Freelancing is a very common practice today. The practice has seen an advancement lately due to various reasons but three majorly. Firstly, the growth of technology and the internet which led to the emergence and growth of freelance platforms. Platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, Freelance writing and so on. However, freelancing isn’t just limited to the online ecosystem. There is also a large representation of offline freelancing.
Secondly, the increasing rate of unemployment and unavailability of white collar jobs around the globe today is another factor that has influenced the growth of freelancing. This has driven many young people and people of all ages to seek alternative source (s) of income. And lastly, freelancing seem to be a more affordable option for companies and individuals who have tasks to complete and may not be able to afford engaging a permanent staff, hence they will rather outsource.
What really is freelancing? In his best seller, ‘Unlocking the Secrets of Freelancing’, Julius describes freelancing as hiring out skills and content to a client who needs those skills and content in return for a fee. He further posits that one of the benefits of freelancing is that, freelancers can sell their skills and competencies to multiple clients at the same time and do not necessarily have a defined working schedule. Freelancers work on terms and conditions that they decide to agree to. You can grab a copy of his book using this link https://www.juliusomokhunu.com/usf
Furthermore, freelancing can be done as a full time engagement or as a side hustle. Hence, there are different kinds of freelancers. It’s your choice to make what kind of freelancing you want to do. But the aim is to start earning by hiring out your skill and expertise. Also to gradually build a stable income or increase your earning.
The issue however for many is the lack of idea about how exactly they can start out as a freelancer and be guaranteed of success. To avoid using the word ‘success’ loosely, what is meant in this context is to start getting jobs as a freelancer, and be earning some income doing so. It is also expected or can be taken for granted that you have your own personal goals for wanting to freelance. Either it is to add to your streams of income as a side hustle or it is to be your major source of income or livelihood.
Please note very importantly that there is no such thing as overnight success in any human endeavour. People succeed in/at a thing after investing time and effort in it.
Having said that, these three steps will help you take off and ultimately attain success in freelancing:
1. PICK A NICHE
A niche is an small and specific area of interest. Choosing a niche is your first step when considering freelancing. It is very important to pick a niche because employers of labour in the freelancing market prefer to hire a specialist than a generalist. Therefore, your chances of competing favourably begins with your ability to select an interest area you intend to build expertise in. Don’t be a jack of all trades, master of none.
Ask yourself, which area of skill or interest do you intend to pursue and become an expert in.
Notice the use of the words, skill or interest. Skill would mean something you already know how to do while for I interest you might not be skilled in it yet but you are willing to learn and improve. Just choose you a niche you are comfortable in. For me, my niche is strictly BUSINESS WRITING. You will not likely find me positioning as a relationship expert or as a fiction writer. Be a specialist at something.
2. BUILD A PORTFOLIO
A portfolio is a collection of your work. Prospective clients will ask to see what you have done before whenever you apply for a contract or gig. Clients do their best to establish that you are an expert in the job before giving you a chance. After all, they may not know you from ‘Adam’ before. Your portfolio therefore serves to give them insight into your expertise on the job.
My advice-let’s say your niche is business writing like mine, create a blog and start writing consistently, write articles and ask to be featured on blogs. Do it free if needs be. At the onset also, you could just simply use your social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn smartly as your portfolio. This you can do by writing and posting your content regularly.
3. BID FOR JOBS
Having done 1 & 2, your next line of action is to start bidding for jobs. Look for a site or platform related to your niche or one that has a diverse range of niches including yours (such as Upwork, freelancer, Fiverr etc.) and begin to apply for contracts and share your portfolio. There are also specific niche targeted platforms. For instance, if you do business writing, a niche based platform to source for jobs will be https://www.freelancewriting.com/jobs/
Note: you need to do these for a while before you get your first job so keep at it. I advise to set out at least 30 minutes daily to apply for jobs. And apply for at least 3 jobs; in a month you would have applied for 90. That way, your chances of getting at least 1 job is high. And from executing your first job, you are building your portfolio also.
Furthermore, if you do a good job your employers may be generous enough to leave you a good review, provide you a reference letter, use your services again or even refer you. Doing a good job has a lot of benefits than you can imagine, but importanly, it adds to your credibility and increases your chances of getting your next job.
Finally, keep developing yourself and improving your skill set and in that area you have chosen. Then, keep repeating step 2 & 3 and you are on your way to achieving whatever goals you have set for yourself. Alongside your goal, you can also aspire to overtime grow the practice into a profitable freelance business. At that stage, you likely have so many jobs at hand and will need, to hire other freelancer to work on some of the tasks.
Related article: https://www.theoptimaledge.com/how-to-write-winning-business-proposal/