Earning a Sustainable Income from Freelancing
Today, there are many opportunities for freelancers to tap into, both offline and online. But for the purpose of this piece, we will only be talking about the online opportunities. The internet offers a plethora of opportunities for freelancers. While online freelancing is mostly attributed to writers, there are also other services being offered as freelance services on the internet. You can provide services as a freelance web designer, music producer, or even virtual assistant.
Why Go Freelancing?
Freelancing lets you be your own boss. It means you decide what you want; where and how you work. The most considerable cost to a successful freelancing career is often your time and effort. If you shudder at the idea of putting on a certain dress code for work or having to work a certain number of hours every week, then freelancing may be the right way to go.
Meanwhile, deciding your own hours does not mean you have to loaf around all day. It means that you have to be self-disciplined and set aside the number of hours you put to work every day. But, since you are the boss, you get to decide on those hours yourself. This helps you have time for other personal engagements such as having dinner with friends, picking the kids from school, or going to the gym.
Being a freelancer means that you get to decide the prices for what your time is worth. With freelancing, you never have to worry about the promotions and raises that may never come if you are working salaried jobs. As you become established as a freelancer, you can exponentially increase your earnings as you deem fit.
Freelancing affords you the opportunity of working anywhere in the world without having to worry about your family obligations. As a freelancer, you can move yourself and family to live wherever you want. With a computer, a phone, and internet, you can live in space (so long it has internet) and still have a booming freelancing career. Your home is your office. Your pajamas are your office dress code. You may be using the convenience and still be having a chat with your esteem clients. Talk of absolute freedom!
At present, the freelance market is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, the future demands have been projected to continue to grow at a steady, rapid rate. What does this mean for you as a freelancer? It promises exciting freelancing opportunities and a potential to accrue more income.
Choosing the Right Freelance Job
Your journey towards a successful freelancing career begins with an objective evaluation of your skills and requirements in a job and then finding anyone that matches. Having decided to start a freelancing career, there is a set of decisions you should make. Firstly, you have to determine whether or not working at home is right for you. It is essential that you can stick to your schedule. Also, you need to consider the kind of service you will be offering carefully.
More often than not, the best place to begin your freelance career is where your typical job ended. You can use your previous work experience as a launching pad for your new career. If you are a journalist, for instance, you can use the experiences garnered in the field to become a freelance writer. Then as you progress as a freelance writer, you can then become specialized.
However, you may decide to break out of your old job and take another type of service to begin your freelance career. If you would rather prefer trying something entirely different, there are a plethora of opportunities for you to key into as a beginner freelancer.
Be decisive on the type of job you would like to do as a freelancer. Once you have decided what category of the job to do as a freelancer, make some findings on what it takes to be a success at that kind of job. You may feel drawn to a particular service; sit down and meditate on it. Be convinced that it is not only a service that you can offer, but you can excel in it as well. Ultimately, get realistic with yourself regarding the amount of time and effort you would likely be putting in the job and if it’s something that will be fine with you. Choosing the right freelance job isn’t that complicated when you thoroughly consider your options.
Popular Marketplaces to Begin Your Freelancing Career
While freelancing offers you all the freedom in the world, it comes with some downsides too. Since you no longer have a stable job, you are often on the lookout for clients who need your services. And sometimes, this may be a cause for despair. Well, here are a few places where you can look for freelance opportunities and earn real income.
Formerly Elance.com, Upwork remains one of the best marketplaces to lookout for freelancing opportunities. It does not matter whether you are a writer, a developer, attorney, or an accountant – all kinds of services are offered on the platform, and you can offer yours too. The hourly charge is one of the features that make Upwork standout. Also, you can charge based on the effort you would have to put into the work. Regardless of your choice of pricing, Upwork is an excellent platform for freelancers who are determined to make a living out of it.
From the word – five, this platform allows you offer any kind of freelance services starting at $5. It could be more, but never less. Setting up an account on Fiverr is relatively easy. As soon as you have your profile set up, you are on course to start offering your services. Popular among the services you can sell on Fiverr are writing and translation, music, online marketing, video, and animation, etc.
Freelancer has been around for almost a decade and a half. So, they have a large following which you can benefit from when you get on the platform as a freelancer. And like other freelancing sites, Freelancer too allows its members to sell a range of services in fields including data entry, online marketing, and web development, among others.
