The world of work is changing. Today, you no longer have to work the 9-to-5 lifestyle to earn a reliable income, you can also consider making money on your own terms, as a freelancer.
Freelancers don’t work for any specific company. Instead, these professionals sell their specialist services to a multitude of different clients, often through specific website forums and job pages. Freelancers also get a lot of their clients through word of mouth – provided that they do their job well.
Life as a freelancer can be very attractive, particularly if you like the idea of choosing your own hours and being able to decide what someone pays for your time. However, it takes time to make a success out of your freelancer lifestyle. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. You’ll Need to Invest in Yourself
The first thing you’ll need to know is that becoming a freelancer is a lot like opening up your own business. In other words, you’ll need to decide that you’re going to solve a problem for a very specific clientele, and then invest in yourself so that you have the tools and equipment required to do your job.
The investment you make might be small – such as paying for a new computer or laptop, or it may be much bigger depending on the nature of your freelance career.
Speak to an expert about your options regarding loans. Or at visit comparison sites such as Readies.co.uk as while a business loan may be right for some freelancers, others will be able to get by with a personal loan.
2. Become a Specialist
If you’re a freelancer in a vast space, then you might decide to keep your target audience as broad as possible too, so that you can reach as many potential clients as possible. However, by choosing a specific niche, you improve your chances of becoming a specialist in your field.
After you’ve dedicated enough time and effort to increase your credibility in that space, you’ll be able to start charging “specialist” prices for your services too.
For instance, instead of just saying you’re a graphic designer, let people know that you specifically specialize in responsive, mobile-ready websites.
3. Choose Your Pricing
Deciding what you’re going to charge for your services is one of the toughest challenges you’ll face as a freelancer. If you get greedy and charge too much, then you’ll have a hard time attracting customers – particularly at the beginning of your career when you haven’t got much evidence to prove your skills.
On the other hand, if you charge too little, then you could be inadvertently telling your customers that you’re not worth as much as they thought.
The best way to get the balance right is to do your research. Find out what some of the cheapest and most expensive freelancers in your area are charging and try to find your perfect price somewhere between those two options.
4. Make the Most of Your Network
The concept of “who you know” being more important than what you know certainly applies in the freelancer marketplace. Your network will have a huge part to play in getting your projects when you’re first getting started, particularly if you can rely on prior customers to give you reviews and testimonials on sites like LinkedIn.
Take advantage of every opportunity you can find to grow your network. This could mean deliberately taking time out, so you can go to conferences in your chosen niche and exchange your details with other experts in your space. Alternatively, it could just mean emailing people online.
5. Creating a Quality Portfolio Site
It’s safe to say that one of the best ways you can show off your skills and bring more clients your way, is by building a strong website where you can share a portfolio of your work. A professional-quality website will help you to be taken seriously as a freelancer by introducing people to what you can do and providing information on how potential clients might be able to find you.
If you don’t have a lot of prior on-the-job experience, a portfolio will really help you to get the attention and consideration you deserve.
6. Don’t Quit Your Day Job Straight Away
Finally, no matter how confident you feel, make sure that you’re cautious with your freelancing decisions. Start exploring your niche while you’re still in your day job, so you don’t have to worry too much about finding enough money to pay the bills straight away.
When you start to create a roster of steady clients and cash, then you can begin to think about becoming a freelancer full-time.