Freelancing is exciting, and as a new freelancer that’s new to the scene, it can also be a little overwhelming too. Knowing where and how to start is a question that enters every freelancer’s mind, and those are valid concerns. Many things a freelancer will learn through trial and error, but excellent learning different ways to maximize those earnings will undoubtedly help. We have some incredible tips on our free webinar training to jumpstart a career as an online freelancer and below are some tips to get you started. Soon enough you’ll be making a living while working at home living the dream!
Defining what type of client you’d like to may seem easy, especially if you already have a few interests, but Skill Crush says it’s not something to take lightly. You should carefully consider what type of work will make you happy in the long run and what kind of services you will be providing.
Before you can go out and start looking for clients, you’ll need to develop a clear picture of who you’re going to work best with. Do you want to build websites for small business owners, pitch in on new feature development for high growth technology startups, or take on longer-term contracts with enterprise-sized companies? Making these clear distinctions between who and what type of business you’re targeting will be essential to effectively pitching your services.
To define exactly who your ideal freelance clients should be (and how to start finding them), ask yourself these questions:
What type of business has the problems I’m solving with my services?
Can the business I want to work with afford to hire me?
What demographic trends can I identify about the decision makers in the types of businesses I’m targeting? Think: age, gender, geographic location, websites they frequent, and their personal interests.
Because I know that I’ll be more engaged and work most effectively with smaller startup teams who are working on projects I can personally relate to, I’ve proactively chosen to make my scope of potential clients narrow. By working with similar startup teams, new potential clients I target within my niche are able to instantly relate with me, and have confidence that I’ll be able to replicate my results for their business, too.
Time management skills and using the right marketing strategies is another integral part of being a successful freelancer. To make more money, you should master both so you can continue to grow as a freelancer.
Holding a full-time job and working on the side cannot be easy. You’ll have to carefully manage schedules so you can make money but also keep up with personal commitments and obligations. This is especially true if you’re a single parent or caring for elderly dependents. Learn to juggle schedules so you have enough time to devote to your freelance contractor career. But, ensure that you don’t compromise on your health and quality of output in everything you do.
As long as you’re working in an established company, you need not worry about managerial tasks. These can include choosing the best-paying jobs, advertising your business as a freelance contractor, or creating and sending proposals. Nor, will you have to worry about acquiring clients, keeping track sheets of assignments completed and delivered, and getting paid in time. An important facet of freelance working is to negotiate prices that are fair and reasonable so you make good money. Once you begin working on the side, you’ll have to learn all these skills as well. By managing such tasks efficiently, you’ll have a better chance at maximizing your earnings while working on the side.
You just got the job and plan to sign a contract that outlines your relationship with the company. Just like with any agreement, it’s a good idea to carefully read through everyone and know what you are getting into. Freelance Writing has a few things you should consider before signing a contract.
When you are asked to sign a contract for an assignment, you should carefully consider the following:
Can you ask for payment for web archival rights separately, or is it bundled into your First Rights clause?
Will your story be turned into an audio podcast for which you could charge more in terms of “electronic media” rights?
Does the market pay “kill fees”?
Would you retain “reprint rights”?
Is the contract for “exclusive” use?
Scrutinizing each contract you win pays off long-term and gives you insight into the various actions that go on in the publishing world. Be alert, keep your eyes and ears open and always check the contract for hidden opportunities.
Have you considered setting up a portfolio site? Showcasing past and present projects is a fantastic way to show off the work you’re proud of and attract new clients. If you want more clients to hire you and see what you’re made of before you even send them your resume Skill Crush mentions this is a wonderful way to do that.
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to demonstrate your technical skills is by having an amazing portfolio site of your own. If you want to be taken seriously as a new freelancer, you’re going to need a website that:
Showcases your expertise.
Highlights relevant past experiences.
Shows who you are.
Includes your contact information so that potential clients can easily find you.
Plus, a stellar portfolio can really help you out if you don’t have a lot of job experience to prove that you know your stuff.
The purpose of your portfolio is to educate, spark interest, and convince potential clients that they’ll want to choose you for their technical needs. That’s why it’s worth investing time into deciding what to feature on your portfolio and how it’s being displayed—before you start looking for new projects.
Once your portfolio site is up, start including a link to the site within your email signature and on your social profiles.
Figuring out your rates is also an essential part of freelancing to maximize your earnings. If you don’t charge enough, you’ll have a hard time making ends meet, and if you ask for them to pay you too much, it’ll be hard to keep clients around. Plus, they'll be less likely to give you more work. See what else ElleVest has to say on the topic:
Figuring out the value of what you do can at first seem like a challenge. You don’t want to just spout out a number that “sounds good,” or “seems right.” I made that mistake on my first couple of projects. I based a flat fee mostly on what I’d heard other designers were charging for their services — and realized that it wasn’t a fair price when I got an email for a fifth round of revisions. Since my estimate didn’t incorporate any guidelines around process, I was stuck.
Now I know to determine the scope of work requested, what the deliverables are for each project, and I work in time for rounds of revision. This helps me give clients a high and low estimate, based on best and “worst” case scenarios, as far as hours and timelines.
Another option is asking your client what their budget is for the project, and what problem your work will solve for them.
“If you decide to go full-time as a freelancer, figuring out what to charge is even more important.”
Take your personal expenses into account, as well as any new costs you’ll need to cover once you’re self-employed. Think health insurance, accounting services, good Wi-Fi, and up-to-date software and equipment. This is called a “survival rate,” but you want to earn more than enough to survive.
If you’re a full-time freelancer, you won’t have the benefit of a 401(k) with company matching. But you can still invest in your retirement with an IRA. If you’re under 50 years of age in 2019, you can contribute up to $6000 per year — Ellevest recommends aiming for this number.
And don’t forget taxes (the IRS won’t let you!). Plan to set aside about 30% of your freelance income for quarterly state and federal taxes. Some freelancers in big cities set aside a little more for big city taxes. When you’re an independent contractor, taxes aren’t taken out of your paychecks like they are by your regular employer, and you’ll pay an additional self-employment tax of 7.5%.
After your business is all set up and you’ve got a steady amount of work from clients, you need to learn how to focus. Earlier we mentioned how essential time management is, and focusing coincides with that. Here are a few ways to stay focused as a freelancer from Freelancer.
How good or poor your concentration is on your tasks directly affects the time you spend on them. More distractions mean longer time to finish a task. It pays to have an environment that gives you intense focus. When you work from home, distractions are popping out more often from every corner of the house (unless you live alone). Set up your home office or rent in a coworking space when your house turns chaotic.
Are you ready to start an online business as a successful freelancer? You’ll need some guidance on how to get there, and we can help with that Check out our free webinar training for tips on how to maximize your earnings and attract new clients on the web!