwork, amazing testimonials and all the cool clients you’ve worked for. At this point in time, you will be getting more and more client requests – so you need to set a limit of hours to work during the day and be disciplined, or you’ll burn yourself out.
By now you should know that Freelancing is true independence. You are now setting your own hours and your own rates. You are the boss now and at such you are liable; if something goes well you get all the credit and if something goes wrong you are also at the forefront of that as well. This is why freelancing is not for everyone – but I still find that even as a side-income it can teach you a lot about people, yourself, and your work ethic in general.
Here is how i do it; Now that I have my own personal blog, I use that as my portfolio. Most freelance work I do is for other bloggers or people in the network, so a blog is enough to see that I can do what they want me to. If you’re a blogger, you can try that too!