Freelancing has often left a bad taste in many people's mouths. There's a surplus of people that have taken the first steps at making freelance work into a career without being prepared for the initial ups and downs. The sad thing is that many people go in unprepared and don't have a plan. While the freelance world is in no way easy to break into, it is possible and it can be a lot of fun. You often get to interact with clients and build relationships on jobs you enjoy while getting paid to do the work you've dreamed about.
Now, that's not to say you won't have tasks that aren't necessarily your favorite. Especially when you first start freelancing. You'll have to compromise and work on some requests that may not fit your end goal in the freelance world in order to make money. However, when you break through the freelance gates and start building up your clientele, you'll find that some jobs are boring while others are super exciting.
In 2019, surveys estimated that over 57 million Americans work freelance jobs. That's a lot of people in the states alone making money in the freelance world and being their own boss. Want to try your hand at it? Jumpstart your freelance career with these 5 tips.
CRAFTING THE PERFECT RESUME
When you first start pitching to clients, they'll want to know what sets you aside from other freelancers. That's where your resume comes in handy. Whether you choose a more traditional path and write up your portfolio in a Word doc or you put together a website detailing the services you offer, crafting something that shows off your expertise can be the ultimate trick to winning over clients.
Many freelancers put together a basic résumé and adjust it for specific jobs. If you can create a standard outline and add in examples that resemble projects you're pitching for, then that's all the better. It'll show that you have experience for the job while also helping a client see why they'll find value in hiring you. Be sure to routinely update your resume to show potential clients that you're continuously growing your skills.
LEARN TO MARKET YOURSELF
Pitching to clients is difficult. You don't want appear that you’re boasting, but you do want to showcase your field of expertise so that they understand why they should hire you. Don't be shy when it comes to marketing yourself. Share your services with friends, family, and acquaintances. This not only showcases that you're available for hire, but you can usually pick up a small job or two to help jumpstart your freelance career through quick networking.
Once you've completed a job, make sure you ask your client to leave a review so that potential clients in the future can see that you've done a spectacular job. Clients love to see great reviews from freelancers because it shows them that you're reliable when it comes to getting the job done.
Utilize social media, network with other freelancers, and pitch to new clients often. You never know when somebody will take a leap of faith and be your first client.
UNDERSTAND YOUR VALUE AND STICK TO IT
When you first start freelancing, defining your rates can be tricky. You don't want to overprice your services but you do want to get paid for your time and effort on projects. A lot of freelance websites will take a portion of your earnings, which can be harsh on a freelancer trying to make a living. Those same websites are often filled with clients that are looking to spend very little on cheap projects. While this can be discouraging, don't lessen your value just to get your foot in the door.
Reach out to other freelancers and ask what they charge for similar projects. Look at client patterns to see what they typically pay for jobs. You can use this information to compile an average price range to market your services with. As you build up your clientele, make sure you increase your rates to match your time's worth.
Extra tip: be sure to discuss any changes in rates with ongoing clients, or give them a returning client discount so that you protect your partnerships with them.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF REJECTION
One of the hardest parts of freelance work is learning and accepting that not every client will want to work with you. While rejection may seem scary, sometimes it's for your benefit more than anything. Pitching ideas to a client can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. After all, you want that potential client to like you. You want them to want to work with you. The truth is that sometimes they'll want to outsource their requests with somebody that's willing to do the job for a super low price. Don't let that discourage you.
This is where knowing your worth comes into play. The client that you pitched to might be accepting work from a freelancer that low-balled them, and that could harm them. The truth is, you don't want to work for clients that aren't willing to pay for your time and value. Having them reject your pitch not only saves you the headache of negotiating your price and arguing over why your work is worth what your rates are, but it can prevent you from finding out that the client isn't so compatible with your skillset. You'll find that rejection stings, but over time it gets better and you can discover the good in it.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, KEEP GOING
Freelancing isn't easy, and it never will be. You can make it worth your while though. By continuing to put in time, being willing to learn and adjust as the market changes, and always recognizing your worth in the freelance world, you can make this dream an incredible career. The best tip I can give you when it comes to freelancing is to keep moving forward. Continue updating your resume, pitching to new clients, and seeking out new platforms that could bring you business.
The freelance world is limitless when it comes to opportunities, so always be prepared to jump in feet first for a new project. Pinpoint your niche, learn a new skill set, and be fearless. You are talented and you can do anything you put your mind to. Good luck and happy freelancing!