Freelancing is a good way to earn an extra income besides the paycheck you get from your day job.
It’s an even better option if you are currently studying and want to make a few extra bucks while honing your skills.
It appeals to the 57.3 million people who practice some form of freelancing, mainly because of the flexibility and freedom it offers.
Not only is it beneficial for the person practicing freelancing, but it also contributes to the economy of your country.
By 2027, freelancers are predicted to dominate the workforce as they already contribute a whopping $1.4 trillion to the American economy.
With so many people freelancing, including approximately 47% millennials in it, freelancing is becoming more and more of an attracted opportunity to avail.
That is where this guide comes in.
We have broken down things into a step by step guide for the success of your freelancing career.
We also share some tid bits at the end to help you grow as a freelancer.
If of course you are thinking about firing your boss and making this a legit business venture of yours.
1. Choose a Skill People Want To Buy
To start your career, you need to know that the world of freelancing is brutal and highly competitive.
If you have a skill that you want to practice within freelancing, you may find that no one is willing to pay for then, you need to be realistic about it.
The first step towards a successful freelancing career is finding a skill or niche that people are willing to pay for.
The surest way to start your freelance career in success is by transferring the skills that you have developed in your regular day job into working freelancing.
That way, you already know people are willing to pay for it.
Another thing that you might want to consider is what industry requires the type of work that comes within the online space.
If you can write, are great at designing, or coding, there is a huge opportunity for you to make money online.
You can always start a blog to make money if you are great at writing but go with something you are more comfortable with.
2. Understand the Service You are Offering and Price it
Once you have developed a good understanding of what you will base your freelancing career on, the second step becomes getting a clear understanding of which service you will offer your client.
For example, if you decide to build a career in designing, then are you going to be a graphic designer, motion graphics designer, product designer, or a web designer?
You can start small with one specific area to focus on and build and grow on it with time.
You also need to decide on the pricing and packages of your service.
Construct a sound system to make sure you paid on time.
A useful way of getting a good idea of what to charge your client is to look at the prices that people who are already offering services similar to yours are using.
While you are at it, also analyze people’s ideal clients, chances are very high that your perfect client will probably look the same too.
When deciding upon your services and pricing model, your aim should be to please the client.
Another way to price your service is to follow the 70-30 percentage formula, i.e.,
The formula depicts that you keep 70% of the revenue earned to yourself while you set aside 30% for taxes.
From here, you can decide on your break-even and your target revenue on your own (hopefully!)
3. Secure All the Equipment and Skills Required
Now that you have developed a stable foundation for your freelancing career, you can start working on building a stable reputation in the community.
Therefore, your next step should be you investing in yourself.
Get all the equipment necessary according to the niche you have chosen.
It could be a camera, a drawing tablet, or a simple laptop even.
Make sure you have a secure and reliable internet connection as well as all the relevant software you would need to develop your career.
A website of your own can act as your portfolio and build credibility.
Aside from the equipment, you need some serious operating skills.
However, when it’s for your freelancing career, it is always an excellent idea to invest not only in technical skills but also in soft skills like time management, marketing, selling, communication, and negotiation skills.
4. Build Credibility for Yourself
In the world of freelancing, credibility matters tremendously.
You need to have a portfolio of the work you have done for previous clients.
Having your own website is the fastest way to ensure that.
A website doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to make. In fact, it is a very cost-effective way to maintain your independent professional digital identity and showcase your work.
I do so with this and many other blogs and of course I make money through the affiliate marketing business model.
That is also a great way to make money for those of you wanting to expand a bit outside your comfort zone.
5. Find Work
This is the most crucial step in this whole guide.
As a freelancer online, you need to look for work constantly.
There are general platforms where you can get a job, in exchange for a small platform fee, by posting about your service.
Apart from market places like these, you can also post about yourself on more niche-focused job boards.
