Making it as a Freelancer
By now, you should know that job security is a myth.
Seismic shifts are happening in the world. Changes such as automation and artificial intelligence are making it feasible for companies to make do with just a few employees.
This trend will continue because technology is only getting better.
Companies are becoming more liberal with pink slips, and it’s not because they are callous organizations. The reality is that leveraging automation makes them more efficient and profitable. They’re doing what’s best for their bottom lines.
You have to do what’s best for you, too. This is the crux of the matter.
I’m sure you’ll agree that waiting to be let go is not a smart solution. It’s better to be proactive and plan your transition to the gig economy on your own terms.
More and more people are taking their fates into their own hands. They decided they’d serve no master and opted for self-employment or work from home, providing an array of services. Freelance writing jobs, freelance editing jobs, and freelance graphic design jobs are some of the most popular and easy to offer.
Right now, there are millions of freelancers in the world. And it’s not just a case of people being dissatisfied with their jobs or that they’ve been asked to leave. They are embracing freelancing because work from home on your own terms is a better option.
It’s not just about a different way of making money; it’s a quest for a more satisfying lifestyle.
The truth be told, freelancing comes with its own set of challenges.
I’ll explore the kind of mindset you need, the benefits of being a freelancer, where to find jobs online, and some strategies that’ll help you make it as a freelancer.
The Freelancer’s Mindset
If you worked in a big organization in the past, you got used to a welfare and reward system and a structure that allowed you to focus on your job without worries.
You were probably handling a small facet of the duties, seeing as there were so many other professionals handling other tasks.
When you become a freelancer, your mindset has to change. All of a sudden, you’ll be the bottle-washer and the cook – you’ll be doing virtually every task that’s needed, and there’s no one to protect you.
You have to juggle different duties and live or die by the quality of your work. You need to be highly creative, super-driven, and tenacious because you’re now in control of your own destiny.
The employee mindset has to be jettisoned. You’ll need to be comfortable with the fact that the beginning phase might be tough. What will really help you in the initial phase is to be devoted to providing excellent services or products.
If you focus on delivering exceptional value, your journey as a freelancer will be strewn with joy and gold.
A Life of Freedom
In spite of the challenges, being a freelancer is one of the most rewarding and lucrative pursuits. This is because your income is not limited, and you decide how much you’d like to work.
There’s no boss who decides your maximum earnings. There are freelancers who earn six figures. But money is not the only benefit.
You get to actually design the kind of life you’d like. You get to plan your work and make time for family, friends, travels, and hobbies. As long as you have Internet access, you can live wherever you like.
If you are interested in intellectual and cultural development, the freelancing life makes it easier because you can devote a chunk of your time each week to this, without any boss breathing down your neck.
In one word, freedom is the main benefit of being a freelancer – the freedom to sculpt your life the way you like.
The More You Learn, the More You Earn
There are millions of freelancers, which mean a lot of competition. The main key to success is to be known for delivering exceptional value.
Ensuring that you have a set of complementary skills is the smartest move you can make. It’s possible you have acquired these skills in your previous job. If you have not, you can easily pick them up with all the courses you can take online.
In addition to the skills, you need the right software. Skills and software.
Even if you have some basic skills, as soon as you start making money, invest it in a training program that’ll equip you with advanced skills.
Naturally, the kind of skills you need depends on the kind of freelancing service you’ll be providing. But whatever it is, there are tons of online courses and coaches that can get you up to speed within a short time.
If you’d like to accelerate your learning, consider becoming an apprentice to an established and highly successful freelancer. They can help you focus on the shortest path to success. They might even give you a part of their work when they have too much on their plates.
After this, you will be able to charge higher fees and even buy more sophisticated tools you need. The more skilled you become, the higher the fees you can charge because you’ll be able to provide high-quality services and products.
To remain competitive, you need to embrace this perpetual learning ethos.
Sell Your Skills and Earn While You Sleep
I’ll be honest; being technically proficient is only half the battle. The world won’t beat a path to your door until you learn and master the art and science of marketing. You have to learn how to market your skills and services.
If you’d like to accelerate your growth as a freelancer, in addition to the technical skills, you should learn copywriting, networking, and how to build passive income streams.
This trio will make a huge difference in your income and personal life.
Copywriting is, without doubt, the skill that’ll give you the highest leverage. It’s the art of persuasive writing. This is the kind of writing that’s aimed at eliciting a response from others.
It’s a universal skill that you can use in virtually all contexts, and it’s location-independent to boot. When you’re proficient at this, you can make money at will.
Skills are not enough. It’s not just about what you know; it’s also about who you know. This is why networking can unleash great upside leverage. If you hang out with the right crowd, you could earn in a few months what most freelancers make in years.
