Freelancing has become incredibly popular over the last decade. With more opportunities to work remotely than ever before, and the boom of the digital world, many workers are hopping on the chance to become their own boss. But before you join the ranks of contracted professionals, there are some things you should know.
In this post, we’re offering up some knowledge on how to become a successful freelancer with the right gear, marketing tactics, and more.
Get the right gear
Working for yourself offers a lot of freedom, but it can certainly create some added pressure in your professional life. With strict deadlines, complicated projects, and clingy clients, it’s really important to make sure that your operation is functioning at its best at all times. Besides getting to the grindstone, you’ll also want to make sure you have the right gear to get the job done without any hiccups along the way.
As you get ready to launch your freelance career, set yourself up with these tech essentials:
- Fast internet: Nothing throws a wrench in productivity quite like a dodgy internet connection does. If you’re working from home, you’ll want at least 10 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload speed.
- Reliable hardware: No matter what service you’re selling, you’ll want to make sure your computer is up to the job. Depending on the type of work you’re producing, you may need a high-performance setup or a more basic model. If you’re doing graphic design, game development, or web design, AMD laptops may be better suited for your needs. Before investing in a computer setup, make sure that the model you’re looking at has the performance capacity you need.
- Project management software: In order to succeed as a freelancer, you’ll probably need to take on several projects at the same time. While the multitude of clients will provide plenty of work variety, it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed and unorganized. To help you stay on top of deadlines and progress, we recommend joining a project management platform.
- Time-tracking software: As project management software helps you track your project and task progress, don’t forget to level-up your efficiency with time-tracking software. In fact, if you bill by the hour your clients will likely request a report of your time spent on the project. Having a digital record of your time makes client billing a breeze.
Market yourself effectively
One of the biggest hurdles freelancers encounter when they first get started is finding enough business to make ends meet. Just like any other business, you’ll need to spend some time marketing yourself to build a network of clients.
Most freelancers use remote talent platforms to find long-term work and one-off projects. Platforms like UpWork and Fiverr are really convenient and expansive networks, but it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. If you want to market yourself more effectively, follow these guidelines:
- Upload work samples to your profile
- Include specialties and certifications on your resume
- List off languages you speak— many companies that outsource are looking for bilingual professionals
- Use social media to build professional connections
- Ask for referrals from happy clients
Build + nurture your network
Once you’ve started to build a strong professional network, much of the hard work is over — word travels fast once clients find a freelancer they love! However, if you want to continue to get contracts, it’s important to nurture your network of clients by staying in touch with them, offering your services, encouraging referrals by leveraging discounts, etc.
Know your limits
Being your own boss has plenty of perks — designing your own schedule, working on projects that ignite your passion, and being in control of your own finances — but there are some drawbacks, too. One of the main drawbacks of freelancing is signing yourself up for too much. As you take on work, always be mindful of your limitations, whether that be the time in your schedule or your skill level. Not paying attention to your own boundaries can cause you to get in over your head, and utterly overwhelmed.
Find a healthy work-life balance
On the topic of boundaries, let’s talk about work-life balance for a second. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is always important, but especially so when you’re working freelance. Burnout happens all too quickly and can lead to creative stifling, exhaustion, and stress. Make sure you’re taking care of your body and mind in between signing contracts!
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way toward freelance success in no time, best of luck!
I’ve been a full-time, professional copy editor and proofreader for a few years now, and I can understand why so many people are interested in this field. For starters, I get to work at home, be my own boss, set my own pace (sort of), and still make enough money to buy myself a lot of cool toys. Here are a few of the most common questions wannabe-editors have asked me, along with my answers.
1) Who can be a copy-editor? What are the requirements?
sAnybody can become a copy editor or proofreader. There are no universal standards, however excellent spelling, grammar and attention to detail will certainly help. Moreover, an excellent grasp of the English language, style, word choice, as well as the mechanics of good fiction and non-fiction writing are useful.
The best proofreaders are probably pedantic and organized, although this is in no way a certainty. (It doesn’t apply to me, for example.) In truth, there are probably many people who, given enough practice, could become great copy editors. The trick is in setting yourself up as a proofreader or copy-editor and getting people to trust you with their documents.
2) How do I get started? What jobs are available?
The way most people get started is by applying for a part-time or full-time position with an established editing company. You would do this like you would apply for any other job: sell yourself and your achievements. You’d probably have to do some tests, sample edits and things like that to prove your capability as an editor.
You might also have a “Senior editor” to double-check your work in the beginning, which can be stressful. If you want to gain experience and become a better editor, editing and proofreading for an established editorial company (with its own set of standards, rules and editing style) will probably be helpful for you. However, the pay may be very low. You might make in the range of $5 to $15 an hour depending on many factors.
