How to Succeed at Being a Freelancer

For many, making a successful career as a freelancer would be a dream come true. Freelancing offers a level of freedom that few careers offer and enables people to make a living using the talents they enjoy expressing the most.

However, finding success as a freelancer can also be difficult at times. If you are considering striking out on your own for a career in freelancing, follow this guide to give yourself the best shot at success.

Choose a Field That’s in Demand

Plenty of fields that are well-suited for a freelancing career are also in high demand, and which field you choose depends entirely on your own interests and skill-sets. Some fields that are popular choices for freelancers include graphic design, web development, copy-writing, marketing, and photography, though there are plenty of other more niche fields as well.

The important part is to choose a field that aligns with your skills and one for which there is significant demand. In the initial stages of freelancing, finding clients can be challenging no matter what field you are in. If you choose a low-demand field, though, it may prove almost impossible to keep the bills paid.

Treat Freelancing Like a Business

When you work as a freelancer, you are a business owner selling a service. The more your treat your freelancing career as a business that you own rather than a job you are employed at, the more likely you will be to succeed.

Aspects of treating freelancing like a business include keeping up with your expenses so that you can deduct them from your taxes, carefully maintaining the reputation of your services, and applying fundamentals of business in order to grow your freelancing career the same way any other service provider would grow their customer base.

Learn how to Market Yourself

No matter what field you are in, you’re going to have to develop some degree of marketing skills in order to succeed as a freelancer. Remember that competition is stiff, and finding new clients who are willing to hire you over the other options that are available will require you to effectively market yourself. In fact, you may find that you spend almost as much time marketing your services as you do actually performing them, especially in the beginning.

Learn how to write a great resume and proposal, build and manage a web presence for your services, and leverage any reviews, awards, or other accolades that you have available. If you can effectively market yourself to potential clients, you’ll have much more success finding a steady stream of work.

Look for Repeat Business

A client who is willing to give you repeat business is much more valuable than a one-off job. As discussed above, finding new clients can take a lot of marketing effort. If the payoff for a new client is one project, then that effort can be hard to justify unless the project is large or the effort required to secure it is minimal.

By finding clients who are willing to give you repeat business, though, you can gradually reduce the time you spend marketing yourself to new clients and instead spend your time working for a select few clients who consistently send you new work. In the long run, this is a much more cost and time effective strategy than continually searching for new clients and one-off projects.

Set Aside Money in Savings

If you’re used to a consistent paycheck that is the same each week, switching to freelancing can be a big adjustment. Some weeks, you may make five times what you normally do, and other weeks you may make next to nothing. Income from freelancing can sometimes be a roller coaster of highs and lows, especially if you haven’t yet secured a base of repeat clients.

It’s important, then, to prepare for the lows by setting aside money in savings. When you have a really good week, or month, or any other period of time, put your extra money in a savings account. When the roller coaster of freelancing income dips back down again, you may have to dip into it.

Start Low and Raise Your Rates Over Time

Chances are when you are first starting out, you are not going to be able to demand the same rates as someone who has been in the business for several years. This isn’t even necessarily a reflection of the skills you bring to the table, but more so a reflection of the experience you have to show when pitching to new clients.

When you’re first starting out as a freelancer, finding work – any work – is the name of the game. Even just a handful of reviews and experience to show can make all the difference. Without that experience, though, the main way you have to set yourself apart is the rates you charge.

By starting out with relatively low rates, you can more easily attract new clients in the beginning and use the experience and reviews those clients give you to start steadily pursuing higher paying jobs over time. Doing this may take some patience and resolve, but it’s the most effective way to steadily build a successful freelancing career.

Go Above and Beyond

Without a boss standing over your shoulder, it can become tempting to cut corners – and many freelancers do. However, one of the best ways to secure repeat clients and great reviews is to always go above and beyond.

Remember the old adage that the customer is always right, and go into every project determined to please them no matter what it takes. If a client proves to be more trouble than they are worth, you don’t have to take any future work from them. However, for the project(s) you’ve already agreed to complete, leaving them 100% satisfied should be your number one priority.

Maintain a Social Life

Freelancing can sometimes be a very solitary pursuit. While working from home may sound like a dream come true – and, in many ways, it is – you may also find that you miss the socialization that working at a traditional job provides.

It’s all too easy to become somewhat of a hermit when you take up freelancing as a full-time job. However, doing this may lead you to get burned out quickly. Instead, take advantage of the freedom that freelancing offers by going out from time to time, traveling, and maintaining an active social life that exists outside of your career. Remember that one of the biggest advantages of freelancing is that you get to decide when you take off and where you work from. Make the most of that freedom and don’t waste it by spending week after week locked away in your home.

