Working as a freelancer is a great career choice because aside from being able to earn, you can also enjoy flexibility as you can decide when and where to work. This will allow you to achieve a work-life balance, keep stress at bay, and maintain your overall health.
In a survey made by Statista, there are over 59 million individuals who work as freelancers in the US alone. This number is expected to grow in the coming years as more and more employers are choosing to hire remote employees as this allows them to reduce costs in equipment, infrastructure, and utilities.
So, if you are also looking forward to start a career as a freelancer, you can follow these four steps below:
1. Assess If Freelancing Is For You
Freelancing comes with many perks, but keep in mind that it also comes with several drawbacks. For one, working as a freelancer requires you to juggle different projects with different clients at the same time. You’ll also have to continually use freelancing platforms to ensure that you have a steady flow of work.
To help you start working as a freelancer, assess first if this type of job is for you. Before you create an account in freelancing platforms, such as Gig Worker, take the time to weigh the pros and cons of freelancing and think if this is something you see yourself doing in the next years. Sure, freelancing can provide many benefits, but not everyone thrives in this kind of working setup.
You can test the waters by taking part-time freelancing jobs. If you currently have a full-time job, don’t quit yet. Instead, work on finding several clients first until you are sure that your freelancing career is enough to sustain you financially. Doing this will help you assess if working as a freelancer suits your preferences and lifestyle.
2. Choose Which Skills You’ll Start Freelancing With
Regardless if you’re planning to work full-time or part-time, keep in mind that success in a freelancing career will be based on the skills you offer. Your skills are your greatest assets in freelancing, and you should be able to market yourself effectively to potential employers. If you’re having a hard time identifying what your skills are, consider the following tips:
- Start freelancing with skills from your previous jobs: If you worked in a corporate setting in the past, think about what were your responsibilities back then. Were you paid to work as a customer service representative, accountant, or graphic designer?
If these roles require the use of an app or software, make sure to highlight them in your profile as well. Being skilled in Photoshop and AutoCAD, for example, should be highlighted—especially if you intend to work as a freelance designer.
These skills could give you an edge because employers would usually choose to hire individuals who are already proficient in certain tools rather than exert time and effort to train them.
- Consider skills outside of your job description: Back when you were working with your previous job, you likely had tasks that were outside of your job description. If you were responsible for updating your company’s social media accounts before, then you most likely have learned how to write informative articles and manage social media pages as well. When starting a career as a freelancer, you must list these skills too. The more skills you include in your profile, the better chances you’ll have in finding an employer.
- Think about your hobbies and self-taught skills: If you have hobbies and self-taught skills that you think might come in handy in your freelancing career, then it would not hurt to explore more opportunities that would be related to it.
For example, if you love to play video games in your free time, you can promote yourself as a writer for eSports and the gaming niche. Or if you have taught yourself to use apps like Canva or GIMP, for example, then make sure to highlight that as well.
3. Find A Platform
The internet is a wide place, and for a new freelancer who is still looking for a clientele, it could get overwhelming. Thankfully, there are now several freelancing platforms that can help you find and connect with clients more easily.
When starting a career as a freelancer, make use of these platforms to find jobs and clients. Although applying through social media is convenient, it’s still best if you look and apply for jobs through these freelancing platforms as they offer protection for both workers and employers.
There are many freelancing platforms online today, so make sure that you use one that fits your needs and salary expectations. You can also ask for recommendations from family or friends who have been working as freelancers to know how certain platforms work.
4. Prepare A Portfolio
A freelancing portfolio is a document or presentation that contains all that you can do and offer as a freelancer. It also serves as proof of your previous works. Employers looking for freelancers would typically require applicants to submit their portfolios to assess if their skill set matches the requirements of the company.
Since you are still starting out, it’s fine to not have anything on your portfolio yet. It’s best if you take the time to gradually build your portfolio. You can do this by offering your samples for free and have people leave testimonials about your work, or come up with generic samples during your free time. If you have relevant output from your past jobs, then you can also add that to your portfolio.
People from different parts of the world are choosing to work as a freelancer because this working setup provides benefits that aren’t available in an office setting. This is one of the reasons why competition in the freelancing industry is becoming stiff.
Starting a career as a freelancer can be challenging at first, but there are many strategies to make this process easier. As long as you take the time to follow the steps in this article, it won’t be long before you can become a successful freelancer in your chosen niche!