How to Start Your Freelance Career Successfully
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Leona Henryson, Commercial Director at Essay Supply.
Finding your true calling in today’s digital age can be stressful. So many people start down a certain path only to discover that they don’t like what they do for a living. Enter freelancing, a very popular and accessible industry with numerous niches and areas of interest.
Several important statistics about freelancing include the following:
- The average freelancing salary ranges in the $19. This makes it a very lucrative choice for students and people without adequate degrees or work experience.
- Freelancing is predicted to become a predominant occupation in the US within a decade, with 50% of millennials choosing to work as professional individuals.
- Studies show that 14.3 million people work as part-time freelancers. This means that people still freelance even if they have full-time jobs waiting for them.
People who work as freelancers often credit flexible work hours and environment as the main reasons for doing so. However, freelancing can often be an unrelenting occupation if one doesn’t manage his or her time correctly. Would-be freelancers shouldn’t be afraid of jumping into the profession however. The industry offers numerous personal and professional development opportunities such as networking and life-long learning.
Amanda Sparks, content creator at TopDownWriter spoke about freelancing recently: “I, like many others, started my copywriting career as a freelancer. During that time, I learned a lot about content marketing and met numerous professional marketers whom I work with even today. I would recommend freelancing to anyone who is in between careers or is searching for full-time work to no avail.” With that, let’s dive into some easy-to-follow and essential steps towards building a freelance career successfully from the ground up.
Gauge your skillset
Despite the open nature of the profession, freelancers are still required to pass a certain bar of expertise. For example, graphic designers are required to present portfolios while programmers might need to show their college degrees to get any exposure.
Make sure that you are aware of your own expertise up to this point in order to place yourself in the best bargaining position. You can get high-paying contracts early on if you have background experience of certain niches. If not, you will have to settle for entry-level work until you satisfy a certain criteria. Be critical of your abilities and past experience in order to make the most out of your freelance career.
Gather your credentials
Before going any further, you need to understand that freelancing doesn’t differentiate from regular work in the basic sense. You will still need to apply for work, pass the interview and deliver concrete results in order to get paid.
For a start, gather all of your credentials, experiences, skills and references in one document. Create a resume which can be on your freelance platform of choice as a proof of your expertise.
Several writing platforms can help you create a professional resume, including Canada-Writers, BestWritersCanada and TopAustralianWriters to name a few. These platforms work with professional, freelance writers and will undoubtedly help you get started with your professional credentials.
Check out popular platforms
There are dozens upon dozens of freelance platforms out there. However, as a beginner, you will want to stick to the trustworthy and popular choices. Try any of these freelance platforms and see if you can find solid footing with any of them:
The landing page featured on Fiverr gives you a good idea of what you can expect from the platform. You can find jobs in different categories including digital marketing, video editing, animation and lifestyle to name a few.
All you have to do to get started is to create a profile and upload your background information for checkup. Once done, you will be able to apply and start your freelance journey in one of the most reputable platforms out there.
Content creation represents one of the cornerstones of digital marketing. Written content comes in different shapes, sizes and target demographics – and Online Writers Rating covers all of them. The platform is specifically designed to cater to writers of all types and preferences.
You can find work and get work done for you via numerous websites featured on Online Writers Rating. Make sure to check this platform out if you are even remotely interested in freelance writing, be it as a writer or a potential customer.
A typical job market consists of an endless variation of professions, career choices and potential employment opportunities. This is what Upwork is for the freelance community at large. The platform offers a choice to both clients and freelancers to work as a part of a large network of likeminded professionals.
People with background in writing, design, data analysis, programming and many others will be able to find work through Upwork. The sign-up process is fairly similar to Fiverr and after a few ID checks; you will be ready to make a name for yourself.
A casual professional
People you will come across on freelance platforms often come in two groups. Ones will be representatives of large companies looking for a new perspective on their brand. Others will be individuals with a dire need of help from someone more knowledgeable than they are.
Make sure that you know how to present yourself in both cases. Be a professional but always keep in mind that you are talking to living, breathing humans. Each of them will have emotional responses and thoughts about the way you talk to them. Give them what they want and you will be able to land your first contracts fairly easily even without numerous points in your resume.
Always ask for feedback
Feedback plays a huge role in building a practice as a freelancer, both during and after each of your contracts. Communicate with your clients based on the wants and needs they present to you during the briefing. Remind them of the initial conversations and the posted job opening which you applied for whenever things get complicated.
You should meet your clients halfway. Be open to suggestions but never work for free. In the end, ask for constructive feedback for your work based on their experience. This will help you better your skills and the approach you take in the following contracts. Repeating this process will help you build a background of successful freelance projects which you can use as references for more risky and rewarding work going forward.
Don’t give up early (Conclusion)
The mistake most freelancers make is that they give up on their careers early on. Bad client experiences, low payments and numerous edits can seriously hurt your ego. However, you need to realize that the freelance market is full of beginners. Most of them have barely scratched the surface of what it means to work remotely.
Clients need quality work done just as you need to make enough money to make it through the month. Be objective about your work and don’t give up before you give it every last ounce of strength. Freelancing can be a wonderful experience and if you let it, it can become your full-time career choice.
Leona Henryson is a freelance writer and UX designer at Essay Supply. Also, she is a contributing writer for various blogs. When she is not writing or designing, she is swimming, hiking, and, weather permitting, snowboarding.