The freelance world is tough. When you’re a new freelancer, it is quite difficult to know where to start and there will be a hundred questions going over your head.
“Will I get a stable amount of income every month? Should I treat it like a business? Should I quit my day job? Where do I find clients?” These are a few of the many questions that plague freelancers.
Whether you work in software, application development, gaming, digital marketing, and others, you will need more than just technical expertise. Aside from your what you know in your chosen industry, these are other essentials that will help you succeed when you venture into freelancing.
Have your own website
Since freelancers get most of their work done online, a solid portfolio is important. Your portfolio acts as your digital resume for potential clients and employers to see. That way, they can decide if you have the credibility to work with them.
Beyond social media pages (which I find quite informal), you should have a website which is basically your real estate space online. Moreover, having a website seems more professional and put-together when it comes to showcasing yourself.
Here’s what your website portfolio should have:
- About page (which contains an overview and relevant experience)
- Evidence of previous projects
- Clients you have worked for
- Blog for industry-related articles
- Client testimonials
- Case studies
Having a website these days is really easy even without technical knowledge. For a basic website, you can now easily create a free website using a website builder without any coding know-how or monthly fees.
Know How to Network
No, this isn’t the kind of networking where you recruit people to join your networking company and sell the company’s products. The networking I mean here is to make connections with other freelancers, founders, and employees.
Now you may ask, how can a freelancer do that? Working as a freelancer means that you will mostly be working at home or at your own individual office space. Though you won’t have any workmates, take advantage of meet up groups and networking events in your area.
These people you meet might lead you to opportunities, projects, clients. You can also exchange new knowledge with your network and talk about the disruptions and innovations in your industry.
You can attend professional meet up events or meet ups that are within your interest. There are even meet up groups specifically for freelancers. You can find them through your chosen freelancer platform community forums, Meetup.com, or social media sites.
Perhaps the most important soft skill in freelancing is to be adaptable. As a freelancer, you will be dealing with different tasks. Whether it be your clients, your projects, work dynamics, forms of technology, or information, the ability to adapt is crucial to your success.
You will have different projects with various clients and each of them will have their own work requirements, personalities, and deadlines. It is up to you to adapt to their needs in order to get a good feedback and for them to convert into returning buyers.
Working in the digital industry is also fast-paced. New tools and softwares are often being released in the market and techniques in doing projects are constantly evolving. You should have the ability to adapt to new knowledge by self-studying frequently and learning how to work out new tools and strategies.
If you have the ability to adapt to different people, different work styles, new problems, rejections, projects, new knowledge, and so on, you will thrive in the freelancing industry.
Focus on Content Creation
Create, create, create! Unlike businesses which have a solid client base already, starting as freelancer could take a while for you to gather clients. To get yourself out there, you should create content often.
Set up your social media and website and regularly put up content there. Create a social media calendar and switch up your content with a variety of text posts, articles, photos, and videos. Post consistently and people will notice you.
It depends on your industry what your content will be. If you are a writer, a blogger, or service, then write consistently. If you are a graphic artist, create art and post them on your social media and related websites every week.
Here are a list of places where you can put your content:
- Your own website
- Instagram Feed / Instagram Stories
- Brand Facebook Page
- Facebook Groups
- Guest Blogging Sites
- Open Publishing Sites
- Linkedin Articles
- Pinterest Boards
- Email Newsletters
Leverage on your current online platforms so you can generate more followers and clients online. Be a great content creator and then be a great content marketer. Just start creating!
A lot of new freelancers often forget to create a contract for their clients. To protect yourself as well as your client, make sure to have them sign a contract in every project!
This helps if you are dealing with a client outside a web platform. Make sure to cover the necessary areas where you and your client are both protected in case any anomalies related to the project happens.
The contract should cover these aspects:
- Payment terms
- Confidentiality of both parties regarding the project
- Original work will be submitted
- Responsibilities covered by both parties
- Right to terminate services, if it serves you both
However, if the project gets too big with lots of money involved, it is better to hire a professional to write your contract. A professional contract writer will make sure there are no legal loopholes should any discrepancy in the project arises.