Continually Hone Your Skills

No matter what field they are in, freelancers should continually look for ways to improve their services. Research your field, attend workshops, take the time analyze what you’ve done right and what you’ve done wrong, and overall continuously look for ways that you can hone your skills.

Remember that improved skills mean happier clients and better-paying jobs. If you can continuously hone your skills over time, your success as a freelancer will trend upward over time as well.

10 Ways Freelancers can Make Money Online

10 Ways Freelancers can Make Money Online

Today, the market is filled with more exciting possibilities for freelancers than ever before, and it is now completely possible for talented individuals to make a great living working entirely online. If working from home as your own boss and at your own pace sounds like a dream come true, you may wish to consider pursuing one of these ten ways that freelancers can make money online.

Graphic Design

There are countless online projects that require the work of a graphic designer. For example, you may be hired to create a logo for a business, design a label for a new product, design a website, design the cover art for a book, and many more.

Graphic design is one of the most popular fields for freelancers, and with good reason. Working as a graphic designer can be done entirely online, and there is certainly no shortage of projects available. If you have a talent for producing great designs, you could easily start a freelance graphic design career.

Writing Content

Another of the most popular online jobs for freelancers, working as a freelance writer comes with plenty of opportunities. Businesses have a lot to gain by publishing high-quality content on their website. For one, well-written content helps engage and inform potential customers. In addition to this, though, quality content is also great for SEO, helping businesses get their websites to show up higher in the search results.

Working as a freelance writer, you will have the opportunity to write blog posts, web copy, e-books, product descriptions, and much more. Best of all, all you need to do your work is Microsoft Word and an Internet connection.

Proofreading and Editing

Being a great writer does not automatically make you a great proofreader, and vice versa. This is why many companies will choose to hire two different individuals to produce content for them – one to write it and one to edit it.

When working as an editor, you may be hired to edit copy that was completed by an in-house copywriter or another freelancer, hired to edit a book that an author has written, or assigned to any number of other proofreading and editing projects. If you have an excellent understanding of the rules of grammar and the ability to sniff out mistakes, then there are plenty of projects that you can pick up working as an editor or a proofreader.

Transcription and Data Entry

If your typing skills and attention to detail are above average, then transcription and data entry may be the perfect freelancing gigs for you. Transcription is common in the medical, legal, and market research fields, though you will you probably need to be familiar with the terminology before you pick up transcription jobs in one of these fields. Meanwhile, data entry jobs are available in a wide range of fields.

These types of freelancing jobs can be done by most anyone with enough practice and effort, and they can also be completed entirely online.

Online Tutoring

Tutoring is a job that once would have had to be performed in-person, but thanks to the Internet, tutors can now work with their students from anywhere.

Online tutoring can take several different forms, from working with a student via a videoconferencing app such as Skype to getting paid to answer questions. If you have the right credentials, you may even end up teaching an entire classroom of students via a videoconferencing app.

Working as an online tutor will require you to have a pretty extensive understanding of the topic you are tutoring someone in and preferably some credentials in that topic such as a college degree.

Virtual Assistant

In the digital age, working as a secretary no longer requires you to spend your 9-5 inside an office. Now, those who enjoy secretarial work can work from home in the role of a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistants perform many of the same tasks as traditional secretaries, making use of email, messaging apps, and videoconferencing apps in order to communicate with their employer. When working as a virtual assistant, you will likely find yourself doing things such as scheduling meetings, replying to emails, placing orders, and more.

One difference when working as a virtual assistant as opposed to a traditional secretary is that you will likely be working for more than one employer. Many businesses and individuals choose to hire virtual assistants because they do not have enough workload to justify hiring a full-time secretary, so most virtual assistants have several employers they work for in order to fill their schedule.

PR and Marketing

If you are a PR or marketing professional, it’s entirely possible for you to work from home as a freelancer. Working as a freelance marketer is akin to owning your own, one man or one woman marketing firm, and most of the tasks you perform will be the same as a traditional marketer.

There are a lot of roles that fall under the umbrella of PR and marketing, but some roles are better suited for freelancers working online than others. One especially common role for freelance marketers is social media coordinator, which can be done entirely online.

Selling Products

Most freelancers working online are selling their services, but it’s entirely possible to sell products as a freelancer as well. If you are a skilled artist or craftsman then you can sell your creations online on websites such as Etsy or eBay.

Other products that freelancers can create to sell online include E-books, calligraphy invitations, and more. When it comes to selling products online, the sky is the limit, and the product you choose is really only determined by your own interests and skill-sets.

