Freelancers are independent workers, performing a wide range of jobs across all industries, from design to writing and programming. Freelancing offers freedom and flexibility, but it’s not for everyone. There are many ways to freelancing. We go into the details of what you can expect when you freelance.
What is the right way to start freelancing?
Freelancing is a great way to perform specialised jobs for clients. Freelance writing, graphic design, e-commerce development, social media marketing—the list goes on! But many freelance professionals make the same mistakes when first starting out. It’s not because they came from a bad school or are unintelligent, but rather because they have never been given accurate information about how to succeed in freelancing.
Here are some important hints to help you;
Where do I find my first clients?
On the web. You should advertise your skills where other freelancers likely to be looking for a similar match would visit: “freelance” job boards, freelance and design associations, and freelancer listing sites.
If you have an in-demand skill, with marketable branding (like a designer with a portfolio of work), then you won’t need to go looking for clients for long. As soon as you start getting enquiries, you can start pricing your work and turning the most suitable clients your way.
Should I work for free to get exposure and experience?
Don’t work for free. In order to get paid, you have to charge a day rate or a project rate. Either one makes you appear as a professional and an expert in your field. If you’re working for free, you’ll eventually run into difficulty.
How do you ask for money? Who decides the rates? What if they don’t like the work? Charging a fee helps clarify these things and is far more professional than just “helping out” and hoping for exposure.
Starting small is ideal
The best way to get started as a freelancer is to start small, do well and build your portfolio. Talk to your current clients about referring you for related jobs; attend networking events, find and connect with potential online clients through LinkedIn and leverage social media to market yourself.
You may be a great designer, developer or writer. But if no one knows you exist, you’ll never get work. So, it’s important to get your name out there and make some strategic connections. Not only will this help increase the chance of more gigs coming your way, but these people will also be able to give you inside tips on how to improve your skills and what to watch out for.
Build relationships & reputation
It is not easy to win the trust of your clients. You need to demonstrate professionalism and competence, as well as establish relationships with those you work for or would like to work for. Don’t forget to get a professional indemnity cover, so you’re adequately protected in the event you run into occasional errors, and a client relationship goes sour.
Play the long game
Establishing a successful freelance business is about playing the long game. Every client you partner with, and every project you focus on should be another step towards building the freelance career you imagine. Define your ideal clients, and then plan how to market your skills and build your reputation in order to attract them and win their trust.
Ready to turn up the heat on your career? Freelancing is a great way to learn new skills, build your portfolio, and launch a business that supports your dreams. Start freelancing today with the helpful tips above.