The workforce is drastically changing. Most companies now more than ever before are embracing the independent contractor. Basically, freelancers or independent contractors are in high demand. Companies both start-ups and large organizations are starting to appreciate the benefits of having flexible talent.
Are you ready to take the plunge?
Your friends have been doing it. So far, they’ve been successful at it and some even earning six figures from the comfort of their home or home office.
Is it a good time to get in?
You’ve struggled with the idea for a while, debating on whether to ditch your 9 to 5 job and join freelancing or not. Finally, you have decided to take the plunge. But the question is how do you get started as a freelancer? What are some of the basic requirements to become a freelancer?
1. A computer with internet access
Before you can make any step, you need a computer. It doesn’t matter in which size or form it comes in as long as it’s functioning and can connect to the internet.
Unless you’re into designing and such which requires something powerful, a notebook, chrome book, laptop or desktop will be ideal for you to get started.
Yes, there are a few jobs you might be able to use your smartphone, however, this might limit you at some point.
If you don’t own one, borrow from a friend, rent one if you have such options around you, go to a cyber café and work from there or a co-working space nearby.
Whatever it takes, just make sure you have access to a working computer and reliable internet connection.
2. Find a profitable niche
Everyone is good at something.
The question you should be asking yourself is, how profitable is that niche that you are good in?
Do you need to upskill to have an advantage over your competitors? Take some time and evaluate your current skills.
Search forums in your niche and try to gauge what your peers and even potential clients are looking for.
If you feel unsure about your current set of skills, consider enrolling for online lessons to be more competitive.
There are both free and paid courses out there; all you have to do is look in the right places.
3. Build your portfolio
Unlike traditional jobs, when it comes to freelancing, most clients are interested in seeing what you are capable of delivering.
Are you able to solve their problems?
Are you bringing something extra to the table?
If they hire you, are you going to be an asset to the company?
Since the two of you have never met, one of the best ways to showcase your potential to a client is by having a good portfolio.
It doesn’t matter which field you are in. Whether you’re into design, writing or marketing, you need a portfolio of past projects you’ve worked on.
If this is a new field you’re venturing into, before setting out to find clients, work on your portfolio first.
For writers, you can set up a free blog and write articles in your niche.
For creatives, you can create a free account on Behance or Dribble and upload your samples.
4. Where is the best place to start your freelancing career without experience?
You’ve improved your skills, created your portfolio, now you want to earn some money from your investment. Where do you start?
There are several ways to go about it.
a). Cold calling
If you’re good at sales- not all of us have been blessed in this category, you can start looking for leads and calling or emailing them for work.
It’s never easy, some calls will go unanswered, your emails may end up in the spam folder. Persistence is the key. Keep doing it, keep refining your emails and at some point, you’ll land a client.
Have you ever thought of using social media to get clients?
As you get social, also be on the lookout for potential clients.
Post relevant content.
Be active in groups that are aligned to your niche to be able to get tips and referrals from others in the same field as you.
Talk to your friends, family; let them know what you are doing. It’s only by talking to people that they’ll be able to know what you are good at and that way if an opening comes up they can always alert you.
c). Freelance job boards
This is one of the easiest ways of getting started as a freelancer.
Why do I say it’s easy?
All you have to do is set up an account; make it as marketable as you can. Think a SEO friendly profile. And start bidding for jobs.
It’s a competitive option though as you are competing against millions of others with similar skills.
Do whatever it takes to stand out.
Make sure your cover letter stands out, let the client know you’re the perfect candidate to help them solve whatever problem they have, at a friendly cost and within the shortest time possible.
As you pursue your freelancing career, just remember this is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time to build but the benefits are worth it.