There are so many freelancers out there looking for freelancing opportunities in various freelancing platforms.
To start off on the right foot, use these freelancing tips for beginners.
1. Do your research well and pay attention to the competition.
There is always competition, people who are so good at freelancing that could knock you off your feet. Looking closely at what others are doing, will help you sail through.
All too often clients looking for freelancers have no central data bank to find you or other freelancers. You have to be in the right place at the right time.
You can easily differentiate yourself from your competition by having an attractive personality, and a digital presence that stands out from the rest. You achieve this by delivering work that is better than anything your competitors are doing.
Even when you have experience or none at all, your job is to perform better than everyone else in your field, both in the work you do, and the way you act. But how do you know what your competitors are actually doing? what are they up to? Keep your friends close, and make friends with your enemies.
Share, trade, and exchange what you can from your own knowledge and then keep doing it better.
2. Have a plan of action.
Freelancing is no fun as a hand-to-mouth game. Never undervalue time taken to plan. A plan can be a simple as deciding what is your next move.
Carefully draft and re-draft personal business plan, including your financial requirements, goals, and how you can actually translate into action.
Nobody chooses this path with the goal of living on a financial knife-edge. Don’t be a dumb ass, keep your eyes open, know your limits, and plan accordingly.
Becoming a smart freelancer isn't easy, but it is not something metaphysics or rocket science either. it's within your grasp.
Use your plan of action to grow your network. This creates an opportunity to learn, improve and perfect the skills. A plan of action will save you frustration.
3. Reach out to your contacts.
Clients take time to develop. Don’t put yourself in a position to do the work “in a week”, when the discussion you need to start may take that much time anyway.
The more experience, contacts and references you have when you go the freelancing pathway, the easier making that final break from your job will be.
Building a network and finding work are two sides of the same coins. It’s never too late to start reaching out to people and expanding your network.
If you have work to show for your efforts already, your outreach will go much further. Keep yourself fresh in people’s minds and be their go-to person when they need a professional in your field.
4. Build your personal brand
As a freelancer, you are a brand that has to be well-known and updated all too often. When you are selling your services, you are actually selling yourself.
Your personality counts.
With LinkedIn, every single detail of your experience, every relevant job you’ve ever had, is put online. There are other platforms like twitter, Facebook, that can help you build your portfolio.
Social media will help you sell out your brand to potential clients. Starting online, understanding who’s important to your business, preempting offline events by connecting with people via Twitter, and leveraging LinkedIn connections into meetings for coffee.
If you combine a strong digital brand with meeting people in person, you’ll make yourself easy to connect with.
Stay focused, stay targeted and talk to every new connection like they’re your best friend.
Having your freelancing website is a plus. This is so because you can easily showcase your recent projects, highlight your recent mentions as well as accept payments right from your website.
5. Have Freelancing Business Cards
Get out there, hand out business cards and make friends. In the event of building your brand, you will meet amazing people and potential clients. Business cards are becoming very essential tools of saying, “Hey, I think you are amazing, can we connect?”
6. Don't burn any bridges.
Every contact counts, and reputation is key. For the record, your current employer is your strongest link to your first job as a freelancer.
If your job is at all related to what you plan to do, they may themselves be your first client. If you have a boss who knows anything, that’s the best place to start.
You however need to have a strong reputation with your boss for this to work out.
7. Get a Mentor.
Convince your mentor-to-be that you are worth that little bit of time and effort, and sure enough they could pass you a first client after only a couple of weeks and you’ll be officially on schedule and making money.
Whether it’s your boss, professor, uncle, slave driver, or homeless dude with good advice, be accommodating, be thankful and be willing to work your to always go an extra mile for an opportunity to do what you love.
8. Join Professional Associations.
To find organizations in your area, start with your best friend Google and don't forget to ask your real friends and colleagues for their recommendations.
Most industries have professional associations; it's worth it to research the ones in your field, to see if the membership dues come with access to specialized job boards, career advice, education, or other support.
9. Network for Jobs
Employers are more willing to give you a chance if you come recommended by someone they already know and trust.
How do you get started networking? If you socialize with present or former colleagues or anyone in your industry, you're making and forging connections that will help you find work, freelance or otherwise. Your goal now is to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
Reach out and build strong with other local freelancers who are killing it in the industry.
10. Leverage the Power of Social Media.
You can leverage your existing social media presence by quietly announcing to certain connections that you're looking for work, or post a general notice on your own profile that you're now accepting freelance clients.
Your favorite social network can be your personal website, free advertising, all in one.
There are several ways in which freelancers can use social media to acquire new clients, but you have to do it right.