Freelancing Basics: Here’s What Every Freelancer Needs
Freelancing is your entry point to the new era of work — the kind of work where there are no geographical boundaries, no commute, and no fixed time frames for work, and there are no 9 to 6 jobs, and there’s no boss looking over your shoulders.
According to Dana Ardi of Fast Company, everything we all knew about the workplace is already outdated.
The talent pool — your fellow peers — has already grown. Marketing automation, the presence of marketplaces, a global talent pool available on the human cloud, and projects are all done online today.
That’s where your freelancing world lies. Online is where the market is (because offline eventually gets online), and remote collaboration will be the new norm.
As such, what you needed just about10 years ago to succeed with freelancing has changed. What you need today with freelancing basics is different, and is changing.
Here’s what you need as a freelancer:
A rich portfolio
You can’t even get started as a freelancer without a portfolio and case studies. The only way you can communicate your real value and the kind of impact your work brings is through your portfolio. Since most of your pitching and dealing is virtual and since your client can’t see you in person most of the time, your work should speak for itself.
Your portfolio, however, doesn’t come about just because you decide to freelance. You need to do some real work for that portfolio to take birth.
If you are just starting out and if you are still looking for your first gig, don’t get too hung up over a “real” portfolio. Instead, start doing work on your own and create your portfolio to begin with.
- If you are a writer, pick up subjects you are most confident about and write up a few posts/articles and publish them on your blog.
- If you are a web designer/developer, create a few websites or landing pages and file those in.
Capacity to do more than freelancing
If you were a web designer, and if you were to apply for a job and get it, you’d do just “web designing” for as long as you had that job. That applies to writers, translators, virtual assistants, illustrators, graphic designers, and pretty much all genres of freelancing.
But for real “freelancing”, it’s not just the technical skill (whatever you are good at) that’s important. It’s also your ability to manage clients, vendors (if any), keeping books, doing odd things, and marketing.
Ability to think on your feet
Presence of mind is a necessary skill for most jobs. For freelancing, it’s a savior. You’d constantly need to keep your eyes, mind, and soul open for opportunities.
You’d need to do the extra work of analyzing opportunities as they come, and be smart enough to say no. You’d need to get a feel for clients and recognize “non-opportunities” as they come by.
Master of almost everything
In the due course of work, you’ll find yourself venturing out into different domains. If you were a freelance digital marketer, for instance, you’d have to write, setup ads on Google Adwords, work with web developers to help tweak clients’ websites for conversion rate optimization, do social media management, and also manage email marketing.
While you are at it, you’d have to work with numerous tools, project collaboration software, Google Analytics, Google Tag manager, web hosting accounts, and a lot more.
Writers will have to code. Designers will have to write [http://blog.webflow.com/4-reasons-designers-should-write]. Everyone has to sell.
Freelancers have to be great at everything.
Originally published at peerhustle.com on August 11, 2015.