3) Setting yourself up as a freelancer.
If you’re already confident in your editing skills, and have some experience already, I recommend going it alone. There are several freelance sites where you can bid on editing projects, like guru.com, getafreelancer.com, or elance.com. You can also make your own website. The competition is fierce, and you’ll have to know a lot about search engines, website ranking and traffic in order to succeed via this route.
However, if you are the only editor for your business, you might not need a lot of work anyway. How to make a successful editing site? Start out with your education, background, and experience. You can either decide to go “personal” ie. “Laura Smith’s Editing Company” or commercial “XYZ editing and proofreading company”. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Make sure your site is clean and stylish; many editing websites look terrible and a nice template will set yours apart. Don’t make it too ‘bloggy’ or personal – keep it simple. White background, not too many pictures, and of course absolutely flawless text. (There’s nothing worse than a website offering editing and proofreading services full of errors.)
4) Think local.
The web is a huge, scary place. Although you might get cases from all over the world, you’ll have much more success if you focus your advertising locally. Yellow pages (people still use those, sometimes), business cards on bulletin boards, fliers at local universities and places you know authors convene like bookstores or coffee-houses are great sources of business.
5) Develop a niche.
It’s hard to sell ‘proofreading and editing’ services, for the reason that most people are searching for more specific services. “Editing for my thesis”, “manuscript editing”, “book or novel proofreading”, “essay editing and proofreading”, “dissertation editing”, etc. If you enjoy a specific type of manuscript, claim it as your own. Focus on becoming the absolute best in a particular field, an expert in “proofreading children’s literature” for example, and make sure everybody thinks of you when that subject comes up.
6) How much should I charge?
Many companies charge different rates depending on how thorough an edit the file needs, or whether they need copy editing or just proofreading. Some charge per hour, in a range of $10 to $50 per hour. I recommend charging by word count, so that it is easy for potential clients to figure out exactly how much their project is going to cost.
Between $0.01 and $0.02 per word is a good rough estimate for the industry average ($10 or $20 per 1,000 words), although editors come in a very wide range. Don’t worry about what other people are charging, though. Figure out what your time is worth to you; how much you want to be making an hour. Figure out how many words you can do in an hour and use that to establish your pricing.
7) How to accept pay?
PayPal or GoogleCheckout are my two favorite methods of getting paid. They’re easy, simple to set up and trustworthy. You can register for a free account online.
How to become a successful freelancer
Being a freelancer has many advances, the fact is that you’re the boss in your work. You can choose your time and workplace to work. Sometimes, it’s prettily tough for a woman to do a corporate job but if she has a facility to do a job at home then it’s better for her. In addition to this, you can set your salary and take coffee break whenever you need being a freelancer.
Here we have got together some important tips to become a successful freelancer.
1. Choose your preferred marketplace
Utilize your skill and experience choosing the perfect marketplace. If you’re a graphic designer and have some skills in image retouching, then you can select a market place like freelancer, upwork, fiverr or iFreelance. These marketplaces offer the best opportunity for designers to work and you can apply for work easily.
2. Organize your comfortable work space
Your kitchen table can’t be a comfortable work space for a daily basis work. Choose a place where you can work in a peace and comfortable environment. This is one of the best facilities to work from home. Your desk set should be in the corner of the room; with all necessary tools you require. This is the place where you’ll start your journey to reach the destination.
3. Set Proper Work Hours
Yes, you can set work hours according to your conveniences and this is the great facility to work as a freelancer. In a corporate company like Graphic World 24, you’ll have to do a job for a particular during such as 9am to 5 pm. But here you’re free to set your own work time. So set your starting time, your coffee break time, your lunch time, leaving work time and sticking time. Establishing mind setup at work perfectly is the key to a successful freelancer.
4. Choose your niche
Check out in which subject you are interested and in which area you have expertise. Also, do some research to seek which market place is ideally suited for you. Don’t cast your net so much to find out best job, it may cause missing out the person who has the possibility to be your first client. Seek forum sites and other websites that match your niche to know the future of your niche and become an active member of the community.
5. Try to Say ‘no’ where necessary
Don’t overstretch your skill and fall into a trap of the habit saying ‘yes’ to a new potential client. If what they are asking about performing falls outside of your expertise, then simply say ‘NO’. Saying ‘Yes’ to all clients for all clients of jobs may bring a bad result for your career. So bear this in your mind whenever you’re discussing with your clients.
