Let's face it. A job can be highly demanding at times. Considering all the nuances of work and how important work-life balance has become over the years — choosing the right kind of career that allows financial as well as social freedom is crucial. There are many questions that arise when we embark on the journey to build our careers, and 'Freelancing' as a career option seems like an answer to most of them, if not all.
There are perks that come with everything in this universe. Freelancing is no different. The flexibility, the freedom and the adrenaline push that something as spontaneous as freelancing gives to an individual are second to none.
The freedom to the plugin at your own convenience at any time, anywhere is a major influencer, as it opens up a plethora of possibilities for individuals. There are perks, there are golden nuggets, indeed. But, then just when you were diving into the pros associated with the freelance mode — the question takes over: How to start as a freelancer?
Well, we've got the answers. Get your notebook, grab the pen or simply bookmark this — as this will be the only manual you'll ever need to start as a freelancer in 2022. Read on!
How to Start as a Freelancer?
Identify Your Purpose — Your Calling
What makes you freelance in the first place? Is it just another gig generating machine for you, something that you want to get into for the sheer experience or considering freelancing as the replacement for your existing job or business?
No matter what the questions are, the answer lies in the freedom that comes with 'freelancing' as a career, overall. The freedom of choice is what makes this appealing, and we are sure you love both — freedom and the choices.
What Can I Do Better Than Others — My Offering & Services?
Identify your skills. Discover what you can do better than others. Are you good with writing, or you've got a great voice? Figure out what works well for you — something that can be converted into a service.
Turning your skills into a marketable service is the stepping stone towards a freelancing career that you can be proud of. Understand the pain points of your prospective clients, what daunts them and how you can make a difference?
It is integral to understand that clients look for solutions to their existing problems, or challenges that they face in their business. A successful freelancer often steps into the shoes of his/her client to identify the hurdles and then comes up with a solution to address the same. How you address the issue, and what you offer — define your journey in this space. A brief description, a CV and a freelancer profile are some prerequisites before you crack onto the pricing.
Who Needs Me? It Is Time I Find My Target Audience
"Phew. I've got a skill that I can market and sell, but… to whom?"
You have to ask yourself questions, in order to get the answers right. Now that you've got a skill that you can offer, it is important to identify the potential fit for your service. Your target audience will be instrumental in your journey as a freelancer. Your target market may have the same set of problems or identical characteristics confined to a specific industry — things that are important to get hold of, before embarking on the journey.
I Am Everywhere — Reach Out to Your Prospective Clients
You're good at something? Great. But, is that enough? No. When you're new to the freelancing arena — you've to be vocal about your services and the positioning statement to top it all.
Getting your first few adaptors can be tough, clients who trust you and work with you. However, freelancers can reach out to potential clients through a number of channels, whether it be the generic freelance posting platforms, networks and the 'word of mouth' instrument or the traditional, cold outreach.
Everyone has their own mantras that work for them. As a beginner, the onus rests upon you to find yours.
It Is Time When I Ace the Price — Getting Your Pricing Right
Service — sorted. Target Market — done! What's next? Well, it is time we start talking about the money in the bank, lol!
There are brackets, categories and market conditions that may influence your pricing structure, but the key is to analyse, adapt and ace — in the end. Analyse what other freelancers are charging for similar kinds of service, be adaptive with your pricing and ace the game with a pricing structure that helps you reap the profits without compromising on the flexibility.
Your pricing may depend on various factors, including the likes of experience, industry, project timeline, complexity, list of deliverables, urgency as well as the location that you're operating.
There are no formulas here. No set of rules or norms that confine you to a specific pricing structure. Thus, it is better to not overthink it and start with a price that you're comfortable with. There's no bar for your pricing and growth — as you can always modify it in the future, so getting started is the key.
Flaunt Your Skills — Assembling a Lucrative Portfolio
They say you're as good as your work. Rightly so, a great portfolio works wonders for your profile and career as a whole. An ideal portfolio showcases your work and your achievements and signifies the quality of your work and the things you're capable of.
Your portfolio should speak about your expertise, the kind of work you do and what the client can expect if he/she works with you. A strong portfolio is the culmination of case studies, testimonials, mockups and everything that concretes the superior work quality of the freelancer. Now, when you know it all — start flaunting.
What’s Better Than a Great Proposal?
When you know about your abilities, skills and what you can do — feel free to chalk things out and come up with an intriguing proposal that they can't refuse or wouldn't want to. The right kind of proposal can land you that gig of your dreams, so it is time you be considerate about it.
An ideal proposal also duplicates as a sales or offers a copy of your services, and hence, a lot of effort should go into it. The key is to establish a friendly tone without losing professionalism and your proposal needs to do just that, again and again.
The Currency of Relationships Ft. The Clients
As freelancers, your clients are your livelihood. They are whom you do business with, the ones who'll endorse you and be with you in the long run. It goes without saying, a positive relationship with your client is what would make or break you in the sector. While a good & healthy relationship would mean recurring business opportunities and great referrals, a negative reputation can quickly make you irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Things to Keep In Mind While Working as a Freelancer
It is important to keep the following in mind while working as a freelancer:
Nothing Beats Great Work, Ever
Good work outlasts everything else. Understanding clients' problems and solving them with your services goes a long way in establishing a long term relationship between both parties.
Communicating Is the Key
Communication is a powerful medium to establish long-lasting business relationships and make clients hold on to you for the future as well.
Consistency Above Everything Else
On-time delivery and uniform consistency go a long way in building trust so that clients can count on you for the future as well.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
Going out of your way to produce excellent work doesn't just benefit the client but also affirms your position as a great asset to any team, company or business.
With all of the above being mentioned, freelancing continues to be relevant and is expected to grow at an unprecedented pace in 2022 as well. However, considering all of it — as an individual, the ball is in your court. It is up to you to decide how you want your career to shape amidst all the competition and demand. Freelancing is here to stay, and it is not an option. It is a decision. An integral one.
Which work is best for beginner freelancers?
Bookkeepers, Social media managers, Graphic designers, Photographers / Videographers, and Video editors are some of the most in-demand work beginner freelancers can get into.
How can a freelancer start with no experience?
Create an outstanding portfolio, get the pricing right, reach out to clients, use a freelance platform to find gigs, and build a positive relationship with your clients.
Is freelancing a good option for beginners?
Freelancing is a great career option for beginners but finding gigs in the first few months or years can be difficult.