8 Beginner-Friendly Ways to Become a Successful Freelancer
Freelancing or working from home or working online (no matter how you want to address it), is the most demanding job for youngsters these days for some obvious reasons. Since a freelancer has the power to manage his/her work time and there is no commanding characters to tell him/her what to do or not, plus a good amount of money they get after each project, no wonder the number of freelancers is multiplying rapidly not only in Bangladesh but worldwide.
So if you have the passion to achieve something great or if you want to earn money from home without hassling around, then freelancing is a great career option for you.
But don’t have any clue how to start it off?
Then not to worry. This article is specially designed for beginners to learn the definition of freelancing, its advantages, and drawbacks, and what are necessary steps to take to become a successful freelancer.
Definition of a Freelancer
A freelancer is a self-employed person who works for different clients at the same time but is not associated with any organization or company directly. Freelancers offer their services to national and international clients at a competitive price. And when the work is done, the communication between them is over. In some cases, if a client is contented with your previous works, he/she may hire you for other projects in the future.
The freelancer definitely needs lots of patience, hard work, and persistence. The bitter truth of this industry is you may get rejections from time to time even if you are experienced enough in your niche, therefore you need to stay strong and focus on enhancing your skills more to catch the attention of the clients.
If you have a job already and want to quit it and start freelancing to earn more money than your current income, then there are various freelancing websites like Upwork, Fiver, Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour, SEOClerks, Toptal.com, Guru.com, Simply Hired where a newbie or an experienced freelancer can open a free or paid account and sell their service to buyers. But my suggestion would be to start freelancing as your side income. As a newcomer, it’s quite difficult to convince a client to hire you in the first place, since you have no past history of works or testimonials. So both should be given equal importance until you become a professional freelancer in your niche to be able to quit that 9 to 5 job.
Advantages of Becoming a Freelancer
(1) The biggest benefit of becoming a freelancer is that you will be able to choose works according to your skill.
(2) You have the power to control your work hour. If you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything to do, simply don’t receive projects from clients. Or if you are not comfortable working in the early morning, then work at noon or at night or whenever suits you.
(3) Since you will work with lots of clients after a few months of starting the freelancing career, not only you will gather a combination of good and bad experiences, but it will also open so many doors of advantages that you never imagined.
(4) You have the ability to choose whom you work for. If a client behaves badly with you or doesn’t want to value your hard work, then you have the proper right to leave that person’s project and none will be there to charge you.
(1) Uncertainty of getting work is a major drawback in this field. Somedays there are hundreds of projects to finish that you can barely breathe or eat, other days you will hardly find a client to work with.
(2) As your goal is to become a successful freelancer, you should maintain a balanced and disciplined lifestyle. Clients will give you a deadline to submit a project and your duty is to deliver it on time. If you miss the delivery time, most likely the client will give you a bad review. It will affect your reputation on freelancing websites and you will find it hard to get another client in the future.
(3) It’s difficult to get the first gig on the freelancing marketplace with no experience and testimonials. It takes months to become stable, but once you settled and delivered quality work for clients, it is only a matter of time to become a familiar face in this freelancing world.
8 Useful Steps to Become a Freelancer
So, you have made up your mind to be a victorious freelancer in the upcoming days. To help you cross this road, I have included 9 beginner-friendly steps in this article to lay out how you should start your freelancing journey with zero experience.
Determine a Niche to Sell
Choosing a niche is so crucial for a freelancer. It’s not logical to jump to freelancing websites at the early stage without determining what skill you want to sell. So think wisely and research before selecting a niche.
Pick demanding niches, like Web Designing, Copywriting, Data Analysis, Graphic Designing. Whatever you decide to work with, make sure it is hot in the job market.
Increase Efficiency in the Niche You Have Chosen
Next, enhance your freelancing skill in that particular niche. Freelancing is all about selling your skill and without acquiring proper skills, you will not grow in this competitive job sector. If you have decided to sell graphic designing services at Upwork, you have to master it. Because there are hundreds of professionals in this competitive job place who have excellent knowledge and good work history of graphic designing and you will lose jobs to them.