Web and App Development

If you are skilled at coding enough to create custom apps and websites, then finding web and app development jobs online shouldn’t be a challenge. Many clients are in need of custom websites that go beyond what they are able to create themselves, and the same is doubly true for apps which can be even more difficult for a novice to create.

Website and app development is a job that can be performed entirely online as long as you have the right programs on your computer. If you’re good at what you do, web and app development can also pay really well, and it’s completely possible to make a nice career out of it.

3D Modeling and CAD

At first, 3D modeling and computer aided design (CAD) may seem pretty similar to graphic design, however, there are a number of key differences.

Working in 3D modeling or CAD will require you to have a decent bit of technical knowledge and background. More than creating a visually appealing design, 3D modeling requires you to create models of functional products, structures, and more that will demonstrate how they work in the real world.

Most people who go into 3D modeling or CAD will have some background in engineering, though it is possible to teach yourself these skills with enough effort. Once you have the training and the software that it takes to create 3D models, working in 3D modeling and CAD is a job that can be done entirely online.

How to Get Started as a Freelancer Even if You Have No Experience

Working from the comfort of your home, setting your own working hours, drinking your coffee slowly, not dealing with an angry boss, commuting or the office life. All this is possible thanks to freelancing. But how do you reclaim your time, earn that freedom and reap all the benefits if you have no experience?

It’s still possible for anyone. We live in the best times to start an online business and work remotely. If you’re determined and put in the effort, you can achieve that while at your regular job. Once you earn enough as a freelancer, you can quit and dedicate your whole workdays and focus to that so you can build a name for yourself, charge more, and turn it into a business.

However, the starting point is crucial and you should do it right. It will take time, you’ll make changes to your lifestyle, you’ll say ‘no’ to some things too. Here’s exactly what you need to do to get started as a freelancer from scratch:

Start building your portfolio today.

The most important thing to realize about making money online is that you will begin doing the work long before any money comes in. But that’s something you should enjoy, not complain about.

You’re just starting out and have no idea what works and what doesn’t, what clients are looking for, how payments work, what you should charge, etc. So you need to look around first. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be building your portfolio from day one.

How do you do that? Simple. By doing for free the exact things you will be changing for one day.

Define what you’re good at, know more about, or are already working at your regular job (doing that remotely and for yourself is also freelancing and can help you ditch the 9 to 5).

If you’re a writer, for example, you should start writing and publishing your content from day one. The best way to do that is to be a guest contributor on platforms in your niche and start your own blog. When it’s time to contact potential clients, you will simply provide links to your content, so they can know what quality to expect.

If you’re a web designer, you should make your website look professional. You can have a few if you enjoy that and have the time, each targeting the different clients you think you can help in the near future.

Then, you can ask some friends or simply contact businesses without online presence or that have a bad website. Offer them to create a nice one-page website, or fix specific elements of their existing platform. Most will gladly accept. When you do that, ask them for feedback and place these testimonials (together with details about each project) on your website.

Join the right platforms and start offering your services.

Don’t worry. No one expects you to go contact people personally and ask them to pay you for your services. There’s a more professional and easier way to do it. That’s by using the online platforms and marketplaces where employers meet freelancers. FreelanceMyWay is one such example.

You create a profile (more on this below), check out the posted jobs, reply to one or more that fit your skills and seem like a good fit for you, and await your first response.

Of course, that won’t happen right away. Or maybe it will. Depending on how you communicate with the client, what your fee is, and what samples you provide.

Be okay with charging less in the beginning, though. The point is to see these first dollars coming in. Then everything will change. You will be able to call yourself a freelancer. Once you’ve worked with one client, you will analyze the experience and see how you can replicate the process to find another client.

Create a great profile.

Take your time when creating your profile. First impression does matter in the digital world, so do your best.

That means having a quality head-shot. Writing a good description that shares a bit about you and what you do. Try to imagine what a client wants to hear. In your case, your ideal client. And simply add a personal touch to the text so they can get an idea of your personality too.

Then, fill all other information, such as your payment details, hourly rate, exact services that you’re offering, employment history, language skill level, etc. Don’t skip a field as the client will think you have something to hide. Share your knowledge and motivation by focusing on your strengths, though.

Improve your online presence to get found by clients.

Finding your first clients isn’t easy, but it’s just the beginning. From then on, you will be more comfortable with the whole process, will know how to approach people and set the right expectations, discuss deadlines, payment and more.

Getting to the next level, however, happens by growing outside of these platforms made for freelancers and employers and businesses. You can create your very own brand and become an expert in the niche. The more places you appear on, the higher the chance to get found by potential clients.