6. Turn off the Phone number and lock the door while at work
It’s not wrong for others to think that since you’re a freelancer and work from home, you’re available for a gossip and a cup of tea. But you should make them understand that you’re at work. Work means work whether it’s in office or at home. That’s why, you should turn off the phone and close your door before sitting down for work.
7. Manage time to check emails
To be successful as a freelancer may be somewhat daunting as you’ll have to check emails when you’ve done the work for the day or even you’re away for the vacation. You’ll also have to take some relax even though it’s time to keep in touch with your clients.
These are some of the important tips to be a successful freelancer in life and enjoy work from home. If you think you have some tips for a freelancer, please feel free to share them in the comments.
Whether you’re working your side hustle or taking your passion full-time, here’s what you need to know to help your one-man business run smoothly.
Choosing to be your own boss can be exciting, but when you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to put in place the same parameters you had with a steady job. When I first left my position last spring to pursue freelance writing and launch my own business, I made many rookie mistakes. Feeling unmoored, I said yes to every assignment that came my way. The result? I was instantly overwhelmed and had no time to work on my company. One friend gave me invaluable advice: Set a limit. Once I had brought in what I considered enough money for the month, I could decline new assignments that came my way or only pick up work that excited me. To achieve your own success, follow these tips from other women who have become their own boss and made it work:
SET THE STAGE – TAP YOUR NETWORK BEFORE QUITTING
If you can begin to bring in clients—or spread the word that you’re going out on your own—before taking the plunge, you’ll offset some of the stress. “I got a gig about two weeks after leaving my job,” says freelance video producer and director Sarah Springer, 30. “I had people I could reach out to for job opportunities because I’ve worked in video production for a while and had established pretty strong relationships with folks in the industry.”
ASK FOR HELP
“In retrospect, I wish I’d known more about the importance of having a lawyer when starting out,” says Tameshia Rudd-Ridge, 30, who runs a concierge business focused on travel to and throughout Africa. “I started freelancing out of necessity but didn’t spend much time learning how to legally protect myself, my assets and my intellectual property.” Freelance creative marketing consultant Tracey Coleman, 38, recommends hiring an assistant when it’s clear you need an extra set of hands: “The little stuff adds up quickly, so find a reliable person to take some of the load off.”
TAKE NOTE OF YOUR HABITS
“Someone really brilliant once told me to pay attention to my habits and to create a system based on those habits,” says Springer. “If you tend to take too many naps while working from home, then don’t work from home!” Listen to your needs, then work around them. If a bustling café doesn’t suit you, seek out a quiet spot at a local library or rent a desk at a coworking space like WeWork.
A busy café may not be the right place for you, so try renting a desk at a coworking space.
If you’ve never had to arrange your rates outside your salary, it can be tricky to stand your ground when you go at it. But the first contracts you secure can be crucial for setting the stage for future business, so don’t lowball yourself. Rudd-Ridge suggests doing test runs: “Practice negotiating as much as possible in everyday life situations.”
ASSEMBLE AN ADVISORY BOARD
“I had no idea how isolating the freelance life can be,” says Coleman. “As a freelancer, not only do I have to seek out social interaction, but I also lean on former colleagues and advisers for help when I need it. I’ve now balanced the solitary nature of freelancing by joining WeWork and by scheduling more face time with like-minded professionals.” Event planner Tanya Hayles, 37, says putting together an advisory board has helped her too. “Learning from people with different backgrounds will help me think things through from multiple angles,” she says.
ENJOY THE LEAP
Yes, going it alone can be scary, but don’t forget to view it as the chance that it is, says Coleman. “It took me about six months to secure my first client, and I honestly enjoyed the freedom. I traveled to Abu Dhabi, India and South Africa, then spent some time with family and friends. See those initial months as an opportunity to become rich in experiences, not in money.” Be on your way to a fulfilling freelance career.
DO THE MATH
Giving up a steady paycheck can be as thrilling as it is terrifying. We asked Washington, D.C.–based personal finance expert Dominique Broadway how to find a new normal with your money.
STASH AWAY CASH EARLY
Before you resign, make sure you have at least six months’ worth of expenses saved up. “If you can’t reach that amount before leaving, try to aim for your freelance business to bring in at least what you are making on a monthly basis, plus 40 percent extra to account for taxes, health insurance and other new business expenses,” says Broadway.
DECIDE WHAT’S WORTH IT
Expect things to be pretty lean those first few months. Checks won’t start rolling in right away, so you’ll want to keep your expenses as low as possible. Paying off any remaining credit card debt will free up cash, but consider other expenses you can stretch (maybe your weekly mani goes bimonthly). Then use the extra on what matters: “Having a tax preparer if you’re not comfortable doing them on your own could save you thousands in the long term,” says Broadway.
