With remote work on the rise, people want to explore the idea of working for oneself and being their own boss. This remote work lifestyle is great for people looking for flexibility, particularly if you are looking for work-life balance while working from home.
Location-independent work is gaining popularity among people and this has increased an overall interest in freelancing. Starting a freelance business has become an attractive prospect for making a living, especially because it’s easier to become a freelancer than ever before.
When you start out new as a freelancer, it is important that you learn a specific set of skills such as knowing your niche, setting prices, finding clients, time management and more than anything, adapting a freelancer’s lifestyle and mindset.
Below are top tips for first-time freelancers that’ll teach you to be more strategic in your freelancing career by choosing the right clients and types of work you do.
1. KNOW YOUR NICHE
Being a beginner trying to break into the world of freelancing, one might be tempted to take any paid work you can get your hands on. But if you want a long standing and reputable freelancing career, you’ll need to be selective about the work you do and be niche-specific in offering your services.
To be a successful freelancer, you have to be a subject matter expert. When you specialize in a particular field, you become an authority in that industry. By knowing your niche, and becoming a specialist rather than a generalist will help you build up your reputation and rise to the top in a relatively short period of time.
2. DEFINE YOUR SERVICE OFFERINGS
Be clear on what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Once you’ve decided your niche, be specific about what services you are going to offer. This will help you brand yourself and be known for your services in your niche specific industry.
As a first time freelancer trying to find work and make money, try and resist the temptation to take on projects that aren’t getting you any closer to your goal of becoming an authority in your niche. Once you’ve defined your service offerings, stick to them! For example, if you want to be a UI/UX designer, then don’t consider offers for general graphic designing. This will only distract and delay you from making progress in your freelancing career.
3. DEFINE YOUR TARGET CLIENTS
Have you thought about who you’d ideally want to work with? What kind of clients do you imagine yourself working long term and contributing effectively? If you are having trouble answering these questions, start here –
Think about what problem you are solving with your services. What type of business needs this solution?
Are businesses looking for someone like you? Do some research on job demand and whether you’ll be a good fit.
What demographic trend can you notice about your target clients? For example, think gender, age, location, personal interests etc. Does this draw a parallel to your own personality type and interests?
4. CREATE HIGH QUALITY PORTFOLIO
The best way to land freelance clients in a short span of time is by having a portfolio. Preferably an online portfolio such as a personal website where you can showcase all your past work, client testimonials, and display your contact information so clients can get in touch with you.
Having a website is also beneficial in displaying all your services and pricing. If a potential client visits your website hoping to see if you’ll be a good fit for their business or not, the information on your website will either make or break the deal. So take your time to build your website, and let it showcase the best version of you and work.
5. START FREELANCING BEFORE QUITTING
One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make is that they don’t experiment enough before taking the plunge. It is highly recommended that you take time to create your website, build your personal brand and create an impressive portfolio before quitting your day job.
Also, it’s a good idea to have a few steady clients on your roster before cutting your sole source of income. Once you’ve established a workflow, understood remote work tools and apps, set up your work from home office and have a reliable source of income, you can think of quitting and slowly transition into working as a full time freelancer.
6. LEVERAGE YOUR EXISTING NETWORK
Networking forms the basis of growing your freelance business. This is one of the most effective ways of landing high quality clients and increasing your leads. Reach out to friends and family first. Request them to make introductions. Maybe you know someone from college who is into the same industry as you. Get in touch with him/her. You never know whose recommendation will make a difference in getting a higher response and close rates.
7. WORK ON YOUR PITCH
Master the art of pitching your freelance business, this means understand how to create stunning business proposals, slide presentations, webinars etc. Some tips for an impressive pitch are –
Research the company you are pitching your proposal to.
Understand their needs and how they’d benefit from your services
Provide up front value in the form of insightful recommendations
Focus on building rapport and strengthening client relationship
8. COLLABORATE WITH INFLUENCERS
Having a digital footprint is essential for a successful freelancer. Having a website, blog where you create content related to your niche is one way to have a digital presence. Another is by collaborating with influencers from your industry – you could get in touch with them and co-write a book, record a podcast, or write a guest blog post on their website. This will introduce you to a whole new audience and potentially help you land some high paying clients.
Looking for more freelance resources? Here are some below –