Do that by publishing content on your blog, create useful resources and email people mentioned in them that you think can link to them from their platforms or can share them with their audience on social media. Make videos talking about the life of a freelancer and the struggles you overcome, so you can get your name on YouTube too and reach more people.

Work on your site in your free time and get all the important brand elements in place – tell your story on the About page, be easily accessible by sharing all your contact details in the Contact page, keep your blog updated, create a great user experience, reply to all comments, have a stunning ‘Hire Me’ page, and more.

Be social.

Last but not least, start networking. Your next client can come from anywhere. And I mean anywhere.

If you keep in touch with old colleagues and let them know about your new business project, they can refer other people to you who need what you’re offering.

Having profiles on all important social media channels and being active on each means you get to connect to an influencer, be found by a journalist who wants to share your story, or bring new visitors to your website from anywhere.

Share your own articles there, but also other content you read. Reply to people’s posts and comments when it’s something about your field, and don’t be afraid to ask your followers questions and start a discussion.

Are you ready to start your journey to becoming a freelancer?

Now that you know what the first steps to becoming a freelancer are, you have no excuse not to begin building your portfolio today, learning things about your niche, and connecting with people online. All this can turn into something big just a year from now if you’re consistent and dedicated.

Most people don’t even give this a try as they think having no experience is an obstacle. But that’s not true. Overcome that mental barrier today and take action in the right direction.

5 Time Management Tips Every Freelancer Should Read

5 Time Management Tips for Freelancers

Managing your time well is a concept that everybody struggles with from time to time, regardless of their job. However, it’s no secret that freelancing, although very tempting due to the freedom you get, can take its toll the most when time management is concerned. This is true for both people who already work full-time and freelance for some extra income and people who are actually freelancing full-time.

Working from home has plenty of benefits, and it can be a dream come true for a lot of people. However, not everything is ideal and perfect with home-based jobs either. After all, you need to make sure that you stick to the schedules and fight the distractions of your personal environment.

There are several tips that can help you stay productive when working from home, but what about time management? After all, the freedom that freelancing allows can be a double-edged sword as it can take up your whole day. As you don’t have fixed working hours, your job can slowly start seeping into parts of your day that were usually reserved for relaxation, hobbies and social gatherings. And if you let this become a habit, aside from pressure and stress, the chances are that you’re going to struggle with the deadlines as well. Luckily, the following practices can boost your freelance time management skills.

1. Shut down all the distractions

Sometimes, managing your time properly seems like an impossible task for the simplest reason – you waste time on distractions. The most common types of distractions when freelancing has everything to do with social networks, and Internet in general. Therefore, this is something that you’ll have to eliminate from the start.

Don’t check your email (unless it’s a business email you need for your freelance job), log out of all social media platforms you use, and refrain from spending time on Google search for topics that have nothing to do with your tasks. Of course, try to create as much peace and order at your home office as well.

2. Work in time chunks

You may think that the longer you work without break, the more productive you’ll be. However, that’s not the case. The so-called Pomodoro technique is the best way for you to manage your time and keep your productivity at its peak. Essentially, this technique allows you to work in shorter time periods, with a small break in between.

For instance, you can work for 25 minutes without stopping, and then take a 5-minute break that you can spend however you want – as long as you don’t think about work. Such practice has proved to be a lot more effective in increasing productivity levels and concentration. If you want to finish your work in time, give it a go.

3. Freelancing is a job!

It seems like an obvious statement, but it’s paramount to recognize freelancing for what it is 100%. Of course you realize this is a job like any other, but it’s not more than that! This is something a lot of freelancers forget easily due to the fact that they work from home, and use their laptop and/or desktop computer as main tools to do the job in question.

Because of this setup and freedom you have, it’s easy to make every moment you spend at home about work. But just like with any other job, you need to set working hours for yourself when you’re working with clients remotely.

4. To-do lists to the rescue

If you’ve never made to-do lists, it’s time to start now! There are many ways to go about this. If you need to add a bit of creativity and personality to your work, you can use an interesting notebook for your to-do lists. On the other hand, you can simply use a task managing application. Whatever you choose to do, the point is to know exactly what your tasks for the day are.

It’s really easy to get lost in work and feel confused when you’re not sure what tasks have the priority for the week, or what you should do next. When making to-do lists, try to make them for a whole week in advance, with every day planned out – realistically!

Of course, there will be times when you’ll have to add some unplanned tasks, but this is exactly why you need to consult your to-do list, and make the necessary changes, so that you begin your freelancing day knowing exactly what to focus on.

5. Track your time

The key aspect of proper time management for freelancers is to know what you’re spending your time on. This goes for both billable and non-billable processes. That way you’ll be able to pinpoint any unnecessary practices as well as distractions you may haven’t been aware of before.

