Getting into freelancing is easy. All you need to do is write up your resume, sign up at online freelancing marketplace Freelancer.com, and that's it. You're on your way to building a career, on your own terms.
There are some things that can make your freelancing start a lot easier however. As a freelancer, you should be able to find work. You should be able to work without any hitches. You should have no problems getting paid. And you should not have to worry about getting more work. Here's a list of things that can make your initial foray into the world of freelancing a smooth one.
A Way to Work
One of the best freelancing perks is getting to work wherever and whenever you want. Still, you'll need a computer, a fast (or at least fast enough) Internet connection, and a place to work. You can create your own productive workspace at home, or you can find a place to work away from home, such as a coffee shop or coworking space. It really doesn't matter how, when, or where you work – all that matters is that you're able to.
Sure, your resume gives employers a list of all the things you can do, but sometimes, it's more effective to actually show them what you can do. This is why it's a good idea to have a portfolio in conjunction with your resume. In it, you should put together your most successful and most recent projects. A portfolio is essentially a compilation of your best work.
A Website or Blog
When you're working as a freelancer, your reputation has a huge impact on your ability to get jobs. Employers need to know you can be trusted with the work, and you are capable of doing the project. Having a website or blog can help with that. If you're a writer, a blog will show off your talent in writing. If you're a graphic artist, a website can help you display samples of your work.
You don't really need a fancy homepage. You can make one using free blogging sites like Blogger and Wordpress. What's important is that you have a home on the Web that can show potential employers who you are, and in turn help you build your freelancer reputation.
When you go into freelancing, you should already have an idea of what you're good at. Listing down your core skills will help you zone in on the exact kind of job that you're looking for.
You might also have other skills that you haven't tried exploring. For example, if you're a software developer but you like blogging about your programming projects, you might want to consider including technical writing and blogging in your list of skills. This way, you have more job options.
Your Set Rate
You should have a set rate in mind before you start bidding on jobs. Do your research before jumping into the first job listing you find. Search the Web for similar job listings and check the bids to find out what the industry rate is. Then take your experience into consideration and you'll eventually arrive at your own rate. If you're gunning for jobs with hourly rates, consider the workload and the time set by the employer before coming up with your rate.
A Way to Get Paid
Before applying to or accepting a job, you need a way to get paid, of course. You can set up an account with an online payments system like Paypal or Skrill, or at the very least, you should have a bank account where payments to you can be made.
A Way to Communicate with Clients
You need to be in touch with your clients during the entire project cycle, from bidding down to payment. You may want to discuss an idea that wasn't in the project brief, or re-negotiate the project fee. You may have to ask for a deadline extension, or follow up on payment. You'll need a way to communicate with your clients at all times, like the Freelancer Desktop and Mobile apps, which let you chat with clients and even track your hours and create invoices.
Your Own Marketing Plan
To keep the jobs coming, you will need your own marketing plan. Don't shy away from self-promotion – getting the word out about what you offer is essential in sustaining your freelance earnings.
Print out business cards so you can tell people you meet about your services. On top of your website or blog, keeping some social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter will help a lot too. Use them to promote your portfolio, as well as reach out to the people in your industry. Networking also isn't a thing of the past. You can open yourself up to referrals by attending events with other freelancers, or simply making friends at your local coworking space.
You'll find all of these essential when you start your freelancing career. Don't be overwhelmed by all the things you have to do. Take it a day at a time, and the jobs will come. Good luck!