A lot of people crave the freedom of being able to work wherever and whenever you want, but end up stuck in their 9-5 desk jobs simply because they have no idea how to start freelancing.
Below, you will find five easy and clear-cut steps to start your freelance career so you can experience the flexibility and limitless income potential that you’ve always dreamt of.
Find your Niche
The first thing you need to do if you want to learn how to freelance is to find what you’re good at and what you love doing. Knowing these two things will help you get started by focusing on one thing and following one path.
There are several niches you can choose from when you go freelancing. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Virtual assistance
- Freelance writing
- Freelance photography
- Web design
- Web development
- Customer service
- Website content
- Management (Operations and Human Resources)
- Sales and Marketing
Once you identify your niche, you can move forward with clarity and direction. Knowing your niche, you can focus on what skills you need to hone and level up. You will also know which clients to look for, what specific services you can offer, or what jobs you can apply for.
Find a Platform
Luckily, becoming a freelancer or learning how to freelance nowadays is a lot easier than it was in the past. More and more freelancer platforms are popping up to cater to different freelancers and help them connect with employers or clients from across the globe.
Depending on your niche or your area of expertise, you will find several options in terms of platforms. Below are a few examples, including niche-specific sites to help you focus on offering services based on your skills:
Formerly known as oDesk, Upwork is one of the leading freelance sites there is. Graphic design, content marketing, and writing jobs are a regular fixture for the site. You can bid for short-term or long-term arrangements, depending on clients’ needs.
If your niche is writing, iWriter is the right choice to find jobs. All you need to join is to write two 250-word outputs from writing prompts. Depending on your results, you may choose to apply from a list of available jobs and work your way up to earn more as your initial rank picks up. This system makes it easier for first-time applicants who still don’t have existing portfolios or experiences.
For designers, this website offers design services to many clients and has so far fulfilled over 100,000 clients. The platform makes it easier for people to seek design services and for designers to find the right clients. Since its main niche is design, it automatically filters available jobs to only design-related queries.
Check out our article about the 11 Best Freelance Graphic Design Websites to find out more.
Just because you choose to become a freelance does not mean you have to choose a computer-based niche. This freelance website specializes in housework like plumbing, moving, packing, and furniture assembly. Errands and deliveries are also a part of the service their freelancer provides. If you want to be in the business of helping people with daily life as a freelancer, you should look up TaskRabbit.
Other freelance websites you can check out:
Build a Profile
Once you find a platform (or several) you think you can work with, it’s time to build your profile. Every platform will have a different format for their profile pages, but what you will find in common across all platforms are details such as your photo, contacts, necessary information, and qualifications.
Here are a few tips for building a strong freelancer profile:
- Craft an excellent headline. Think of your headline as your elevator pitch. It should be brief, concise, and impactful. It should contain your job title, your specialty, and your years of experience.
- Be objective about your skills and strengths. Highlight your accomplishments and give factual details such as statistics, titles, websites, certificates, and any awards if applicable.
- Upload a professional photo. This creates a positive first impression since your photo will be the first thing a prospective employer or client sees when they look at your profile. Invest in a professionally-done headshot or portrait shot. If you can’t, find a friend to help you snap a few photos against a neutral background.
- Optimize your online profile. You can get a handful of good tips from this course.
Build a Portfolio
Your portfolio should be part of your profile. Online, you may link to your collection, which you can feature in several ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Create your own blog or website. There are a few simple and cost-effective ways to put up a website now. You can make it as elaborate or as bare as you please, but what is essential is that it showcases your work.
- Create a social media page dedicated to your work alone. For artists, sites like Pinterest or Instagram offer a convenient way to keep your work and show it to the world.
- Sign up with a portfolio site like Behance, Dribble, Coroflot, and Crevado.
The final and most crucial step to starting your freelance career is to find clients. Whatever platform it is that you choose won’t matter if you don’t make an effort to reach out to employers, pitch them, and build relationships with clients.
If you’ve completed the steps above, made a solid profile, and collated a decent portfolio, finding clients to work with should not be impossible. Just remember to give it your best while staying true to yourself.
Sales and Marketing for Freelancers is an online course dedicated to teaching you how to freelance successfully by effectively selling yourself and your services.
Learning how to freelance is one thing. Living a freelancer’s life is another. You may come across several hurdles, deal with demanding clients, and spend time adjusting to your new setup, but the reward of freedom and flexibility should be worth it.
Ready to start freelancing? Click here to get started.