A career in freelancing provides a tremendous amount of freedom, benefits and lucrative opportunities. Whether a freelance career is in the fields of writing, editing, graphic design or web development, a growing number of workers across the globe are venturing into it.
Of course, for abecedarians, starting out can consist of plenty of trials and errors, patience and dedication. Unless a person has the answers to everything right away, the average freelancer has more or less struggled during the first few months of their new career. Persistence is imperative to becoming a successful freelancer.
“The biggest misconception people have is that they're going to jump right into it and start making money,” Laurie Rozakis, a freelance writer and editor, told Entrepreneur magazine. “Not true. Just because you build it doesn't mean they'll come."
For workers, stay-at-home moms and students who have plenty of skills and want to enter the global marketplace, the $64,000 question is: how does one even begin to freelance their knowledge, skills and expertise?
Before answering that question, it’s extremely important to remember that a freelancer must offer value in their work and make it stand out in a marketplace that consists of millions of workers all over the world.
Here are some tips on how to freelance your expertise:
What Are You Good At?
It’s a simple question. Too many people are modest about their expertise and what they’re good at, but in this case, refrain from doing so. If you’re unsure, ask your friends, family members and colleagues what makes you stand out from the others.
The most common freelance gigs are involved in writing, graphic design and administration. However, what many don’t realize is that there is an abundance of other areas that are rarely tapped into, such as freelance engineering, home inspecting, political consulting, set designing and even telemarketing. Indeed, there are numerous opportunities and avenues to pursue.
Sit down, think about all the skills that you have obtained over your lifetime and research the market to see if there are potential prospects that include professionals and businesses that need abilities that only you and a select few have.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
It may seem attractive to quit a steady, dependable and income generating job that might seem boring, repetitive and tedious. However, if it brings in a weekly (or bi-weekly) paycheck and pays the bills then don’t leave just yet.
Instead, take the time to consider how you can work on your freelance career outside of work. This can be accomplished by completing assignments before or after work, weekends and during vacation time – inquiring about flex time would also be a prudent step to take.
Professional Portfolio and Website
Whether a freelancer is just starting out or they’re an experienced professional, it’s always a good idea in producing an expansive portfolio as well as investing in a professionally made website with plenty of contact information, experience and prices.
Please note: if you’re just starting out freelancing and have no samples, consider taking on pro bono or low-paying gigs to attain experience, testimonials and examples.
Great, you’re a freelancer. How many other people know this?
When starting out as a freelancer and a website is developed, it’s essential to utilize various marketing schemes to get eyeballs to your services. This can consist of promoting yourself on the usual social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), posting flyers in your town, hiring search engine optimization (SEO) services and informing your friends and work colleagues that you have a part-time freelance business on the side.
Although networking can often be cringe worthy because it’s based on meretricious means, it can also be beneficial, especially if you joined a professional organization that is associated with your specialty and field of work. They may have leads, they may know previous clients who need more work done and they may offer good advice.
Join Freelance Websites
There are numerous websites out there to assist freelancers in connecting with clients. Some of these include Elance, Freelancer, Freelance Writing Gigs, Helium and oDesk. Sign up for these websites, create a detailed account portfolio and scan the lists of jobs offered on a daily basis. Also, take part in the website’s respective forums to get to know others in your same position.
Are you a professional freelancer? If so, how did you start off? Tell us your experiences in the comment section.