KNOW YOUR WORTH
When pricing your services, research to see what others in your field are charging and determine the value that your services will bring to your client. Depending on how long you’ve been in the industry, you may be able to command a higher hourly rate than you might think. “Never let anyone haggle you down, and always stay strong with the prices that you set,” says Broadway.
DO A FINANCIAL PROJECTION
Let’s face it: You will make more in some months than in others. To better prepare for fluctuating income, Broadway recommends doing a financial forecast just as major corporations do to determine how much you’ll bring in for the upcoming months. “This way you’re not surprised if you bring in less than expected,” she says. “Also, make sure that you are saving more money when you have those higher-income months to help balance out the lower ones.”
Posted on 4 July, 2018 – Last Modified on 17 June, 2019
With a decade of experience on freelancer.com, the best decision I made was joining the Preferred Freelancer Program. At least 90% of my work comes through the program which means I make 40% more money than before.
For many years I dreamed of escaping the daily grind of corporate life. The traffic. Locked in an office for 8 hours a day. Also, I wanted to spend my days with my incredible dogs. I show, train and compete in dog sport.
One day I made the break when I had some money behind me and had built up a reputation on the site. I joined the Preferred Freelancer Program and built great relationships with recruiters and employers. After joining the program, I became more visible. I now tend to win 30% to 40% of the jobs I bid on.
Being a preferred freelancer shows you are an expert. It endorses your integrity. It helps potential employers identify experienced freelancers. However, you are still only as good as the past projects you’ve completed. You need to stick to your word – complete projects on time and on budget.
Here are a few things to help you build a successful client base and excel as a Preferred Freelancer:
Bid on projects that match your skills
Only bid on projects that match your skills. There is no point setting yourself up to fail. Often, however, project briefs list skills that may be outside your skillset. Yours may only match a few of their requirements. Do not let that stop you from bidding.
Recently I bid on a project that wanted a content writer and web designer all rolled into one. This is doable for a company. But, I am a sole operator and I really wanted the job. In my submission I let the employer know how I could help them. I suggested they break the project into two separate projects, and invited the employer to open a conversation to discuss their requirements. On this occasion it worked better for the client to work with individual specialists. It can be worth taking the chance.
Being a preferred freelancer is not a licence to charge over-the-top prices. When you do, you are unlikely to hear from the employer. This risks them hiding your bid which means losing points from your bid quality score.
There is also no point putting in low bids. Employers are looking for top quality work at a fair price. Bidding ridiculously low prices comes across as desperation. And, low prices often tell employers you are not a professional.
Bidding on one liners
There are many one-line briefs. Yes, it is frustrating. Let the potential employer know you need more information to give an accurate price. Ask questions. Engage. I do this as part of my original submission. When I do not get a response, I move on.
How you bid is vital. There is only one chance to make a first impression. When I do get a response, I treat them with respect. Answer and ask relevant questions.
As a preferred freelancer, I rarely bid on one-line briefs anymore. I scroll on by. There are plenty more jobs on the site.
ALWAYS use milestones
I have never worked on a Freelancer project without Milestones. They give me a sense of protection. It also tells me the employer is genuine. I know the money is in escrow for release on completion of each Milestone. Only once have I ever lost money. I cannot stress this enough – Milestones are the best thing since sliced bread!
Break projects down into manageable chunks which helps get the work done on time and on budget. Depending on the type of job, an example of this could be a milestone for a draft and one for the final copy.
Milestones shows employers you are professional. It gives them confidence you can do the job. Make sure the Milestones work well for the employer.
Communication, Communication, Communication!
Communication is key. I cannot stress this enough. You are working with people from across the world. Sometimes there are language barriers, so communication is crucial- ask questions.
When an employer contacts me I thank them. This opens the conversation for them to ask questions. I ask for links or examples of things to give me insight. I try to get inside their head to see things from their point of view. Never, ever, ever spam an employer. If they do not answer, move on.
Be quick to answer employer questions. Do not leave them waiting. The work you do for anyone on Freelancer is super important to each employer. And, it should be to you too. Never turn it into a battleground if you get negative feedback. Work hard to make it right. We all get it wrong sometimes.
When you think an employer is being unfair, go back over the brief and conversations. Make a fair assessment. Do not ask for more money unless you are sure the employer has changed the project scope. It could be you have made a mistake or misinterpreted the employer’s requirements. When you have resolvable problems, ask your recruiter for advice or follow the Freelancer system for disputes.
