Working as a freelancer can be something of a double-edged blade. It provides a lot of really amazing benefits such as working for yourself, flexible timetables, and the ability to choose your clients. However, it is also a difficult path to walk; from financial insecurity to intense stress, the career can carry a lot of problems with it. That being said, freelancers are often the kind of people who would never want to do anything else. So, if you are interested in a freelance career, this article aims to help you get started as a freelancer and – hopefully – skip over some of the worst traps that freelancers can fall into.
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Decide on Your Discipline to get Started as a Freelancer
The first thing you need to do as a freelancer is to decide on a discipline. Freelancers are often ambitious by nature, and it is not uncommon for someone to want to invest their time in two or even more freelance trades; this is difficult at best and straight-up harmful at worst. The best thing you can do initially is to pick one discipline and stick with that for your professional work. That isn’t to say you can’t keep working on varied projects and skillsets; just keep to one professional discipline; it will help to strengthen your profile as a freelance worker.
What Can You Do? Fortunately, there are an enormous number of potential freelance careers that you could dive into, which means the best way to decide on a discipline is to consider what you are good at. What can you do? Once you’ve answered that question, take a look at your options and see what sticks out.
Speaking of options, there are a LOT in freelance. However, many of the most interesting freelance options are more specialist, which means you’ll probably need some experience in more basic disciplines to catch the attention of a more specialist client. To that end, there are a few of the most common freelance career options outlined below. Have a look through, and when you find something, you like, dive in.
Writing. When it comes to the spinning of talks, the flowing of words, or the crafting of copy, a freelance writer is who companies turn to. Whether you are writing marketing copy for a business or ghost-writing novels for celebrities, freelance writing lives and dies on your words, so choose them well.
Voice Acting. Similar but different, those with a penchant for performance and a passion for accents are voice actors. If you can create worlds with your voice and entrance a listener with your passionate speech, then voice acting can be a brilliant career. You just have to know where to find the work.
Web Design. The internet is one of the most influential pieces of technology the world has ever seen, and that means that anyone who can effectively work with it can find a lot of good work. Web designers create the building blocks of the internet that you see; webpages are their canvas and code their paint. If you’re good with an IDE, then there is plenty of work to be found in freelance web design.
Work Hard to get Started as a Freelancer
Finally, one of the most important things you can do as a freelancer is gain a reputation for working hard. When clients get what they want from you, they are going to want more from you. If you do that enough, word will get around that you can get things done. This is exactly what you want. So, work hard; it pays off.
Work Hard, but Also Smart. Working as a freelancer is a hard thing to do, which means you have to work hard to make it. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be making things harder for yourself as you go. Utilize software that allows you to easily track payments and get tips from other freelancers when you can. Take breaks regularly and recognize the progress you have made. Freelancing is hard, and you have to work hard, but you don’t have to break yourself in the process. Be kind to yourself.
Landing Clients to get Started as a Freelancer
Once you have a discipline in mind and are ready to start working toward it, the next difficult thing you need to do is to land a client. This is always hard to do the first time you are doing it, but with each subsequent job, it gets just a little easier to land a client that is right for you. Below are a few pointers on landing clients; just make your life a little easier to start with.
Be Confident as Started as a Freelancer. As a freelancer, you have to be confident in yourself. You are a part of the product you are selling to your clients, and that means that when you project an air of confidence, your potential clients are going to feel confident in you too. Just be careful; the line between confidence and arrogance is thin.
Know Your Stuff. When it comes to convincing a client that you’re the one for the job, your professional knowledge is a vital tool. You HAVE to be an expert of your craft in their eyes; otherwise, they will never agree to hire you. What’s more, if you don’t know what you are doing, then it is very easy to find yourself in hot water, whether legally speaking or reputationally, when you aren’t able to deliver the work, you promised.
Be Persistent. Freelancers deal with a lot of rejection in their line of work. Not every client is going to be the right fit for you, and not every job is going to work out. Learning to take the good with the bad is an important part of freelancing and something that will come with time. Stay strong, carry on.
Portfolios are Helpful. When it comes right down to it, your portfolio is the thing that is going to most convince a client of your ability to complete the work they need to be done. There is nothing quite like a direct example of your ability to show someone what you can do, which is why it is so important that you build your portfolio up. Add everything you’ve worked on to it; it doesn’t matter whether you’re proud or not; it’ll only get better with time.
These are definitely important points, but they are not all there is to finding a freelance client. Feel free to look here to learn a little more, but often it helps to do your own research too.