How to Be a Freelancer in 5 easy steps


This article is a response to Junel Hans’ post on Upwork Freelancers Philippines.

There’s no one-size-fits-all path when it comes to starting your own freelance business. However, this post will help you be the work-from-home freelancer you want to become.

In a nutshell, the first step to getting clients is to make them aware that you’re available to work for them. The second step is to get in front of the right people who will hire you.

The internet is a crowded place. There’s so much information available to the average business person that it can be overwhelming to sort through what’s worth your time and what’s not. If you’re starting and looking to get started with a new project as a freelancer, you may be wondering where to turn. The good news is that there are plenty of freelance opportunities out there for you to start and build a thriving business. But first, you’ll need to know what you’re doing before you can begin. I’ve written this article to help you figure out how to build your profile as a freelancer.

1. Figure out what you’re good at

As a freelancer, your success will be directly related to your ability to do what you’re best at. For example, if you’re a designer, you might be better at design than you are at writing. If you’re a writer, you might be better at writing than designing. Once you know what you’re good at, you can start building a portfolio and finding work that you’re passionate about.

Here is a shortlist of skills that you can consider: 

  • Design
  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Video editing
  • App development
  • Graphic design

As you build your portfolio, you’ll want to focus on your best skills. This will make it easier for potential clients to see that you’re the right person for the job.

2. Identify the Problem that businesses in your niche have

If you’re new to freelancing, it’s a good idea to get started by identifying a problem that you can solve for a client. There are several ways that you can go about this. For example, you can use Google to search for “What are some problems my clients in (type of business) have?” You can also use your social media channels to ask your friends and followers about their problems in their business. Once you have an idea of your clients’ potential problems, start brainstorming how you can offer your services as THE SOLUTION.

 Let’s use content writing as an example. Content writing is in demand. If you’re a freelance content writer, you could write for a website, a blog, or a business. Many businesses need content for their websites. Some of these businesses might be:

  • Magazine publishers
  • Blog publishers
  • Event promoters
  • Educational institutions
  • Financial institutions
  • Marketing firms

The more businesses you can find that require content, the more opportunities you’ll have to find work.

Another example is the virtual assistant. 

Virtual assistants are the modern-day equivalent of secretaries. They can help business owners with administrative tasks like bookkeeping, payroll, sending emails, planning events, conducting research, and customer service.

3. Find a freelancing platform where you can sell your services

Once you have a problem in mind that you’re good at solving, you can start brainstorming ways to sell your services; this is where freelancing platforms come in handy. These are the website that allows you to sell your services to clients.

You’ll want to select an adaptable freelancing platform that provides the tools you need to identify and market your services. It doesn’t matter if you choose one or all. What matters is that you have a platform from which to advertise and sell your services.

Here are a few of the best freelance platforms to get started with:

Fiverr is a great place to start. You can sell your services for $5 or $10. You can sell anything from designing logos, writing or video editing.

Upwork is another excellent freelance platform. You can sell your services for $10 or $20 per hour. There are several categories to choose from, including writing, graphic design, photography, and programming.

99designs – 99Designs is a platform to sell your services for $99. This platform is perfect for graphic designers, writers, and web developers.

Since you’re only starting, I’d recommend going with Fiverr. You can get a feel for what it’s like to sell your services and find out if you’re good at it. You can then decide if you want to continue with the platform or move on to another one.

4. Start building your freelance portfolio

A freelancer portfolio is not your typical resume. It should be brief, simple, and easy to read. Also, remember that you are competing with thousands of freelancers in your given niche. Therefore, your profile needs to BE DIFFERENT

In Upwork, for example, when a client searches for a freelancer, they are given a list. In this list, they can see your name, your photo, a few other information (like your rate, badge, etc.), and the most critical part – the first two lines of your profile description. The first two lines will grab the client’s attention, so do not start it with “Hi. My name is Gino, and I’m a customer service expert.” This is boring, irrelevant, and a sure way to get ignored by the client. 

If you want to learn how to design your Upwork profile properly, watch this video.

 4. Market yourself 

The best way to market yourself is to use your services. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can create a few graphics and then place them on your Upwork profile. You can also put them on your social media accounts and anywhere else you can think of. 

This is the best way to promote yourself because it will help you create a portfolio. However, it’s important to remember that this will take much time. You should also keep in mind that it’s much easier to promote yourself on social media than on Upwork.

How can you market yourself?

  • Use social media (join groups, follow pages)
  • Use freelancing platforms
  • Use your network (friends, colleagues, family)

5. Be the Entrepreneur Freelancer 

Entrepreneurship is a skill that every freelancer should learn. It’s not about the money, but about how you think and act – as a business owner.  

The best way to get clients is to be the best in your niche. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can offer a discounted price if the client pays you within 24 hours. This will make you more attractive to the client, and they will feel like they are getting a good deal.

If you’re a web developer, you can offer a special rate if the client pays you within 24 hours. This will also make you more attractive to the client, and they will feel like they are getting a good deal.

More importantly, remember to be mindful of how you deal with your clients. Their satisfaction is vital in having repeat business. Here are some ways you can make your clients happy:

  • Provide excellent customer service. 
  • Offer discounts to your clients.
  • Keep your clients updated on the status of their projects.
  • Be honest and upfront with your clients.
  • Be flexible and willing to change your schedule to meet your client’s needs.

Getting your first freelancing client. 

I’m going to be honest with you  – getting your first client is challenging. There are thousands of freelancers out there, and clients hire freelancers with experience.

It’s all about the perception of value. 

I want to make sure that you know that freelancing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes a lot of hard work and time. 

You can make money quickly, but it will be short-lived. You will soon burn out, and that’s when you will stop getting clients. 

Therefore, you need to take a slow and steady approach.

Networking is the most efficient way to get a freelancing client. Go to networking events, make friends, and ask for referrals. In addition, since you are new, it would be best to get a client from a platform like Upwork. The five-star rating you will get from this client will start the ball rolling for you.

Conclusion

If you’re starting as a freelancer, it’s crucial that you understand that freelancing is a long-term business. You can make money fast, but you will burn out if you don’t have a long-term plan. 

Remember that your first goal is to get your first client. It’s easy to say, but it’s much harder to do. 

I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of freelancing and how to get your first client.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

Have a great day.


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