Also, knowing how much time is approximately required for different clients and tasks will be essential information that will allow you to create the best to-do lists, and plan your days ahead efficiently.

Just like there are tools that can help you organize your tasks for the day/week/month, there are tools that can track the time for you as well. Don’t hesitate to make the most out of technology that’s readily available and can assist you in managing your freelance projects better.

How Should Freelancers Prepare for a Recession?

This is How Freelancers Should Prepare for the next Recession

For the past nine years, we’ve enjoyed the longest bull market on record in the United States. However, what goes up must eventually come down, and the market is already showing some serious signs of weakening.

Even optimistic economists predict that we are due a recession within the next few years. The question, then, is how should freelancers prepare for the upcoming recession?

How a Recession will Affect Freelancers

Freelancers aren’t exactly at risk of being laid off due to a recession since they are not completely reliant on any single employer. What they are at risk for, though, is seeing their business sharply decline.

During recessions, businesses of all sizes cut back their expenses and slow down their investments. This means that the budget available to go out and hire a freelance programmer to create a new application or a freelance writer to create a new series of blog posts takes a hit.

The good news for freelancers is that much of the work a freelancer does is going to be considered critical for many companies and likely won’t be the first area where they cut costs. For example, while a company may lay off a lot of lower-level employees during a recession, they aren’t necessarily going to suspend the higher level operations that freelancers are involved with such as marketing and website maintenance.

Nevertheless, companies may still cut back in these areas during a recession, leading to a decreased workload for freelancers. This makes it highly important for freelancers to prepare for the impact of a recession.

How to Prepare for a Recession if You are a Freelancer

Not being completely reliant on a single employer will make it easier for freelancers to weather a recession than many traditional employees. However, making preparations ahead of time is still highly important for freelancers eyeing the down the possibility of a recession in the not so distant future.

The most important thing by far that freelancers must do to prepare themselves for a recession is set aside an adequate amount of savings. Having at least enough money in the bank that you are able to live entirely off of your savings for six months is ideal. Having more is even better.

Compared to bull markets, recessions don’t typically last all that long. Since 1945, the average length of a contraction in the market has been 11 months. Granted, eleven months of economic downturn can be plenty painful, but it’s always helpful knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t too far away. With enough savings in the bank, recessions are survivable.

If you aren’t doing so already, another effective thing you can do to prepare for a recession is to start budgeting your income. Sticking to a budget may not be a requirement for many freelancers when business is good. During a recession, though, having a well-thought-out budget in place can help you avoid financial pitfalls. Since it takes a little time to iron out all the kinks in a budget as well as a little time to get used to sticking to a budget, it’s important to set a budget now rather than waiting until you have to rely on one. You may have to adjust your budget when a recession does hit, but adjusting a budget is a smoother process than creating one from scratch.

Of course, budgeting as a freelancer can be somewhat difficult since you might not necessarily have a stable income. In other words, setting a budget is a little more complicated when you don’t know how much you’re going to earn on a week by week basis. Thankfully, there are budgeting methods that freelancers can employ that make it much easier to set and stick to a budget on a variable income.

Finally, one of the best responses to a recession that freelancers have available is hustle. If you’ve already built a thriving freelancing career, then you know what it means to hustle. Likewise, if you’re just starting out as a freelancer and are determined to succeed then chances are you are hustling for clients already.

Established freelancers are often able to step back their marketing efforts to a large degree once they are able to rely on a consistent amount of work from long-term clients. During a time of economic downturn when much of that work starts drying up, though, established freelancers will need to go back into hustle mode and start marketing themselves to new clients more fervidly in order to replace the workload that they lost.

Marketing yourself as a freelancer is no-doubt a lot of work, and it’s work that you won’t immediately be paid for. This is why it’s so beneficial to establish a network of clients that you can rely on for a steady workload. Nevertheless, having the option to go out and start finding new clients and new sources of work is a major benefit for freelancers during a recession.

Finding a few new clients during a recession as a freelancer is much more doable than finding a new job as a laid off employee during a recession, which is one more reason why freelancers are arguably much better positioned to survive a recession than traditional employees. Still, you’ll probably need to be prepared to start putting in quite a few extra hours marketing your services during a recession if you want to maintain the same workload that you currently enjoy.

Conclusion

Freelancers have a number of key advantages when it comes to surviving a recession. However, it’s still highly important to start preparing for a recession ahead of time by putting back money in savings, setting a budget, and preparing to ramp up your marketing efforts. With the right preparation and enough motivation, your freelancing career should be able to survive any upcoming recession, putting you in a great position when the sky clears and the economy starts trending upwards again.