Freelancing is a great way to pursue your passions while making extra cash on the side. But for some people, there comes a time when they wonder if they can leave the 9-to-5 and make a career out of freelancing.
Quitting your day job to focus on freelancing can be scary. But with enough preparation and information, you’ll be able to feel confident about your decision to commit to a full-time freelancing career.
In this post, we’ve outlined seven steps on how to become a successful freelancer.
1. Envision Yourself as a Freelancer
What’s stopping you from being a freelancer? Before they entered the freelancing landscape, most gig workers had to overcome the “impostor syndrome” – or believing the idea that you’re not as capable as others perceive you to be.
Prove yourself wrong and show yourself that freelancing can be a reality. Create a business plan and start by coming up with a business name and creating a vision for your brand. Ask yourself, “Why am I starting a freelancing career?” Why should people patronize the products or services I offer?”
Asking these important questions gives you a clearer picture of your business. It gives you the impression that you’re one step closer to making your dream a reality.
2. Create a Profile
You don’t have to write a universal CV since most freelancing websites have templates to fill out with the necessary information. However, building your freelancing profile requires more than just a to-do list you can check off.
To attract clients, you need to take the time to create a profile where your potential clients can easily view your education, skills, expertise, and experience. Keep them engaged by keeping your CVs short and simple. Explain why you’re the best person for that specific gig.
3. Build Your Portfolio
Do not advertise your services or apply for gigs if you have no experience creating products or providing services you’re planning to sell. For instance, if you’re trying to sell your content writing services, wait until you have several high-quality sample articles before pitching your services.
If you don’t have a portfolio to show potential employers, you might want to think about postponing your applications. Portfolios are necessary to market your products and services, so make sure you’ve compiled quality work before launching your freelancing career.
Keep in mind that creating your portfolio takes time and effort. You can offer your services for free to friends and colleagues or create a few pieces during your free time.
4. Manage Your Finances
Make sure that you’re fully prepared before you start taking on work. Start by setting your prices, creating invoice templates, establishing a financial plan, and keeping your finances organized. It’s easier to take on accounting early on rather than deal with your finances later.
Depending on the product or service you want to sell, freelancers often need to purchase equipment and materials to run their business. You’ll likely need a laptop, office supplies, insurance, and more. These costs can quickly add up, and it can put a dent in your savings if you purchase everything you need out of pocket. This is why many gig workers take out a 1000 or 500 dollar personal loan to help cover the cost of these expenses.
5. Find a Freelancing Platform
Many freelancers use freelance platforms to find gigs. Social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook groups can also be a great source of projects, but freelancing websites like Fiverr, SimplyHired, and Upwork, are more popular. These websites allow you to connect with clients who are looking for gig workers and jobs are always available.
Established freelancing websites implement policies that protect both the freelancer and the employer. It acts as an online contract where both you, the freelancer, and your client are obliged to stick to its terms and conditions.
6. Look for Clients
Once you’ve set up an account on several freelancing platforms, the next step is to look for clients. The first thing you need to do is to apply for gigs that you’re comfortable with. New freelancers build their reputation from scratch, so it’s important to ensure that your clients give you positive feedback.
As mentioned earlier, highlight your skills, experience, and expertise when applying for a job, and compose a cover letter that explains why you’re the best man for the gig. Several freelancing platforms recognize top-rated freelancers by giving them badges, charging lower fees, and giving them access to job offers tailored to their expertise.
7. Build Lasting Client Relationships
The next step after securing clients is to build a lasting relationship with them. The relationships you have with your clients are one of the most important aspects of being a successful freelancer. By providing quality work and maintaining positive connections, you’ll be more likely to secure more projects in the future.
Commit to setting deadlines, listening to instructions, and communicating with your clients effectively. Even though freelancers work flexible hours, it’s crucial that you remain available to your clients whenever they have questions, concerns, or requests.
The Bottom Line
Building a successful freelancing career is challenging, and it takes time, but it isn’t impossible. Focus on accomplishing each step and you’ll be able to jumpstart your career as a freelancer in no time!