Everything You Need to Know for How to Start Freelancing

Freelancers in the U.S make up 34% of the entire workforce.

This figure is set to skyrocket in the next decade. Having people work from home saves companies money and time. But, it also increases productivity and improves the satisfaction of employees.

Of course, there are jobs which require employees to remain at their place of work, such as waiters.

But, for many, freelancing is a viable career path. Are you wondering how to start freelancing? The process can be a little bit scary at first. But, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know to start freelancing.

What is Freelancing? 

The portrayal of freelancing is often a rich kid, sitting on the beach. They may even have a laptop propped on their knee and a mojito in hand.

However, this is not the reality.

Freelancers are employed by a variety of companies or clients. As a freelancer, you may be working on one project or have an ongoing relationship. This varies drastically depending on the person.

Freelancing is hard work

Some freelancers have a home base and go into a client’s office while others work full-time from home or on the road.

However, if you want to make a reliable income as a freelancer, you will be working the same or longer hours than you did in your office job.

You’ll also need a proper setup to ensure you can get your work done. Sun-glare and sand can seriously hinder productivity.

Common Freelance Professions

There are many jobs which can be freelance. However, if you’re going to be successful, you need to find a profession which you’re trained in and have experience in.

Otherwise, finding clients will be very difficult in a crowded marketplace. A few common freelancing professions include:

  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Translator
  • Game developer
  • English teaching online
  • Copywriter
  • Content writer
  • SEO specialist
  • Graphic designer
  • Video producer

Closely analyze your skills to figure out the types of work you could offer as a freelancer.

Then, consider WHY you want to be a freelancer

WHY Do You Want to Become a Freelancer?

Before you delve into the “hows”, you need to consider why. If you’re simply asking “how can I get out of the office?” perhaps a change in job, rather than a switch to freelancing is better for you.

Unfortunately, becoming a freelancer is not as easy as it is often portrayed to be. So, in order to flourish, you need to figure out why you want to become a freelancer and work out short term and long-term career and business goals.

Create a Sustainable Business Plan

After figuring out the “WHY”, you must develop a sustainable plan for how you would make this dream a reality.

First, come up with ideas on the types of work you could thrive in. You should do this before you quit your day job.

Next, set out your goals – how much money do you want to make and how many hours do you want to work?

Planning is your friend

Then, find your industry or NICHE – have you been working in an animal charity for years? Are you a know-it-all when it comes to 90s board games? Do you speak fluent Russian and Portuguese?

Set up your website – after you’ve figured out the answers to these questions, it’s time to market yourself. You should use high-quality images for this, make sure your spelling and grammar is correct, and set your prices (after doing your research, that is!)

Also, do your research to figure out the types of clients who hire freelancers and who you’d like to work for.

Build a long list of companies which seem unattainable and those which require slightly lowering your standards. Figure out WHY they should hire you.

Finally, it’s time to actually go out and contact some clients.

Find Your First Clients

Before you even quit your day job, it’s advisable to begin searching for reliable clients in your spare time to figure out whether this career path is plausible.

With your new sharp-looking website, it’s time to approach clients with your services. When you first start looking for clients, think local and do your research to find companies which could benefit from your services.

Go to speak to these companies directly and take your resume and current portfolio. This will help get you noticed. Get clients and network

Remember, you want to build your portfolio and experience first before you begin looking further afield. So, make as many connections in your area as possible.

It’s also recommended that you tell your family and friends and anyone who will listen about your new career path and your aims.

You may be surprised by how many people start their careers from a casual tag on a job ad by a friend on Facebook.

Problems Freelancers Face

When you’re first starting out, you’ll find that there are many issues you’re going to have to overcome. These issues don’t disappear, but you’ll get better at managing them. For example:

  • People will ask you to work for free – NEVER take a free gig (read my post on Working For Free). Even while trying to bolster your experience, this is insulting and undercuts other freelancers.

  • Clients that “forget” to pay – build your case from the beginning. Get your pay and hours in writing and keep records of every conversation and time worked.
  • Clients don’t come and money dwindles – before going into this career, you should build up a fund for rainy days (or months) of up to six months worth of regular pay. Losing clients and struggling to make money comes with the territory, especially in your first few months or years as a freelancer.
  • Loneliness is another issue which can come from working alone in your own home every day. To combat this, make sure you have a strong community to rely on when you go a little stir-crazy.

Every career path has its own challenges. Are you feeling positive about your skills and ability to overcome these problems? Freelancing is the right path for you.

How to Start Freelancing? Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

When you start your freelance career, you’re going to find that nothing happens as quickly as you might have hoped.

But, with meticulous planning, hard work, and the right niche, you’ll be able to build a reputation and find well-paying clients.

When considering how to start freelancing, remember that you’re playing the long game. Success won’t come overnight (for everyone!)

But, after implementing all of these tips, you should be able to start working as a freelancer. If you’re still finding it hard to land clients, check out our courses.

Freelance success

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