No matter whether you are planning to make it a part-time or a full-time career, the decision to become a freelancer is really a great thing. Now the question is how to become a freelancer, right?
Before moving ahead to walk you through the steps needed to be taken to become a successful freelancer, I would like to first let you know what actually a freelancer is, how freelancing works, the benefits of being a freelancer, and how you can figure out whether or not freelancing is suitable for you.
So let’s get started…
(Note:- If you are too curious to wait any more and just want to jump over to the steps needed to be taken for becoming a freelancer, you can directly click on the “How to become a freelancer” in the table of content given below.)
What is a freelancer and how freelancing works?
A freelancer is a person who sells his services (in which he/she specializes) to individuals or companies without being their employee.
Such professionals have full freedom to schedule their work hours as per their own convenience and can decide by themselves how much work they will take up at a particular point in time.
Freelancers are not bound to work only for a particular individual or organization. Rather they can work for as many clients as they wish. And, they can work from any place in the world. But, typically, they work with a fixed deadline for every project they do.
A freelancer may either decide to charge his client a fixed price for a particular project or charge on the basis of time spent in accomplishing the project by declaring his/her hourly or daily rate.
The process of freelancing generally runs as follows:
Step-1: Either the freelancer contacts the client or the client reaches out to the freelancer with his project to be done.
Step-2: The freelancer declares the price he/she will charge for the project (either a fixed price per project or an hourly rate) and manages to make the client agree at a good rate.
Step-3: Finally, the payment is made by the client once the freelancer completes the project within the agreed deadline (if any). And, in some cases, there are also full or partial advance payments that are made before starting the work.
Benefits of Being a freelancer
When it comes to the benefits of being a freelancer, there are many. I have listed below the most crucial benefits:
- Freedom to schedule your work hours as per your own convenience
- You can work from any place in the world
- Freedom to choose who you would work with and who you wouldn’t
- There is no shortage of work opportunities for freelancers
- Opportunities to work on different projects and for different clients which help you to gather a diversified work experience
- Freedom to take a break from work anytime and go for vacations
Is Freelancing suitable for you?
In case you are currently doing a full-time day job and planning to opt for freelancing as part-time work, there is no need to think too much before making this decision if your employer has no objection to it. But if you are planning to choose freelancing as your full-time career, you should keep a few things in mind as given below:
- Unlike a full-time day job, you will not be paid for the days you will be on leave.
- You will sometimes have to handle too many projects at once.
- You will have to keep on searching for new projects and clients in order to keep new works coming in.
If you are okay with all the above-mentioned conditions, it means you have a suitable mindset for becoming a freelancer and you are good to go.
How to Become a freelancer?
Becoming a freelancer is not as difficult as you may think. To make it easy for you to understand the process, I have divided it into 8 steps described below. All steps are important. So I would recommend you to go through the entire process without skipping even a single step.
Step-1: Choosing a suitable niche
The very first step in the process to become a freelancer is to choose a specific niche in which you are going to work or offer your services as a freelancer. There are various fields to choose from as a freelancer like content writing, web development, graphic design, and so on…Though as a newbie, you might be thinking to work in any niche you are offered a project in.
But once you get a bit experienced, you will come to realize that specialization in a specific niche helps in earning more. That’s because the professionals who are specialists in a specific work typically charge higher than general professionals who are open to accepting any type of project.
Step-2: Finding a platform
There is no doubt that getting clients through references or via social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) is also a good way to move on your path of a freelancing career. But freelancing platforms (like Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, Upwork.com, etc) are also quite popular these days. Such platforms or websites make it easy for both the freelancers and clients to meet each other. Using freelancing websites for getting jobs or projects always keeps new works coming in.
Now the question is which freelancing platform you should choose for connecting with your potential clients. There are plenty of such platforms available out there, all of which have their own terms and conditions and different models or systems of the workflow. You should go for the one/ones that are found most suited to your earning expectations and other crucial requirements.
Step-3: Creating profile
When it comes to profile, it is actually something that will tell your potential clients about your qualification, all your skills, expertise, experiences, and your achievement as well. It should make him realize that you are the best match for the job he is going to offer.
