If you have landed here, it’s clear that you want to know How to Start Freelancing in 2021. So in this blog post, I have shared tips to start freelancing in 2021 from home.
Being self-employed is exciting and challenging. Most trial and error, and you find success with creativity and perseverance.
On the other side of this struggle is the reward – doing what you love, having flexibility and being your boss.
Taking the first step is often the most challenging part. You realize that there is a lot you don’t know, and you have to learn along the way.
It can be overwhelming, and those who are not ready for challenges give up too soon.
I started my career as a freelancer three years ago. It began with graphic design.
Over the years, I’ve done various service-based jobs, including copywriting, photography, advertising, public speaking and even a wedding DJ (short-lived).
I am currently freelancing as a web designer and marketing consultant.
If you’re new to freelancing, here are some of the first steps you can take.
Quit Your Day Job
It is no more than a step, but it is essential.
There’s a toxic mantra in the freelancing world to quit your job and get into everything. It is the belief that you will never be successful unless you break away from everything that is “holding you back.”
You will not have money that comes by putting unnecessary pressure on you to generate income.
There was a time in my life when all I did was freelancing, and it was one of the most difficult.
I didn’t always have money, I had credit card debt, and I was constantly worried. Eventually, I had to go back to a typical day job to stabilize my life.
Your day job is a gift to help your freelance career. It will pay the bills while you continue to freelance. It saves you money to have a runway when you decide to switch.
If it’s a desk job, you’ll likely find free time during working hours to work on your freelance career. If it’s in the same industry, you can practice improving your skills.
Yes, it’s a dream to turn your freelance side hustle into your primary career eventually, but there’s no need to rush it.
You are making the transition very fast can end your freelance career pretty quickly.
Be respected in your talent.
It’s clear that to freelance, you need to be skilled at something, but knowing what level you need to be and the right timing can be tricky.
On the one hand, you have to be good enough for people to pay you. There is an unhealthy notion among freelance journalists that you have to be just one step ahead of your students.
I guess that’s cheating their customers. Be good at what you do for your customers and your reputation. Take time to develop these skills.
And you don’t have to be the best. You will be able to grow in skills and experience throughout your career. The main important thing is to start today.
How good “good enough” is depends on your industry, competition and customers, so you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Have some projects in your portfolio
Before you get your first paying client, you need to have some projects in your portfolio.
If you do this for your business, you’ve got a head start – but make sure you don’t get in trouble using it.
If you don’t have a tangible portfolio of your skill, such as fitness training, get references.
In case you don’t get anything, you still have some options. Do small, free work for your friends and family.
Have them write references. Or at least make mockups for mock projects. The key is to show your business – customers won’t take your word for it.
The more your portfolio, the better, but a solid three projects and references would be a good start.
Gather your things together
There are a few things you need to run a freelance business.
Firstly create a website. It will help your customers find you, learn about you, connect with you, and possibly pay you.
However, get an email address that is not your personal Gmail. Ideally, something like “[email protected]” to make it look professional.
Secondly, create a payment method. It could be an online invoicing or payment setup or a physical credit card cleaner for face-to-face transactions.
Next, you will need a business bank account to put your money in. One of the most important things about a side job is to keep your business income/expenses separate from your personal – this will save you a lot of headaches and problems in the future.
Start with your network.
Now let’s come to find a few paying customers.
It’s easiest to start with people you know – friends, family or former coworkers. You may not get any work from them, but they know people. Your first customers will most likely come from referrals from friends.
It may sound strange, but let people know that you’re starting freelancing and talk about what you’re doing. Chances are, someone will know someone who will hire you.
When you get these first few clients, it’s essential to ask for two things – a reference and a recommendation.
The connection is added to your portfolio, and the referral keeps you getting more business.
Earlier in my freelance career, I received a large number of clients from word-of-mouth referrals. But my biggest mistake was not getting references and asking for more advice.
I soon ran out of clients in my network, and I had to cold-blood people for projects.
Finding a job in job postings
To get started, check job postings to find some jobs.
At first, you may need to take pretty low-paying jobs. It will be time-consuming, and you will get lots of unresponsive, low pickers and scammers.
It does not devalue your time or skills or do your work for nothing. Soon you will want to raise your prices and set a standard for the types of clients you want to work with.
But first, you have to roll the ball and get something. You need to earn at least some dollars first.
Your look will depend on what you do but consider places like Craigslist, Upwork, Fiverr, Indeed, or Facebook groups.
There are probably job boards for your particular industry as well, so do some research for those.
Read More : Initial Public Offering
Plan your growth
Once you have your first few paying clients, you will want to grow your freelance career by acquiring more clients and getting paid more for your work.
However, you will encounter some challenges that come naturally with freelancing.
After finishing a project, there will be an occasional time when you need to look for another client – when you don’t get paid.
You will realize that how much you earn is limited by how much you have to work, and your potential income will feel like a ceiling.
You will lose some time with wrong customers demanding, paying late, not paying, or not happy to work.
You will have a lot of increasing pain, but there are ways to get over it. Here are some quick tips.
- Identify your ideal client soon so you can focus on narrowing down who you’re working with and acquiring higher-quality clients.
- Try to create service packs with different tiers and price points. It will eliminate the back and forth of negotiations and weed out the low pickers.
- Create a marketing plan and plan things. It will ensure that you always reach potential customers while working on projects.
- Working with existing customers is more straightforward than finding new customers. Try to create recurring services, free follow-up services or off-season services for your past and current customers.
When you start your freelance career, you probably won’t have a lot of money to spend. We are trying to make the first amount of money.
But freelancing is a job, and there are things you need to set up to run a business. Things that cost money, like websites, billing software, or accounting tools.
Fortunately, there are some great free options to help you get started with zero money in your pocket.