This is because those who make the most money are not necessarily the most skilled. Such freelancers know that two contacts may be more valuable than eight, so they invest their time in attending live networking events that the top personalities in their fields attend.
Passive Income Streams
What I always teach is that, at some point, you should start building several passive income streams. This is the path to the big dough because the reality is that no matter how hardworking you are, there’s a limit to how many hours you can work in a day.
You need to know how to make money while you sleep. One of the best ways to earn passive income is to create digital products and sell them using automated strategies.
Trust me, it’s incredible to wake up, check your email, and discover that you made money while you were in dreamsville.
How to Get Clients
Start with baby steps.
Copywriting and networking will help you get more clients than you can handle.
Let your contacts know that you’re now offering a certain set of services or products and that you’d be grateful if they’d let others know, too. These people know you’re a professional, so they’ll be comfortable to recommend you, and this can snowball into having a greater network and more money.
Here are some strategies to start looking for clients.
It’s a great thing that we can hop online and connect with others on the other side of the globe to do business. But when you’re looking for new clients, the easiest to find are probably those around you.
When I got started in freelancing, I was providing SEO services for local clients. I was charging $200 at first until I grew this into a substantial income stream.
If it’s feasible, consider reaching out to local businesses. Focus on how you can help them grow. Many local businesses have websites that are not optimized for revenue generation.
You could help with traffic generation and conversion optimization, for example. You may decide to offer social media management services. Freelance writing jobs are probably the most popular. There are smart freelancers making money hand over fist, doing just that.
The simple fact that you’re familiar with their terrain and the challenges they face, seeing as you reside in their vicinity, is one huge factor that’d make it more likely for local businesses to engage you.
You’re probably already active on social media. Instead of hanging out with those who argue about politics, it’s smart to leverage this great tool for advancing your freelance career. LinkedIn is designed for this. But the other social media platforms are equally effective.
Through social media, you can have direct access to decision-makers. The power of gatekeepers is broken. Just be professional, and you have nothing to fear. Most managers and business owners are always interested in strategies about how they can get better.
On Facebook, for example, there are many groups and job boards through which you can easily get freelancing gigs.
A Professional Website
Social media is great, but it’s vital that you have your own website/blog in addition to your social media profiles. In fact, you can use the latter to drive traffic to your website. Ensure that your site is the hub of your marketing activities.
It’s a great opportunity to brand yourself as a professional, and it’s expected by a lot of prospects. You can use it to showcase your skills and share your portfolio, which is a key factor that’ll help you in getting clients. Naturally, you’ll also have the services you offer and your rates.
The site does not have to be huge. Ideally, it should be lean and mean.
You can pay someone to design it for you or you can DIY. It’s not difficult – you can use a premium WordPress template.
Leverage Job Boards
There are many job boards where you can get clients. You will need to be tenacious because you’re competing with thousands or hundreds of other freelancers. But if you’re dogged and have a great portfolio, you can start earning a substantial amount within a relatively short time.
On these boards, freelance writing jobs, freelance editing jobs, and freelance graphic design jobs are highly in demand.
These are some of the best job boards for freelancers:
Some of the best brands in the world use Toptal to source freelancers for their most vital projects. Naturally, it attracts the cream of freelancers.
Problogger’s job board is used largely by small businesses and top clients. You’re sure of new gigs almost on a daily basis.
This is the largest job board online. It uses data science to match freelancers and clients. It’s being used by about 5 million brands and people.
In addition to having a robust database of lucrative writing gigs, training is also provided. In fact, you may avail yourself of a personal coach.
This is about the best site for designers. Clients can hire you, and you can participate in contests.
The site uses AI to match you with brands and individuals that’ll give you the opportunity to use your skills to earn top dollar.
Tons of gigs are accessible on SimplyHired because it’s an aggregator. It connects with many other job boards, compiling and sharing gigs from different platforms. You can also set alerts and receive notifications based on your criteria.
Your UpWork Profile
I’ll suggest we wrap up by looking at UpWork jobs. UpWork is one of the best job boards out there. It’s also one of the most competitive, but if you know how to go about it, you can make out like a bandit.
Writing a great profile and proposals is at the heart of getting a lot of high-paying jobs on Upwork.
Unfortunately, a lot of people do not appreciate that their profile is a sales page. You must treat your profile and proposals as an opportunity to sell yourself. You are the product, so use copywriting to sell yourself in the best way possible.
Scoring Freelancer Jobs
Start with a few jobs. Do them well. Ask for testimonials. Aim for great ratings, and you’ll gradually reach a point where you can easily make thousands per month.
In this article, I have shared the kind of mindset you need to succeed as a freelancer, the benefits of work from home, effective strategies you can employ, and job boards where you can easily get gigs.
I've shared my thoughts on surviving as a freelancer, but what do YOU think? Did I miss something? What's your favorite place to find work as a freelancer? Let me know in the comments below!