Freelancing is one of the most interesting plot twists that happened due to technology. The digitalization of the office started with a fax and a typewriter, till it ended up with moving the whole office to your house. Remarkable, isn’t it? Although your parents might not exactly understand what it means when you say “I am a freelancer,” do not let that discourage you. Many people are now going for freelancing for many different reasons. How to become a freelancer? Where to start? And why should you even consider it? These are important questions that we will try to answer for you.
What Does Freelancing Mean?
A freelancer is someone who is not committed to a long term job. Self-employed is a good way to describe a freelancer. Freelancing is a business model where an employee can perform different tasks for several clients or employers. It does not require working from nine to five. Freelancing may or may not be done online. Many companies nowadays choose outsourcing as a solution to many of their daily tasks. Outsourcing means hiring a third party to execute specific tasks or a whole pare of work. The most popular freelancing jobs are writing, translation, editing, marketing, managing social media, web designing, programming, personal assisting, and illustrating.
Benefits of Freelancing
So why is freelancing so attractive to many? Multiple reasons. Flexibility and freedom come on top of the list. Being self-employed means that you are your own boss. You determine your working hours, the amount of tasks you will work on, and your lazy days. Also, imagine never being stuck in traffic jams on your way to work anymore! Women in particular find working from home a huge plus so they can balance between their family and making money. In addition, there are many people who simply cannot adapt to a corporate lifestyle. Moreover, freelancing allows you more time to explore and improve your skills by taking on new opportunities, unlike a regular desk job. Freelancers generally have more control over the surroundings of their job.
How to Become a Freelancer in 5 Steps
Step#1 How to Become a Freelancer: Decide If Freelancing Suits You
Seriously, freelancing is not for everybody. Although being your own boss is an appealing thought, it requires a high level of commitment and responsibility. If you know that time management is not your strength, you should reconsider. In addition, like any other job, freelancing has its pros and cons. Before you start, you must determine if you can cope with its cons. For example, you will not receive a fixed paycheck by the end of the month; your income is not stable. If this is something you cannot handle, then freelancing may not be suitable. The switch from a desk job to freelancing should not be decided overnight.
Step#2 How to Become a Freelancer: Select a Niche
Selecting a niche has a prior crucial step: research. Research your field well and discover more about the world of freelancing. You need to find out your talents and skills. Examine your previous experience, anything you ever worked with before. What can you do? What do you lack? And how can you improve your qualifications? These are questions that you need to find answers for before selecting your niche. Then, you can start learning about the available freelancing jobs and select the best one according to your strengths.
Step#3 How to Become a Freelancer: Prepare Yourself
Now you know your niche. Whether it is writing, editing, web designing, or any other field. One thing about freelancing, you do not just need to be “good” at something, you also need to be better than your competitors. Clients will choose the best available freelancers for their tasks, so make sure you excel at whatever you are doing. Develop your skills, read and do more research. Taking new courses or online classes is a great way to improve. Remember that succeeding at freelancing does not happen after you start, it happens before you do; by preparing yourself properly. Whenever you are sure about your skills, prepare for a transitional phase to move from your desk job to freelancing to avoid being unemployed for a while.
Step#4 How to Become a Freelancer: Market Yourself
A freelancer is a good marketer. Even if your niche is totally irrelevant to marketing. At some point, we all need to market for ourselves. With freelancing, you are selling your skills and services to clients, how can you convince them to choose you and not anybody else without marketing yourself? Therefore, marketing is a part of your job too. Create a unique portfolio, show off your experience, and show off what you can do. Create a wide network of contacts, every person you know; ex managers, colleagues, neighbors, family members, friends, can have a potential task for you. Blend into circles of fellow freelancers, you will know what you competition looks like and you will also gain experience, and create more opportunities for yourself. Testimonials from your clients are a great way to show that you are trustworthy and professional. Ask for testimonials from your clients, they would not mind to give you a good review. Furthermore, be there on every social media platform, this can do magic, and expand your digital marketing channels. Finally, create a website and build a brand for yourself, this will distinguish your service and make it easier to reach.
Step#5 How to Become a Freelancer: Seek Advice
By expanding your network, you will meet freelancers who have been in the business before you. Do not be afraid to ask for advice and learn from their mistakes. Having mentors is a nice way to learn. Freelancers Union and other freelance focused websites are also an option for finding a circle of fellow freelancers. The most important topic that you should seek advice about is pay rates. You should definitely do a lot of research to be able to estimate a reasonable pay rate for your services.
Watch Out for
Clients Not Paying
On the search of knowing how to become a freelancer, a good tip would be to watch out for clients who do not pay. Many freelancers complain about this. Define your target clients and have some expectations. “Ideal clients pay promptly, communicate clearly, use contracts, respect your time, and don’t expand the scope of projects without also expanding your fees.” Do not forget to ask your mentors about their experience with a new client.
It may come as a surprise that freelancing is actually a lot more work than a nine to five job. Being a freelancer requires continuous effort, dedication, and patience. Freelance work also includes a plan of self-development and improvement. If you are not on a task, you will be marketing yourself. And if you are not marketing yourself, you are learning a new skill or looking for the next task. There is always something to be done.
Having mentioned the previous point, you may easily find yourself drowning in tasks, deadlines, and eventually delivering low quality results. Time management is really important to a freelancer. Since you are not committed to a limited number of hours, you may easily find yourself working for twelve hours a day. This will surely affect your performance and your whole experience. Therefore, you must definitely set a definite number of tasks and working hours.
Word to the Wise
How to become a freelancer? It is a process of researching, learning, planning, and commitment. You are your own boss, and a boss should be multitasking and organized. There are good websites which offer freelancing jobs with one field in focus such as writing or programming. Finally, make the best use out of your connections and social media channels, these are your two keys to making yourself known.