Beginners Guide to Kickstarting your Freelancing Career
So you want to be a freelancer? All over the world, the traditional 9-to-5 model is losing ground to more flexible ways of working. More and more of the workforce want to break out of their daily grind, drawn to the prospect of more freedom and encouraged by the incentives available to make it easier to find freelance jobs online. Not to mention the increasingly massive popularity of remote working in the digital sector.
For the most part, it’s not hard to see the appeal of becoming a freelancer. You get to work from home – or basically anywhere in the world as long as you have Internet access. Plus, you get to decide your work hours. No more waking up at 5:30 AM to beat rush hour traffic or returning home late at night because your boss demanded that you work overtime for the umpteenth time this month. Getting rid of all these scenarios and simply doing work that you enjoy doing is definitely alluring. If you’re drawn to this prospect, you’re probably wondering how to get started. Let’s show you how.
The Growth of the Freelance Economy
With the rapid growth of technology and the Internet, it comes as no surprise that so many people are making a shift to the digital world. According to a 2018 Betterment report, at least one in three US workers are active freelancers and this is only expected to grow by 40% next year. In fact, the growth of the freelance economy has been so rapid, rising 10.1% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015.
Kickstarting your Freelancing Career
Choosing to quit your full-time day job and begin to freelance full-time can be quite daunting. In the beginning, there will always be lingering doubts as to whether you’re making the right decision to leave a safe, structured job and venture into an uncertain world without a steady income. The freelancing world is so huge and in such a big pond, it can be difficult to find your place in the market as a freelancer and easily find freelance jobs. It is a risk not many are willing to take, which is why it takes the right amount of courage, information, and preparation to commit to a full-time freelancing career. If you’re ready to take the leap, here are some things to help you get started:
#1 – Ask the Right Questions
Freelancing can be a lonely road and there are times you may even find yourself tempted to go back to the corporate world. That's why before you even start, you should take some time to consider why you really want to go freelance. Are you looking to choose your own projects, to have more freedom, become your own boss, or to make more money? Keep in mind that not everyone starts freelancing for the same reasons. By understanding your core motivation for this move, you can stay centered and remain focused on your goals. It also helps you outline your expectations and make sure they’re realistic.
#2 - Find Your Niche and Build from there
What are you good at? What are those things that other people often struggle with but you have no problem getting done? What skills have you acquired over the years that you can put to good use now and earn some cash? The answer to this question is the starting point to finding your niche. The idea is to carve out a specific market, without overly constraining yourself. Think about the problems your target clients have; for instance, if you have chosen to work in the mobile technology niche, then you know your target clients could be on the lookout for a freelance app developer or troubleshooter. By understanding their problems, you can better position yourself as an expert with the right solutions.
#3 - Create an Attractive Portfolio
It is not a good idea to launch your freelancing career if you do not have the right experience in creating or providing the services or products you mention. In the corporate world, employers look at your CV, but in the freelancing world, clients look at your portfolio. You need to be able to showcase samples of your work that are of quality and can be used as examples as you offer the service. If you do not have many samples to create a portfolio, then roll up your sleeves and put in some work. For example, if you’re looking for freelance graphic design work, then create your own graphic designs and add them to your portfolio. You’re not getting paid for it, but it will help you get paid a lot more in the long run.
#4 - Sign up on Online Freelance Marketplaces
There are several freelance work websites that allow you to sign up and connect with potential clients. A good example is Taskenator, a global freelancing marketplace that connects trusted freelancers and savvy customers all across the globe. Here you can find data entry jobs, online web developer jobs, writing and editing jobs, and so much more. This is a good way to gain experience and enhance your skills to become a better freelancer.
#5 - Learn and Practice Self-Discipline
Working in the office usually means having a set start and end times (e.g 9 AM - 5 PM). This means you know when to wake up so as to arrive on time; while at work, there are no flimsy distractions like your TV or your cozy bed. As a freelancer, everything is up to you. When you wake up, how much work you do in a day, and how much time you spend playing Candy Crush on your phone. But keep in mind, that self-discipline is one of the outstanding qualities of successful freelancers. There’s a popular saying among freelancers - if you don't work, you won't eat. So you must learn to map out your day to be productive. Work on improving your self-discipline and you’ll see it gets easier every day.
So many jobs have become obsolete because of technology but so many have opened up as well, so there’s definitely a lot of opportunities out there for the budding freelancer. You now have all the information you need. Now all that’s left is to get started!