Freelancers are often considered mavericks of the free market, those who are willing and able to provide their set of skills without being beholden to a boss. Technically they are simply those who run their own, humble small business, registered as a private entity. However, often they aren’t tied to the local environment as a tradesman firm might be. They can usually offer their services online, in a range of different fields. Some might be freelancers, some might be artists, some might be editors or proofreaders. There are a myriad of skills you can offer with full functionality online, and doing so can potentially help you achieve a worthwhile and lucrative alternate career.
However, establishing yourself is essential before you make this your mainstay of working effort. No one can simply offer their services online without a profile. This is why it’s important to build this in your own time, while you have more reliable means of income. Establishing yourself as a freelancer can be tough, but is more than possible if you work hard and act with professionalism. This guide can help you get started in the best manner possible:
It can be extremely worthwhile to build up your portfolio before you begin offering your services online. If you want to work as a freelance writer, you will likely be expected to deliver a sample of your own work before you can expect anyone to hire you for a job worth doing. For example, if you hope to become a freelance movie reviewer online, a sought-after and highly-competitive field, you need a branching list of quality, well received reviews at your back. Without this, you cannot be trusted to complete a job, and no one will publish your work even online. This means that building a portfolio is equal parts delivering a finish product and adding it to your library to show off, and working hard to refine your overall competency.
If you’re a graphic designer, you will need work to show. If you’re a music producer, you need work to show. Your portfolio will be essential to building jobs - so be sure to make this your first and foremost priority.
All freelancers need a form of financing to help them through. Some might simply need to purchase a new piece of equipment to stay competitive in their field, while others may need to support themselves a little while completing a job. This is why making freelance work a secondary consideration can help you to no end while you establish yourself. Then, when regular work starts coming in, you might transition slowly to the secondary career if you can support yourself. It might be that while working both jobs, researching the best personal loans to potentially help you move forward and stay competitive can be worthwhile, but only if you have guaranteed pay dates upcoming.
Freelancers can often go for periods without work. This is where smaller jobs might need to be taken on. You might decide to use a website like Upwork for freelance writing, or even stream your artistic efforts on YouTube or a platform like Twitch, as they both offer monetization. Over time the trickle of income will become much more reliable, and you might support yourself well because of it. It might even be worth opening a Patreon for your dedicated fans and returning customers, or generally focus on building clients that return to you again and again, always impressed by your professionalism and willing to give the job your heart and soul each time.
A word on professionalism. When we’re sat at our computers crafting work for either a subcontracting firm or a direct client, it’s easy to forget that this is a standard workday. This is an office space. This isn’t a separate, disconnected island. If you’re unprofessional, rude, hostile to a client who isn’t happy with your standard, or are too quick to burn bridges, word will get out about you. Testimonials are a powerful thing, and word can travel fast. Professionalism should be your utmost priority, because it can both give and take away important jobs you might have been wanting to engage with. You can achieve professionalism by learning:
Many modes of contact should be available to those inquisitive about the work you do, and those who currently have a pending job waiting for you to complete. You must have social media accounts, a website, an email address, and preferably an instant messaging contact such as Google Hangouts. While you can set your hours during the day, it’s important to stay available, keep those hours regular, and ensure that you are attentive to the needs of those asking for quotes or revisions. Learning how to format a professional email, or how to speak with brevity and respect can also go a long way in helping you seem professional and able.
If you’re hoping to make freelancing part of your life and brand established online, you better sweep through that online presence to ensure that nothing of your past postings can come back and haunt you. It might be that a quick google search of your name and location found easily on your professional website bring up your personal Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. These might contain content that you’d rather your clients didn’t see, such as you super drunk in Italy or posting strange political comments on videos. Purge your online presence, and ensure only the professional you remains online. This can save you a lot of trouble in the future, as well as missed jobs. Even if you’re not intending to become a freelancer, this is simply good advice.
No matter how excellent you are at what you do, your turnaround matters. You need to hit the marks you have promised, and ensure any changes to the due date is either compensated or deeply apologized for. Your turnaround is your bond and word, especially if you hope for clients to pay half at the start and half at the end. This will mark your reputation the most strongly in either way, so be sure to prioritize it correctly.
By following these tips, establishing yourself well is sure to be easy.