Author: Tatiana Rivers- Tati Rivs Social Media Marketing
Freelancing Is A Growing Industry
There are many good reasons why freelancing may sound interesting to you. After all, it is an industry that has seen rapid growth over the past few years. Much of this is due to new technologies that are making it easier to work remotely.
Freelancing allows you to sell your skills from anywhere that has an internet connection. This is obviously appealing for a multitude of reasons which can apply to a variety of generations from the young to retirees. It is also fairly easy to enter, even without any experience.
If you have been considering freelancing but don’t know where to start, we are listing these 12 easy steps you need to take to start freelancing today, no experience necessary.
1. Pick Your Niche
This is the fun part. What would you like to get paid to do? Have you always dreamed of writing or maybe you want to test video games all day or better yet, create one? Maybe film editing is something you always secretly thought you would be great at. There are companies looking for freelancers in practically every industry imaginable. What’s more, if you choose to be a freelancer, you can start fresh and be anyone you want to be. You get to create a new profile and persona. Think about what you want to do and start there.
2. List Your Skills
Now that you have chosen your dream job what skills do you currently have that would make you good at this? You will need to know these when putting together your portfolio. Make a list and do some research on what skills are required for your dream freelancing career.
3. Fill in The Blanks
If you want to be a writer but don’t have any samples of your writing, you will need to get some pieces together. If you want to be a social media manager but don’t have any profiles to show, create some and use them as your samples. You can create the proof of the skills you have on your own. This is also a great way to test if you truly have what it takes to follow your new passion. Want to be a blogger? Start a blog today, there are free blog sites like Weebly and Wix that are a cinch to set up. Want to work on YouTube editing? Make a YouTube Channel and start playing around with videos. There is nothing that is stopping you from you getting the experience you want except your own drive and time. Any work you do, (even if it is just you playing around), can be used in your portfolio, so start practicing your skills today.
In addition, if you think you need a little more knowledge in your niche area, head to YouTube or Google and search for the qualifications you want to improve on. There are hundreds if not thousands of free how-to videos online that will teach you how to improve your skills and/or get new ones.
4. Create Your Brand
Having a brand is what will help you stand out from the crowd. To create a brand check out our Pinterest page for lots of tips on how. By using free sites like Canva you can easily add some branding details to your social media and portfolio that will make you look like you have been doing this for years. Pick some fonts, a colour scheme and maybe even a logo that you think represents you well. Use this throughout your website, blog and social channels.
5. Take A Good Profile Picture
Your profile photo makes a difference believe it or not. You will be using it a lot so make sure you take a good one. Check out this post on How to Take the Perfect Profile Picture at Home.
6. Make A Portfolio
Having a portfolio is a very important part of promoting your freelancing business. A great way to start is to use a free blog site. These sites even have portfolio themes built in that will walk you through step by step. Use that brand we talked about here to make yourself look professional. You will want to upload samples of your “work” here. Use your blog link to send your portfolio to prospective clients and post it on freelancing sites. Keep your portfolio updated as you move along in your freelancing career. You should have an about page which will give your potential clients some more information about you and your passion. Don’t forget to promote your portfolio through your social media for added exposure and credibility.
7. Join Freelance Sites
Most freelance sites like Upwork, Guru, Freelancer and Sage Groupy are free to join and will help you create your freelancing profile through an easy step by step process. These sites also give you valuable insights in what your ideal clients are looking for as well as research into other freelancer profiles. The more sites you work on, the better it will be in the beginning stages so sign up to as many as possible
8. Promote Yourself Through Social Media
Although we have already touched on this, it is so important that it deserves another mention. In our blog post; How To Advertise Yourself As A Freelancer, we go over the power of social media and how it can you in front potential clients. By actively using your social media channels, growing your followers and showcasing your work, you will go from being an unknown freelancer to having exposure, influence and experience, all recorded for the online world to see.
9. Go Pro Bono
If you don’t have any work experience in the area you are pursuing, there is a really easy way to get some. Offer your skills for free. By offering to do a a few projects for free you can get the testimonials and references you need, plus more samples for your portfolio. How much free work you do is up to you. You don’t not want to be taken advantage of but you will want to get your foot in the door, Decide ahead of time on what work you think would be beneficial to your portfolio and do no more than that.
10. Set You Rate
The easiest way to ensure that you are being compensated fairly for a project is to start with an hourly rate. What your rate is depends on your industry and skill level. You can find out what is reasonable by Googling entry level positions in your industry to get an idea. Check out other freelancers rates too that match your skill level as a point of comparison. Here is an infographic on calculating your hourly rate as a freelancer.
11. Decide on a Payment Method
Make sure you know how you would like to be paid ahead of time and get some of your financial expectations in order. Freelancers are often paid biweekly or monthly and usually it is by an electronic method like an etransfer or Paypal. Do your research on what way is best for you and decide on a currency if you are willing to take on international projects. See our blog post on Taxes and Accounting Tips for Freelancers.
12. Have a Contract Ready
You may not have your first gig yet but when you do get it, be ready. Some freelance sites have contracts built in but it is best if you also make up your own that will go over things like your preferred payment schedule, project termination rules, methods of communication etc. For tips on how to create a freelancing contract check out Freelancing 101: All About Contracts.
There you have it! You can easily start a freelance career today if you follow these 12 steps. For more tips check out our blog post on How To Stand Out Against Your Freelance Competitors