Then there are the unresponsive employers. This is frustrating. I give them 7 days then ask for payment if they do not have any changes. After a couple of days, with no response, I again ask for release of the milestone or for feedback. Be polite. You do not know what is going on in their lives. Give them a couple of days to respond. If this is unsuccessful, I dispute the milestone and follow the Freelancer.com system.
Now you see why it is vital to only work with milestones.
Engage with your recruiters
Recruiters are invaluable. Sure, there are many projects you may not bid on. But, when interested, engage with recruiters. They are there to help. Their purpose is to match the right people to employers. They cannot do that if you do not engage with them.
Reputation is everything. Work hard. Do your best to earn top notch reviews. But, most of all, act with integrity, honesty and be positive. The rest will follow.
Good luck with your journey as a preferred freelancer. We are changing the way of working across the world!
Becoming a freelancer and working from home has many benefits, not least, the fact that you are your own boss. Setting your own working hours, your own rate of pay, and when you take your coffee breaks might sound easy, but in fact setting the basics in stone before you have actually begun working from home is the most important thing you can do from the beginning.
1. Organize Your Own Dedicated Work Space.
Your kitchen table is not a good place to work on a daily basis. Find somewhere quiet, free from distractions, where you can work in peace and quiet. This is one of the most important aspects of working from home — even though you aren’t leaving your home to start the daily commute, you still “go to work.” A simple desk set up in the corner of a room, with all the tools you need, will suffice. It is your place of work and where you will start your amazing journey.
2. Get Your Finances in Order.
Once you secure that first all important client, you want to be prepared for when you invoice them. Setting up your business bank account or PayPal account (other online payment merchants are of course available), means that at the end of the billing month you are ready to submit your invoice with your payment details. Have a draft invoice prepared with your business name on it, so that you don’t waste valuable time later setting this up. You can even create an invoice using PayPal.
Have in mind what you want to set as your hourly rate together with any additional charges that may be required. You want to sound professional and come across as confident when you get your first client.
3. Tools of the Trade.
What equipment do you need to run your freelance business? Will a smartphone be enough to enable you to carry out your work, or should you invest in a PC or laptop? Will you need a printer to print off invoices or letters? Do some research to see what you may or may not need.
When it comes to software, most of the standards have free alternatives available. If you don’t already have Word or Excel, you can use Google Drive. The good news about freelancing is many people are able to start with what they have and upgrade as the profits come in.
4. Set Work Hours.
Okay, so working from home has great benefits. You can make a cup of coffee when you like, go for a walk, do the ironing … This is exactly what you should not be doing! Set yourself a daily working plan. Set your start time, your coffee break time, your lunch time, and your quitting time and stick to it. Getting into the mindset of being at work and not at home is crucial and the key to your own success.
5. Find Your Niche.
Have you any expertise in a particular area? Carry out some research and find out who your target market is and concentrate your efforts on them. Don’t cast your net too wide in an effort to find work, as casting too wide may mean missing out on that one person who could become your first client. Find forums and websites dedicated to your niche and perhaps start commenting there and becoming part of the community. Send out email pitches to those within your area of expertise offering your services.
6. Learn to Say No!
Don’t overstretch what you are capable of doing and fall into the trap of saying yes to every new prospective client. If what they are asking you to do falls outside your particular area of expertise or interest, politely decline.
7. Turn Off Your Phone and Lock the Door.
It is very easy for others to assume that because you are a freelancer and work from home that you are available for a chat or a cup of coffee, or to run errands. Make it clear to family and friends that you are working and work means work! If that means turning off your phone and locking your door, then do it. It may take a while, but they will soon get the message.
8. Get Dressed.
Okay, I’ll hold my hands up to this one – on occasion I’ve gone to work in my pajamas. However, if you get dressed in the morning, you will feel much more productive and ready for the day ahead. I always feel more professional and ready for action when I am suited and booted.
9. Schedule in Some “Me” Time.
Starting up your own business as a freelancer can be daunting, and all too often you may be tempted to check your emails when you have finished work for the day, or even when you are away for the weekend. While it is important to keep in touch with clients, it is also vital that you have some time for yourself to unwind and relax. Giving yourself some well deserved down time will leave you feeling relaxed and ready for Monday morning all over again.
10. And Finally, Enjoy!
Remember, becoming a freelancer and working from home can be so rewarding. You somehow work harder for any money you will earn, and you will take more enjoyment and pleasure working for yourself. Enjoy it, for this, is the start of something big.
Do you have tips for becoming a successful freelancer? Drop us a note below, we’d love to hear from you!
Most small businesses start today as a side hustle first. While some Americans have shifted to independent temporarily, more have shifted to make it their full-time careers. According to the Freelancing in America Survey , 35 % of U.S. workers are now freelancing. In 2019, 57 million people worked as freelancers. We can see this number growing especially during the pandemic.