Here we have mentioned a few job boards form some of the most popular freelancing niches.
|Textbroker||Get Photography Jobs||Carbonmade||Smashing Jobs||FlexJobs|
A more indirect but a sure way of getting work for your freelancing career is leveraging your networks, adding guest posts on relevant industry blogs and publications, outbound marketing and conducting survey calls.
Before You Get Started
The idea of freelancing and being your own boss is just as good as starting a blog and making money with it.
The problem with this idea is sometimes that’s how it starts and that’s also how it ends.
What sounded like a great career can turn into well, nothing.
So to prevent such a thing from happening, I want to give you some pointers.
This should help you to not be like the many that have tried and failed at becoming a freelancer.
Don’t Expect too Much
You have created your profile and here come the clients.
Flooding my inbox with jobs because I am the best web developer in all Jamaica.
That’s the idea but not the reality.
In a real scenario, you are one of thousands of freelancers hoping that someone or anyone sees your profile.
That doesn’t usually happen because of your lack of credibility, which then leads to doubt, more doubt, and a lot more doubt.
Now if you can understand that this is a learning/growing process, then you won’t expect too much.
This will eventually lead to you getting seen and landing more freelancing jobs.
In most cases, some of your clients will be from different parts of the world.
This is normal and something you need to work around.
Being available to your client in odd hours of the day (for them) can be the deal breaker for most.
Some are very impatient and will fire you just as fast as you were hired.
Most freelance sites equip you with the tools to get notified, so use them to your advantage.
Email notifications, platform alerts, and even apps are there for you to keep in constant contact with your clients.
Treat it Like a Real Business (Because it is)
Many that come into the freelancing business do things in a half ass manner.
They come in motivated but that’s about it.
All the time.
When you are contacted for a job, you need to be able to respond almost immediately.
With something like UpWork, I’m able to communicate with clients in a very efficient manner.
But guess what I do to those that don’t respond soon enough?
I ditch them and move on to the next.
What you need to understand is that just a handful of clients that trust you, can make you a full-time income online.
Let the good employers slip away and you’ll be chasing them forever.
Provide Quality Work
I don’t care what line of work you are in, there is always going to be one thing that is necessary for all freelancers.
You are going to need to provide your best work with every single project you do.
Doing so allows you to do many things that will lead to your success as a freelancer.
- Better rating
- Higher rankings for recommendations
- More trust
- More money
Freelancers make lots of money for just one project.
Do exceptional work but do not focus all your time and energy into that one thing.
Get more clients, provide awesome work, and you can bet that they will hire you again or make recommendations to others.
That is one of the most important things you need to make money as a freelancer among a bunch of other little things.
Continue to Learn
As a new freelancer, you aren’t going to know much of how everything really works.
Sure you know how to write or design websites but learning the platform you are going to be working with is different.
You need to know how to respond to future employers and you need to know all the requirements and whatnot.
Mind you, this is all things outside of crafting up the perfect resume.
Keep in mind that not all platforms are the same.
Some have a messenger type of service while others don’t.
Some have a fee just to join, while others take that fee from the amount paid for the job.
Freelancing is a process that requires lots of learning and evolving.
If you can’t handle that then you will not make it as a freelancer online.
Conclusion: Start Your Freelancing Career
Freelancing is an art that needs time and effort to perfect, which is why you should start freelancing alongside your day job or studies.
When you do start, create a checklist for yourself, keeping the perspective of your ideal client in mind, and work towards ticking off all the things on it.
Be patient with your first year of freelancing or at least 6 months.
Believe us when we say work will not start flowing in as soon as you hit the market.
It’s a time and energy-consuming process.
While general market places are offering a platform for freelancers to get a job, there are specific job boards for your particular niche.
On whichever platform you choose to serve your freelancing, you have to make sure you are safe; have written agreements and a sound payment system to get paid on time when dealing with your clients.
All in all, to make money as a freelancer online, you need to keep in mind your business goals and work towards it consistently.
For more training on becoming the best freelancer you can be, you might be interested in something like Contena, so definitely check them out.