Find and hire skilled freelancers with a click – well, that’s the tagline of the platform. What does this mean for you? It means that when you have an appealing freelance profile and compelling proposals for the services you offer, you can be certain to get hired just at a click! So get on the platform, let a client find you, offer quality services, and get paid. That’s quite straightforward, you’d say.
This platform gives a lot of options to freelancers who aren’t really specialized. As the name suggests, it is a platform for mini workers. If you think other sites are too big for you to start off, MicroWorkers is a place to test the waters. Then, when things begin to go well, you can move your freelance career to more prominent platforms discussed above.
There are many freelance platforms out there for your freelancing career. However, you would have to be patient and continue to offer quality services before you can begin to see results. But once you’ve passed this defining stages, you are on course to have a fulfilling freelancing career.
How to Earn Money as a Freelancer
Now that you have been intimated on the best ways to choose your freelancing path, and the platforms to offer your services as a freelancer. It is pertinent that you are also in the clear regarding the ways to earn – and even multiply your freelance income. How soon before you start earning as a freelancer will be hugely dependent on strategic efforts. Here are a few tips to help you quickly start earning some bucks from your freelancing gigs.
Select a Niche
The common mistakes many freelancers make is taking on all kinds of jobs just to get paid. This may seem smart when you are beginning your freelancing career. Meanwhile, as you become an established freelancer, it is vital that you become strategic as well regarding the kind of work to do and the clients to work for. Choosing a niche of your own helps you become specialized. It is when you are specialized that you can become an expert. No doubt, expert charge more for their specialized services.
If you want to start ‘making it’ like the experts, choose a niche in which you would be offering your services. So, if you are a writer, for instance, you may decide to select the copywriting niche and become an expert writing bankable sales copy for your clients.
Create an Appealing Portfolio
It does not matter whether you work on marketplaces or not, you need a portfolio to showcase the services that you render. A high-quality portfolio website will help clients have a feel for who you are, what services you offer, and other clients you have worked with in the past. Having your own portfolio gives your potential clients the impression that you are a professional – even when you don’t have much freelancing experience yet.
Don’t Quit Your Job – Just Yet!
If you are going to have a portfolio, then it means that you are going to put time and effort into building your personal brand. Well, that takes time. So, it will be smart of you not to quit your job yet. Make sure that you have a few clients on your roster and that your freelance business is now beginning to bring in about 70% of your salary before even thinking of writing your resignation letter.
Not quitting your job yet lets you have a multiple of choice to turn down bad projects. After all, you have something to bank on by the end of the month.
Build Your Credibility
Building your credibility in your niche is a way to become an expert easily. And what are the ways to go about it? You may decide to often guest post on notable blogs in your industry, develop an online program, write an eBook, or line up speaking engagements. All of these will steadily increase your visibility within the industry. The social credibility helps add to the list of accomplishments you can display on your portfolio site.
The plan for building your credibility is to get your message to a broader audience. The more influence you build, the more credible you become.
Understand How to Pitch
Pitching is an art. So it’s crucial that you learn and perfect how to pitch to clients. If you intend to earn big in your freelancing career, then it isn’t enough to land just any clients, rather, you have to land valuable clients consistently. When you are able to forge a meaningful relationship with your clients, then you can be sure to have a considerable sum of money in your pocket.
The success of your freelancing career also depends on how you can consistently land new clients. So, put much effort into how you craft your propositions.
Determine Your Pricing
To make freelancing a sustainable source of income, you need to determine your pricing. Deciding how much to charge per each project will help you have a framework for what will be enough to sustain you and live comfortably. As long as you’re offering a high-quality service, most clients wouldn’t mind paying a higher fee for your services.
Take Advantage of Your Network
Your clients do not necessarily have to be organizations or individuals whom you don’t have an existing relationship with. As a freelancer, you are free to pitch your business to your former co-workers, friends at the gym, and relatives. In fact, you can use the connections of your friends and family to land new and valuable clients. Leveraging your existing networks is one effective way of successfully landing higher paying clients.
The journey to a successful freelancing career is a long one. However, with perseverance, hard work, and of course, a strategic approach, you will be on course to start earning real income from your freelance career in no time.