So why should clients hire you for their projects and not them?
Complicated question; but the answer is quite simple. Gather excellent knowledge like them and offer services at lower prices.
For those who are new to this industry and are passionate about it, there are various courses (paid or free) for freelancing skills for making them ready to handle a client. I would suggest going for free courses and watching youtube videos to learn the basics. Once you get accustomed to your niche and tools, you can do some paid courses to show clients that you are a professional and have enough knowledge about your works.
Emphasize Building an Online Portfolio
An online portfolio is like a CV where you exhibit your best works to the clients. Everyone appreciates a well-established portfolio. Not only do clients get an impression about you and your earlier works, but they also decide whether they should hire you or not. Hence, building an online portfolio is a must for beginner freelancers.
Making an online portfolio is pretty nerve-wracking for freshers as their freelancing career depends on it. To make an eye-catching portfolio of works history, my recommendation would be to join groups of different social sites to know what your fellow competitors are posting and sharing. Be active on those groups and comment relevantly and logically on every post. Give suggestions to the group members, politely tell them you are a beginner and want to do their few projects for free of cost to gather some experiences. And after completion, don’t be shy to ask for testimonials. Because most of the time they happily provide a testimonial for you.
Select a Platform to Work with Clients
Now that you have finalized a niche, gathered enough knowledge and efficiency about it, and made an excellent online portfolio to sell your service, it’s high time to find clients. There are multiple websites for freelancers like Upwork, Fiver, PeoplePerHour where a buyer posts about a job, and if the job post matches with a freelancer’s niche, he/she sent his/her resume along with a cover letter explaining why the buyer should hire him/her.
These websites come to both free and paid versions. Though paid versions offer more opportunities than the free versions, for a beginner, it is wise to open a free account to understand how all these things work. And as time goes by, switch to a paid account to receive additional benefits.
Build a Noticeable Profile
After deciding which freelancing marketplace will be the best option for you and opening an account, you should make a profile to grab the attention of clients. Building a rich portfolio is a required task for each freelancer; because when the clients receive applications from you, they surely will visit your profile to make sure that you are trustworthy enough to handle their projects. And if they like the profile and sample works, they will knock and prepare a schedule for an interview.
That’s why, fill up all the questions sensibly given on the website like hourly rate, work hour, etc, add name and a formal photo of yours, attach past/recent works, samples, and testimonials (if you have any) to earn conviction from the potential clients.
Search for Work
Before finding projects on websites like Upwork, Fiver, Freelancer.com, some tricks should be remembered.
As a newcomer, always focus to keep the buyer satisfied with your works. Worrying only about money will be the biggest hindrance to your freelancing career growth. Always deliver your best work. Pick those projects similar to your niche and you are confident enough to complete them on time. Don’t apply projects that you are unsure about how to do it. Remember, only delivering qualifying work within the deadline will help you to survive in these competitive marketplaces.
And whenever you apply for a certain project, attach an impactful cover letter to explain why they should hire you. Provide samples (if necessary) and highlight your experience and skills to make yourself a worthy candidate.
Make Yourself Ready to Get Lots of Rejections
If you are thinking to get lots of projects on the very first day, you surely are daydreaming! Sad but true that you need to prepare yourself to hear “no” many times, especially when you are just started to work. Clients usually need and trust experienced freelancers to hand over the project as quickly as possible. That’s why beginner freelancers need more time to prove themselves competent.
I know it’s frustrating not to get hired, but would be foolish if you run away from the failure. Stick with what you are doing, learn new things every day to grow, give time and deliver the best work to be a better version of yourself.
Create a Healthy Relationship with Clients to Grab More Opportunities
As I mentioned earlier about focusing on making a strong relationship with clients if you want stability in this sector. Because a contented client will offer you projects consistently or will remember your name after finishing a project since he/she develops some sort of trust in you.
There is practically no guidance on this subject. Sometimes you serve your best and the clients are pleased by your work, but never knock or message you for further projects. Well, it totally depends on them. So don’t be disheartened if they don’t want to work with you. Give your full potential and the right client will offer you the right deal.