Freelancing websites generally provide a ready-made profile template to be filled out. You should fill out all the necessary details carefully and try to keep the profile as short as possible without missing any important details.
Step-4: Building an impressive portfolio
It is quite obvious that the skills and experience that you have mentioned in your profile are considered to be authentic only if you have supported the profile with a portfolio illustrating those skills and experience.
Now you must be wondering how you would be having a portfolio of work if you are a newbie. In that case, you should create a sample work portfolio. Or you can also work at low rates as a beginner so as to build your portfolio first.
Step-5: Deciding price to be charged
If you are planning to adopt freelancing as a full-time career, you should keep in mind all your monthly expenses while deciding the price you are going to charge for your work. However, as a beginner, you cannot charge as high as highly experienced freelancers in your space are charging.
When it comes to the determination of the price of work, it actually depends on both skills and experience. Still, you should not charge so low that the quality of your work is considered to be very poor.
Step-6: Finding clients or projects
The next step in the process is to find clients or projects. While applying for projects or jobs on a freelancing website, you should put a light on your skillset and experience in your cover letter. Don’t mention in your cover letter the skills that are not, in any way, relevant to the job requirement. Moreover, you should also try to emphasize the point why you are the best match for the job posted by the client.
If you think you are not capable of doing a particular job on time or you don’t have the required skills or experience, you should not proceed to apply for that. Thus you will be able to keep yourself away from negative feedback from clients.
Step-7: Maintaining good relations with clients
With more than 5 years of my own experience in freelancing, if I have to answer the question “what is the best method to keep the old clients coming back to you over and over again”, I would simply say it is maintaining good relationships with clients and offering quality work every time. Yes, it’s true!!
Now you must be wondering how you can maintain good relations with your clients. Don’t worry, below I have listed some killer tips that will guide you on this aspect of freelancing:
- Always deliver the best works to your clients and never compromise with quality.
- Complete your work within the agreed deadline.
- Respect all the instructions given by your client and follow them actively.
- Actively and timely respond to all the queries/questions asked by your clients.
- Never deny any revision or edits asked by your client in the submitted/delivered work.
Step-8: Maintaining a strong digital presence for personal branding
Personal branding helps in attracting more clients to a freelancer. And, digital presence helps in personal branding. A strong digital presence will help you a lot in making new potential clients trust you.
You can create a website for displaying and promoting your freelance services. If you are not comfortable with that, you can simply display your services on social media platforms. So make and maintain a professional profile on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, etc.
- Start freelancing before quitting your day job as leaving the job and then going for freelancing might be risky.
- Never deliver poor quality work even at a lower price. If you are not happy with the offered price, it’s better to say a clear “No” rather than accepting the project and delivering the work with poor quality. If you are in need of work and ready to work even at a low price, you should give your best in that case.
While considering the freelancers for a new project, clients always relate them with the quality of works they have delivered in the past. Delivering poor quality work will hamper your reputation in the eyes of the client and thus he will never consider you for a project with a higher budget.
- Always pay attention to your competitors as it can help in strengthening your skills as required. Also, it will keep you aware of the market standards.
The small and large companies worldwide are taking the help of freelancers in their work these days as these freelancers are experts in their jobs and there happens to be less pressure on both sides. Freelancing is both challenging and at the same time flexible. It might sound interesting at times but can also prove to be troubling quite often if you don’t get proper guidance from professionals.
Moreover, you need to hone up your skills and keep yourself updated with the latest trends in order to reach heights of success. You also need to learn about your flaws and how to scrap them away. The flexibilities in the work and a dominating free environment make you more enthusiastic about freelancing. So, just keep up your spirit high, work more, worry less, and race up in the journey of freelancing with excitement.
I hope this guide on how to become a successful freelancer was easy to understand and also helped you clear all your doubts about the topic. If you, still, have any queries, please make use of the comment section given below.
And, if you think this step-by-step guide really helped you, help others by sharing it on social media platforms.
A Successful Freelancer with years of experience!! Deepak Setia is the founder of GuideByTips. He is also a Level-2 Seller at Fiverr (one of the most popular online marketplaces for freelance services).