The freelance economy in the US is worth more than $1.2 trillion dollars—are you eager to get a piece of the pie?
Technology and remote work have changed the way we do business, creating more and more opportunities for freelancers. As long as you have a computer and internet, you can work from anywhere in the world—an amazing feeling.
However, do you know how to be a freelancer? Don’t hand in your resignation quite yet, as working for yourself takes some planning and preparation.
To learn more, keep reading to find the steps required to become a successful freelancer.
Choose a Focus
The word ‘freelance’ has a broad meaning, as it can mean just about any gig or project you take on for a client. Your first step is to work out your niche, or focus.
Think about your interests, skills, and abilities, but also browse freelancing sites to get an idea of how much each niche can earn. For example, you might want to work as a freelance web developer if you’re tech-savvy, but you might need to invest in some web design courses first.
There’s a wide range of choices if you want to freelance though, which is great news! Many freelancers work as writers, editors, virtual assistants, graphic designers, or software programmers.
However, you can also freelance offline, doing things like walking dogs, delivering food, or driving for Uber or Lyft.
Create a Business Plan
Once you’ve worked out your specialty, spend some time creating a business plan. Work out what services you’ll offer, your pricing, and what sets you apart from the competition.
Just as you would if opening a small business, thinking about your marketing strategy, unique selling points, and monthly expenses.
It can help to set goals for yourself so that you have something to work towards. A freelance designer, for example, might plan to design one website a month for their first year of business.
Goals are important for staying motivated and reaching your financial targets.
Build a Website
Although not essential, many freelancers find it good for business to have their own website. This is your platform for introducing yourself to clients, showcasing your best work, and outlining your pricing.
Luckily, building a website is easier than ever, with plenty of free or low-cost options available from sites like WordPress or Wix. Take the time to learn about SEO as well, as this will help your website get noticed.
Many freelancers also use Linkedin, either in addition to their website or instead of. Linkedin is a powerful tool for networking, connecting with clients, and looking for work, so it’s worth the time.
Network, Network, Network
Once you’re ready to land your first client, it might be harder than you think. Here’s why—yes, there’s a huge demand for freelancers, but there’s also plenty of competition.
With so many people eager to work for themselves, one of the best ways to find clients in your early days is by networking. Start by reaching out to your friends and family, letting them know that you’ve launched your first business—maybe they’d be willing to spread the word?
You can also reach out to former colleagues and share your new business on social media, which can help get you noticed.
Freelancers need to hustle, so make an effort to attend as many networking events or trying events as possible. There are plenty of conferences, events, and meet-ups where you can connect with fellow freelancers and potential clients.
You never know who you might meet!
As you start to get more and more clients, your business is really taking off! However, it can also be overwhelming when you start to juggle multiple projects and deadlines.
To avoid dropping the ball, you need to stay organized. Many people use project management software, particularly one designed for freelancers—this feature will help simplify deadlines and project milestones.
You’ll also want to stay organized when it comes to your finances and taxes. Since many freelancers have unstable income, it helps to build up your savings for the slower months.
Keep in mind that you’ll also need to pay income tax on your earnings, however, there are a large number of deductions available for self-employed workers. Freelancers often pay tax quarterly, as it can be easier than paying a lump sum at the end of the year.
Deliver Great Work
As a freelancer, it helps to build up regular clients. That way, you don’t need to spend so much time looking for work and you can maximize your time.
To do this, aim to always deliver amazing work. Put your first foot forward, always meet your deadlines, and treat clients with respect and professionalism.
This will help you get noticed and remembered by clients, who might even refer you to others.
Learn How to Be a Freelancer With These Tips
After reading the guide above, you hopefully now know more about how to be a freelancer. It’s exciting, challenging, and allows you to be your own boss, so there are plenty of amazing reasons to get started!
It can be helpful to start your freelance business while you still have your 9-5 job, as it will take some time before it becomes profitable. However, once you’ve built up a few clients, you can say goodbye to office life and never look back!
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