Many people lost their jobs during the COVID-19 and they are putting themselves back to work by pitching their skills to companies, including their former employers, as “free agents.”
Your flexibility as a free agent can be appealing to employers who need to get the job done but don’t want to pay for things like health insurance, taxes, and retirement benefits — which is associated with full-time employees. You can use this demand to your advantage and build a freelance business to support yourself, stay current in your field, and keep moving in an unstable economy.
Tips to Become a Successful Freelancer
Here are the five tips to help you become a successful freelancer.
1. Be Professional.
Just because you may be working from a home office doesn’t mean you forget your manners. The same standards of professionalism you used in the workplace apply as a self-employed professional. Set up a workspace that is conducive to doing business and working long hours. Make sure you are in quiet surroundings when making calls — your clients should not hear the TV blaring, your child crying or the dog barking while they’re considering whether to give you money to work on a project for them.
2. Be Meticulous About Tracking Your Hours.
It’s easy to lose track of the time you spend on a project when you’re not punching a time clock. Often, independent contractors find themselves spending more time on a project than they would have if they were working in a regular office environment. It is up to you to ensure that you’re getting paid for the work you’re putting in and complete projects in a timely manner.
To set a realistic hourly rate, Michelle Mangen, president of Your Virtual Assistant , based in Sarasota, Fla., suggests surveying the competition. “When I first started my business as a virtual assistant, I asked other VAs what they charged, and that’s how I figured out my initial pricing strategy,” says Mangen. Be sure to include project management time in your bids; interaction with clients eats up lots of time.
3. Focus on a Niche Specialty.
You cannot be all things to all people. A successful freelancer focuses on a specific niche customer or industry. Examine your transferable skills, figure out the pain points of your target customer, find out where those skills are in demand, and go after the business. Also, seek out work that may fulfill a passion that you wouldn’t have gone after on a traditional job. For example, if you are a CPA who enjoys cooking, you could specialize in doing accounting work just for restaurants.
4. Build a Web Portfolio.
Potential customers and recruiters will search online to find information about you before making contact. That’s why it’s essential to have a website and online presence that displays your expertise.
You can start by using free portfolio website builders especially if you don’t have web development skills.
Website builders like Wix , Ucraft, and Strikingly are super handy with their drag-and-drop editor.
You can also establish a LinkedIn profile to help you showcase your portfolio. (Read my article Are You Google-able? )
5. Be a Networking Machine.
Don’t sit in your house and do all of your socializing online. Seek out local networking events and trade associations in your field and join the chapters in your area. Keep your elevator pitch handy. When you’re out in the community, whether you’re in transit to meet a client or running errands, talk up your business to your banker, your local merchants, and the parent on your child’s baseball team who is an executive at a company that could use your services.
Carry business cards at all times. Make sure contact information is updated and includes all places they can find you online.
Finding work: Many websites help freelancers develop their businesses and stay sane in the process. Here are three good resources.
- Upwork . The site connects freelancers with companies looking for help.
- Freelancer. Companies and entrepreneurs use this online hub to post their projects and expertise and find good matches.
- Guru. A freelancer marketplace that also handles payment processing. The site features profiles and websites of 250,000 active freelancers.
Do you have a favorite website for finding freelance opportunities?
Free Book Preview Six-Figure Freelancer
Owning your own freelance writing business requires a specific skill set centered around strong work habits and good communication skills. Before you jump in feet first, take some time to figure out if you have the following skills:
Strong writing skills
While you don’t need to be an expert on everything to succeed in this field, the most basic tool you must have is great writing ability. You can learn the other skills to succeed with selling your freelance work, but you must be extremely confident in all aspects of writing, including:
- General tone and style
- Ability to write crisp and clean copy
- Ability to conduct research and develop it into new material
Unfortunately, not everyone has the general writing ability or grammar knowledge to excel as a freelance writer. If your clients have to spend extensive time editing your work, they’ll end up frustrated and may fire you.
Ability to meet deadlines
You should have a firm handle on how much work you can realistically crank out in a given amount of time so you can meet your clients’ deadlines. If you continuously miss deadlines, you’ll run out of clients quickly, but meeting those deadlines and turning out quality work will go a long way toward securing and retaining work.
You’ll be in control of setting most deadlines, so choose wisely. Don’t try to impress a new client by saying you can turn around a 1,000-word blog post by tomorrow if you need at least two days to gather research and write. It’s better to give the client an honest assessment of when they can expect the work than to fall short on a deadline you set yourself.
