Do you hate working for someone else? Would you rather stay home and work, or work from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection and a connectable device? If so, you might have a future in freelancing. The life of a freelancer is free, rewarding and lucrative if you are able to find your niche. If you want to get started sooner rather than later, here are a few freelancing tips you can put into place right now. You never know, this time tomorrow you might be calling yourself a freelancing professional.
Freelancers – They Come in All Sizes and Shapes
These freelancing tips can be used for any freelancing professionals, and there are all types. Think of a job, any job, and you can bet that there are freelancers out there providing services for that job. There are freelance photographers, writers, graphic designers, accountants, personal assistants and even engineers.
The freelancing term essentially means that you work on your terms. You don’t have a boss to answer to and you don’t have to clock in or out according to any set schedule. You make the rules, you set the schedule and you work on your terms, as long as those terms are agreeable to the clients who hire you.
First, you must decide what position you will fill as a freelancer, which you probably already know based on your skills, training and ambitions. If you already have a niche in mind, the next step is to gain your first client.
Marketing for Your Initial Clients
To become a freelancing professional, you must put your name out there to allow potential clients to know that you are open for business. You should start with a website that you can drive interested parties to through your email signature, and via links that you place on forums, social media and anywhere else you want to leave your mark online.
There are also job boards like Elance and Odesk that allow you to bid for freelancing projects that you are interested in undertaking. Answering ads on Craigslist is another option for freelancing hopefuls looking to take on their first client.
The rule when marketing for your first freelancing job is to be incessant. Don’t send more than one query to any single potential client, but do send queries to as many clients as you have time for; and make sure each one highlights your skills and abilities. Remember, you’re selling yourself, and you had better learn to do so with style if you hope to be successful.
What You Will Need
Clients who are interested in you will want to know that you can do the job properly. A potential client interested in a designer might ask for a portfolio of the freelancer’s work, as well as website addresses where the client can go online to see examples of the designer’s work in action.
Compile a portfolio of your best work, even if you have to compile it from scratch, or come up with some way to show off your best efforts to willing clients.
When you finally have a client who is interested, you will want to discuss pricing and a timeframe when the project in question (or projects) will be completed. The pricing aspect is tricky, as you want to be competitive without seeming too cheap or too expensive. Research your competitors to help you form a pricing structure that will make you enticing to clients while still allowing you to earn enough money to live the lifestyle you want to lead.
For your first client, you might want to ask for the first half of the payment up front, whereby you will be paid the rest of the payment upon the submission of the finished project. This protects you, the new freelancing professional, and it protects the client from spending the entire shebang on a freelancer who is just starting out.
The fact is, most freelancers are flakes. If you can prove the stereotype wrong and you can prove to always be there for clients when they need you, they will always come to you for all of their freelancing needs.
Taking on Projects
The first time your first client gives the go-ahead to begin a project is one of overwhelming joy for most freelancing professionals when they’re first starting out. You might feel very nervous sending over your first quote, but when the client says yes to the price and terms you’ve set, you’re going to be overjoyed. Now you have to come through for your client, and possibly exceed the person’s expectations.
Whatever project(s) you are completing for the client, take care that everything is correct the first time, and always get the finished project in by the deadline the client has set. Once the project is submitted, invoice the client for the rest of the payment and move on to the next exciting freelancing project.
Of course there is much more that goes into the life of a freelancer. For instance, there is the option to use contracts to keep clients on the hook and paying you month after month, and then there are the lessons to keep records of everything in case any disputes come up sometime down the road.
For right now, just keep marketing yourself and your freelancing skills and go above and beyond for your clients; and eventually you will build a healthy clientele that keeps you busy (and solvent) for some time to come.
So back to the original question; why freelancing? There is no freer feeling than waking up when you want to and working in your pajamas if you want to, as long as you keep your clients happy and returning again and again. That is the life of a freelancer and there is no better way to make a living.
Now that you have a few freelancing tips under your belt, it’s time to take action. Your future clients await. Don’t keep them waiting too long.