Job At The Company Didn't Work Out? Here's How You Can Start Your Freelancing Career
Looking to get back on your feet? Freelancing might just be the answer for you. Recently, even the best in the workforce have been victims of the mass layoffs going on in big companies. Companies ranging from Google to Microsoft and even eBay have announced layoffs.
As a result, many people have lost not only their jobs, but also a path for their future careers. Many are getting ready to shift their careers, while others are just looking for jobs that will help them survive this crisis. If you're in the same situation and looking for a way out, freelancing might be the solution you've been looking for.
While in the past, freelancing was rarely a way out for the workforce, today things are a lot different. Although it is still true that freelancing is not given enough credit in society, more and more people are getting on board and trying their hand at it.
If you are trying to resurrect your career and your phone is rarely ringing, then freelancing is an excellent option for you. Find out how you can start your freelancing career.
Have An Open Mind
The most important part of starting a freelancing career is to have an open mind. Having an open mind and a flexible thought process can help you get where you want faster, whether it's about the types of projects you get to work on or the clients you attract.
Many freelancers make this mistake even before starting their career; they narrow down their choices to a tee, often stemming from a lack of experience and a rose-tinted perception of freelancing. It is true that freelancing can give you freedom and autonomy, but this liberty comes with responsibility. So, keeping an open mind can definitely take you to some exciting places in your career.
It is a common misconception that freelancers often have the time of their lives working on their own and often take liberties with their daily routines. Although freedom is part of the job, doing things as you-please is a highly detrimental misconception.
Starting your journey as a freelancer requires a person to be particular and disciplined, especially with regard to their daily routine. Many people assume that being a freelancer is all about working for a few hours, sleeping in till noon, and calling it a day when a friend calls them out for a drink. However, reality cannot be further from the truth.
Surely things get easier once you have curated a reliable client base, but in the beginning, it is imperative that you build healthy working habits.
Having a set time when you start your day and also setting up an official space for yourself. Making lists and taking calculated breaks can help you structure your day better. You can also look up time management methods that work for you, like the Pomodoro method.
Creating A Portfolio & Learn How To Pitch
The biggest part of starting a freelance journey is creating your portfolio. A portfolio, for those who are unfamiliar, is a curated collection of your best work that you can use as a professional tool to demonstrate your skills and expertise to potential clients.
These simple displays of your expertise can land you your very first clients. People who want to hire you for your skills most of the time will ask you for your portfolio, especially at the beginning of your career. However, it is nothing to fret over. Consider this step to be a required action, similar to showing your clients your resume, but instead of an awkward column on your hobbies, it is filled with projects.
Many people waste their time curating a top-notch website to woo their clients, but for beginners, nobody is expecting them to have everything top-notch, only that they have the skills to complete the job. So, a simple Google Drive folder will do; just make sure that it is well put together and displays some of your best work. Later on, as you climb the ladder, you can invest in having an expensive website created in your name.
Another part of this section is that you can pitch "spec" projects to the client if you think a portfolio won’t get you the job. "Spec" or "speculative" projects are when you conjure up an imaginary brief and come up with a fictional project that you have not curated for any particular client, like coming up with an ad campaign with a brief you have written up yourself.
Know Your Worth, Haggle Like A Desi Mom & Avoid Work For Exposure
Knowing your worth, just like knowing your worth in your personal life, can drastically change the game in your professional life. Starting a freelance career requires you to put a price on your service. So, it is important to know your worth, which should neither be under nor over your value.
To measure your worth, the best way is to start by asking your client for an hourly rate that both you and they can feel comfortable with. Then track how long it takes you to get a job done with tools like Toggle. Now, after a few jobs, you’ll have a better idea of how much time it takes for you to complete a project, according to which you can switch up your prices.
Another part of this bargain is to learn how to negotiate with your clients. While many clients will either accept your offer immediately or even reject your prices according to their needs, there will always be some who try to haggle and get out of paying you your full price. At times like this, it is important for you to get into your "desi mom" mindset and negotiate the deal.
Also, try to avoid work for "exposure." In the beginning, you might get offers that tell you they will offer you exposure in exchange for your skill, but remember your worth and avoid such clients because, at the end of the day, this is your business and your skill is your product, which can’t be sold for exposure, can it?
Check Every Legal Box
Even though you are just an individual, you are still a business offering your services in exchange for money, so complying with the laws in your area surrounding your services is essential. While in the beginning, this might not be an issue, later on, when you start getting more and more clients, having your legal forms and permits in order will come in handy.
Don’t forget that you also need to organise your freelancer contracts. Yes, you need contracts. Freelancer contracts can save you from wasting your resources on scams and non-payers. When you get into a job with a client, whether it be a company or an individual buyer, having a legally binding contract can save you from many bad deals. In case things go wrong, you can recover your money.
Always Be Receptive To Feedback And Request Referrals
A big part of being a freelancer is rewriting your resume. Most time then not, clients have their own ideas and they communicate them when things don’t look the way they want them to. So, at that point, being open to feedback and redoing the parts they want can be a significant part of the job. Although if the client asks for too many revisions, charging more is always a good option.
Next up, at the end of every project, make it a habit to ask for referrals from your clients. Most freelancers get a good chunk of their business from referrals. Whether it's asking for new contacts or getting a review on your website, referrals can definitely increase your reach and give your brand a trusted label.
Improve Your Productivity With AI And Upskill On A Regular Basis
Going with the times, handing over some part of your job to an AI (artificial intelligence) might not be a bad idea. For example, if you are someone who struggles with communicating effectively with your clients, you can access an AI on the internet to get a specific message made to overcome your difficulties. Or if you want to give your projects a visual representation, you can enlist the help of AI, which can help you turn your ideas into art.
Besides this, upskilling your current prowess is also an important part of staying on top as a freelancer. Getting involved in new programmes and learning new skills that will complement your field will only help you to increase your expertise and, eventually, your prices.
Popular Freelancing Platforms
Some popular sites for freelancers are Simply Hired, CareerBuilder, FlexJobs, GitHub Jobs, If You Could Jobs, ProBlogger, Job Board, Fiverr, Toptal, Jooble, Freelancer.com, Upwork, and Guru. But you can also look for niche-specific sites like platforms for writers, designers, developers, assistants, and more.
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