Ability to fly solo
Being self-disciplined is hard for many people. If you’re used to being in an office where you’re interacting with your coworkers all day long and you really thrive on that human interaction, the transition to being a freelance writer can feel isolating. But if you know you work best alone, you could really crush it as a freelance writer because that’s what you’ll do 90 percent of the time.
Accept and learn from criticism
As a writer, you probably have a sense of creative pride over what you’ve produced. But allowing that pride to be hurt because a client needs some tweaks translates to you taking things too personally. When responding to feedback, try to remain neutral if the comments are fair. Within reason, you should be open to making changes because most clients expect it.
Be comfortable marketing your skills
Sending pitches, jumping on phone calls, and handling negotiations with people can be difficult if you’re not naturally an outgoing person. But it’s part of the process of marketing yourself. If you don’t think you can get over the anxiety of speaking to strangers, freelance writing might not be for you.
Some practice will help you feel more confident about marketing, but ultimately, it falls to you to do the work even if you feel anxious. It can be hard to put yourself out there and get no response or even hear somebody tell you no. But outstanding freelancers, the ones who grow their businesses, aren’t afraid to market themselves.
Be a self-starter
To land clients and complete work effectively, you need to be a self-starter. As a freelance writer, you’re 100 percent in charge. This has some benefits, such as setting your rates, determining your schedule, and calling the shots about who you work with. But it also has some downsides, because if you can’t stay accountable to yourself, your business and income will take a big hit.
Most people I know who do well as freelance writers are independent people. They prefer to work alone and be self-sufficient and solely responsible for deadlines and deliverables. If you know you work better on your own and trust yourself to do the marketing and client work it takes to be successful, freelancing is a great fit.
Handle rejection well
To be successful as a freelance writer, you have to cast a wide net, because rejection is a given. If you reach out to dozens of clients, not all of them will even answer you, much less go through the process of signing up to work with you. If you don’t have time in your schedule to market to 10 or more prospects per week at a bare minimum, you won’t be able to turn enough of a profit. Furthermore, your batting average won’t be that good, because you’re not contacting enough clients to convert some of them.
Stay on the cutting edge
Are you the type of person who loves learning new things and taking on challenges? Technology and marketing methods are changing all the time. Consider social media marketing: Every year, new social media platforms come online, grow or even fizzle out. Marketers in the online world, including content writers, have to stay on top of trends and research. If you’re not willing to put in the time to enhance your skills, you won’t be competitive and your business will dwindle.
Be a good juggler
Be prepared to keep many balls in the air as a freelancer. As a freelance writer, you’re not just a creative. When you launch, you’re also CFO, CEO and VP of Marketing. In any given day, you’ll be:
- Working for clients
- Answering questions
- Doing research
- Completing administrative work like submitting invoices
It can sometimes feel chaotic jumping from one project to another or hanging up a client phone call and going right into writing mode. As you go along, you’ll pick up tricks for running your business more effectively, but rest assured that if you’re growing in the right way, you’ll always be in uncharted territory to some extent.
So you want to become a freelancer, work from home (or while traveling), and make a decent living?
I woke up in my beautiful homestay, walked through a lush green paddy field, and then got back to make breakfast.
Then, I started working from home and later visited some friends to practice a bachata dance routine for an upcoming charity event.
Later, I visited my favorite cafe, and after about three hours of work (and many cups of coconut coffee), I left for the beach to de-stress and work out.
As the day turned to night, I cycled around Hoi’s beautiful ancient town (think: gondolas, lanterns, etc. ) and finally ended the night with some lovely live music.
Now, I’m far from being a millionaire but I get to live where I want, work on what (and how) I want — and this degree of flexibility makes for a very happy Mark.
This life would be a complete fantasy had I not decided to become a freelancer, and make money online instead of being stuck in a cubicle all day making someone else rich.
And the best part is, you can start freelancing as a side hustle.
So, How did I start freelancing?
I graduated from college in April 2018, with a bachelor’s degree in finance, a decent GPA, some job prospects, and pretty much everything I needed to get into corporate.
So, why did I take my chances with freelancing in a domain unrelated to my degree?
Well, there are two reasons:
- Higher ROI
In India, the median salary of a financial analyst (the job most compatible with my degree) converts to about $7,200 USD/year.
If you do the math on a 40-hour work-week — that’s less than 4 dollars an hour!
And to make matters worse, most companies lock you into a 1-year contract which basically means you’re tied down to one job (and a cubicle) for an entire year.
*cough* corporate slave *cough*
Fortunately, I was more ‘open-minded’ than my classmates — and this made it easy to do my own thing despite peer pressure (classic rebel style).
