How to Become a Successful Freelancer - A Beginner’s Guide
Tired of looking for corporate jobs that ask for multiple experiences? Having difficulty coping with grueling work hours? Dreaming of being your own boss and putting your skills to good use? Well then you might be perfectly suited to be a freelancer.
Freelancing, by definition, is a type of employment where you are the selector and executer of your own tasks. If you do not know how to start freelancing with no experience, here in an amazing article always for beginner freelancers.
You take up work that is best suited to your skills, comfort and ease. In this day and age, freelancing has become a great option for many people like housewives, students, quarantined individuals and even those who need to earn some extra money on the side.
It allows you to compile all your diverging skills into one profile and offer one or multiple services to those who are looking. It is a saving grace not just for freelance workers but also for the buyers who had no sure or easy way to find an individual with specific skills that were needed.
The freelancing websites have replaced the long and grueling process of advertising a job, interviewing the applicants and then shortlisting those who fulfilled the criteria required. It has eliminated the need of an office space when a task could easily be accomplished remotely.
In these trying times when economies are failing, pandemics are striking and day jobs alone are not enough to support one’s household, doing some freelancing on the side will not only give you a financial boost but will also add value to your resume. But it’s not easy. Freelancing platforms are quickly becoming saturated with the same talents and services, so how do you bring yourself to the top? Here are a few important steps:
Create an account on a Freelancing Platform
A website created to cater to the needs of a buyer as well as the seller is a freelancer’s best friend. Such websites provide you with an opportunity to sell your skills and be approached by various buyers who are looking to use them. There are numerous online platforms that will help you sell your skills to clients who are situated all over the world.
You can reach to a person sitting in any corner of the world and work for him. Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com etc. allow you to create your profiles in such a manner that your skills are on easy display for potential buyers. Even Linkedin is considered a great site to find remote/freelancing tasks. So make your profile on accessible sites that you find the most easy to navigate.
Make an Attractive Profile
Now that you have signed up as a freelancer on a website, it’s time to create a profile that would be too good to pass on. List all of your skills, past experiences, courses and diplomas. Also include samples of your work if possible (articles, designs, logos, videos etc).
A well-made sample will definitely push the client to take a deeper look at your profile and maybe initiate conversation. Don’t shy-away from adding a unique or less heard-of expertise on your profile because someone somewhere might be looking for exactly that particular skill. It will also help you to specify or highlight a specialized service that you can offer to clients.
Being a new freelancer, you need to stand out in order to start getting work. It’s a good strategy to survey the website and look at the profiles of highly-rated freelancers for inspiration. It will give you an idea about the kind of profile you need to create to garner attention.
Offer Efficient and Reasonable Services
When you are new on a freelancing website, it might be difficult to find new buyers as your profile will not be carrying any ratings. The more work you get and the better you perform, the better you will be rated. So it is imperative that the prices you are offering are market compatible and the deadlines you propose are also reasonable.
Avoid going over the top but also don’t sell yourself short. Be confident that the skills you are offering are unique and your work will be dedicated and honest. Be open to discussions with clients and offer flexibility where you think is possible. As your ratings grow, you can be more selective and take up offers that are more challenging and high-paying.
Give Yourself some Publicity
Now that your profile is complete and your services are well-listed, it’s time to publicize it. You cannot expect potential buyers to find your profile by happenstance. You’ll need to work hard to make yourself visible.
Scout the website for demands related to your skill-set Promote yourself on social media and also ask your acquaintances to share your profile as much as possible. If you know someone who does freelance work, ask them to bring you clients that might need your services.
The more people know about you, the higher the chances of you finding the right client. Another efficient way to get more people to notice your profile is to use specific tags and keywords to describe your work on your profile so that if someone clicks that particular tag, your profile also pops up on the search feed.
Communication is Key
Whenever we buy a product, the seller’s attitude and mannerisms play a key role in our final decisions. A seller who knows how to efficiently communicate with the buyer and satisfy all his queries patiently is usually the one who sells the most products.
Same is the case in the freelancing world. After looking at your skills and the services you provide, the buyer will judge your communication skills. It is your job to make them feel comfortable enough to spend their money on you. You need to keep the channel of communication always open and be quick to respond to any question or demand.
Even an unreasonable client should be dealt with patience and professionalism. In that way you will leave a trail of happy customers who will not only rate your work highly but will also recommend you to other consumers.
Keep Adding to Your Skill Set
To keep yourself at the top of the game, you’ll need to be alert about the changing trends on the Internet and keep yourself up-to-date with new tools and technologies. You should try to take short courses online that will add new skills and certifications to your profile.
This will keep your expertise in-demand and you will be able to keep up with the changing market and trends. Currently; programming, software development, social video marketing and web designing are the highest paying jobs in the freelancing industry. Another sought-after skill is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is the process of increasing the traffic towards a blog by using keywords in a manner that the search engine directs organic traffic to your website.
This is a skill that is much in demand by website owners and pays well too. It would help to sign-up on Coursera which is an online site that offers multiple courses from around the world on various subjects, tools and soft wares. Taking courses will not only improve your personal growth but will also help you gain momentum professionally. Another useful site is Doubleyourfreelancing.com that guides you towards a better understanding of your business and freelance niche.
Like any other job, freelancing also takes time and patience to get good at. You cannot expect to turn into a millionaire overnight and neither can you expect to get tasks every day, at least initially. Like we discussed above, it takes time and effort to build a strong profile and start getting noticed. The most you can do is keep going and not give up.
In the beginning you might not get a single task and people might ignore your requests but you can use that as an opportunity to reflect. Are your prices too high? Is your profile too confusing? Are your skills too vague? After making the changes you can start your hunt for clients once more and in the meantime, research the market and improve your profile.
Once your tasks start coming in, you will be on the track to progress. Being your own boss has the advantage that you can take any amount of work that you can manage. If you have the time and energy, you can take multiple tasks with strict deadlines and improve your profile in a short number of days.
You can transform yourself into a professional freelancer in a number of days with dedication, patience and following the simple steps mentioned above. Being your own boss doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. You can always look for inspiration in people who have established themselves as professional freelancers and do it as a full-time occupation.
Look online for motivational speeches, blog posts and YouTube tutorials by renowned freelancers. You will be motivated to do your very best just by listening to the professionals. Keep going strong and never lose hope. The days of being a self-employed, financially stable individual are not that far.