Looking back today had I NOT chosen to jump into freelancing (a seemingly risky step), I would NOT have the privilege to do the following:
- Travel to four countries, and see places I neverknew existed
- Build real relationships with people I could never imagine knowing
- Work with insanely smart individuals from around the world
- Grow into a person I could never think of becoming
- Doubled my earnings in the first year, compared to an entry-level job — probably more than anyone in my graduating class
- Start my own business and become an entrepreneur (more on this later)
- and much more!
As mentioned in this instagram post featuring one of my favorite motivation quotes:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost
This quote now dictates my life. I am no longer afraid of challenging the status quo to continuously work towards my goals regardless of how ‘crazy’ they may seem.
In this article, I share everything I’ve learned and earned from my freelancing journey to help you get started on the right foot without making the mistakes I did.
If you are interested in learning even MORE about freelancing, check out Kai Davis give brilliant freelancing tips on the HTE podcast!
So, grab a seat, refresh your drink, and let’s get started!
If you have chosen the freelance career you most likely have asked yourself many times this question: How do I succeed as a freelancer? Is it possible to make a nice living from a freelancing career?
Here are 6 tips / strategies to help you make it happen and gain a competitive advantage on other professionals.
The main challenges are to align your talents with your customers’ needs, create a permanent customer base and be productive all while managing your business and personal finances.
Align your talents and skills with market needs
Undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges for freelancers is to align their skills, experience and specific knowledge to the needs of companies or organizations in order to provide a service or a product that is high in demand.
The way to start is to list all your skills and knowledge. Identify the ones you feel highly capable of and connect with people and companies that would strongly benefit from that specific knowledge. Research, draw up lists, question and inquire around your community; you will find many subjects for innovation and improvement that can address specific corporate needs and ultimately represent a business opportunity for you.
Manage your time efficiently
“Time is money”. Managing your own time can be a great opportunity but it can also become a major threat. Hours, days, weeks, and even months can pass by without you realizing you have not been managing your time effectively.
Your home might be very comfortable to work from but it might also have many distractions. Focus, organize your time, schedule work and put in 100% of your concentration when you are on task.
Consider the following points to make better use of your time:
– Use a calendar, schedule all your daily activities: rest, exercise, maintenance activities, cooking, purchasing, others.
– Assign an effective work schedule and stick to it.
– Assign a schedule to connect on your social networks.
– Turn off your Whatsapp or other personal messaging during working time.
– It is very common to lose time on the Internet, so stick a post-it indicating the purpose of the search. This will help you concentrate and remind you to avoid wasting time in browsing.
– It is important to establish small goals to accomplish each day. Concentrate from 45 minutes to two hours before taking short breaks.
– Save time by learning to cook and eat simply and healthily. A Crockpot is a good option.
Time management is especially important for freelancers as hours is what you sell. Here are some tips on how to achieve it.
Properly calculate your rate
Another one of the biggest challenges for a freelancer is finding the right price for their services. A balance between not giving away his/her work and not to over-estimate the work putting you out of the market. So it is crucial to properly calculate your tariff for a specific project, including your time, expenses and related costs such as marketing and others.
Once you have established a selling price for your product or service it is then very important to consider price competition before submitting.
Develop a working plan
Planning takes work; most people concentrate in executing the project and forget about the importance of planning. A working plan is a key tool for a freelancer; one that has clear objectives, appropriate strategies, deadlines and resources.
Effective planning means working to achieve the stated objectives on time and on budget.
Once the “what” (goal) is defined, develop the “how” (strategies and tasks), then the “when” (time), “where” (place); and “with what” (money, people, materials, etc.). Find a project management tool online to facilitate this step.
Use social networks and marketplaces to promote your skills
There are three key aspects for freelancers in the use of social networks: sharing, creating and building trust and more trust.
The main goal is for you to become an influencer in your domain and an agent of change for you to exercise influence on a target audience through your opinions. You can achieve this goal through groups where participants will identify with your expertise.
Build attractive content, share and become a leader in your community.
To actively participate in social networks requires a great capacity to learn, innovate, adjust and continuously change and adapt. It requires awareness to everything happening in your surroundings.
One effective way to market your services is to register on freelance sites such as Upwork . Guru or Workhoppers
Organize your finances
Undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges for those who operate as a freelancer is related to the sound management of its finances. We suggest the following freelance tips for you:
– Prepare an annual budget of revenues and expenditures and identify the months where your expenses are higher than usual.
– Properly handle your credit cards, avoid unnecessary debt.
– Save when you have surplus income.
– Control your expenses.
– Create a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses.
The above freelance tips should be kept in mind at all times. But most importantly, having passion and loving what you do is the key to continued success.