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Do you want to learn how to become a freelancer? You are in the right place.
This article will tell you exactly what a freelancer is, walk you through the exact steps you need to take to get started as a freelancer, the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing, and where to find freelance jobs.
Before we dive into details, what you need to know is that in 2019, more than 57 million Americans were freelancing and the trend is going upwards.
While you might be thinking that this means you have a lot of competition, which yes it’s true, it also means that there is a high demand for freelancers.
Whether you want to work as a full-time freelancer or simply want to freelance as a side hustle to make extra money, there is room for everyone wanting to pursue freelancing.
What is a freelancer?
A freelancer is a self-employed professional who offers his or her services to businesses on a project-based or contractual basis.
Some freelancers prefer to keep their full-time job and freelance part-time on the side, while others prefer to freelance full-time, as the earning potential is basically unlimited.
Some of the most successful freelancers out there were able to build 6 and 7-figure empires just by doing freelance work.
This of course takes time and nobody is saying that you will get rich after 2 months of starting working as a freelancer, however, the potential is huge.
How does freelancing work?
Virtually any type of skill can be marketed as a freelance service.
Usually, once you find a client, it’s either you will fulfill a one time task (project-based) and be paid per project or per hour, or you will have a long-term collaboration, where usually you will get paid a retainer fee (a fixed monthly fee) or by the hour.
The rates depend on your area of expertise and years of seniority in that field.
Typically, a freelancer makes between $10 to $75 an hour, however, there are some who make up to $200 per hour.
The following are the most common services provided by freelancers:
- Graphic Design
- Web Design
- Virtual Assistant
- Project Management
- Website Management
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Customer Support
- Data Entry
- Data Analysis
- Market Research
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities available, and the list doesn’t end here.
These are just the most common services requested by businesses.
Advantages of freelancing
Work from home
Freelancing allows you to work from home or anywhere in the world for that matter.
If you’ve always dreamt about being a digital nomad, freelancing is probably one of the best ways to becoming one.
Set your own schedule
The beauty of working as a freelancer is that you are not restricted to working from 9 until 5 and you have the freedom to work when you are most productive.
You give your best at 2 in the morning? That’s perfectly fine, as long as you deliver your work on time to the client.
Get paid what you deserve
Another great advantage of working as a freelancer or individual contractor is that you can pick the clients that pay what you are worth and pass on others that can’t afford to pay a fair price for your services.
Uncapped earning potential
As I mentioned earlier, with time, you can basically make as much as you want to make.
Once you get started and acquire some experience and have constant work, you will be able to scale that to achieve the income that you want.
There are Virtual Assistants making $7,000 per month or Proofreaders making $200k yearly so everything is possible.
Last but not least, there is high demand for freelancers. Given the current global recession, the demand will grow even higher.
Disadvantages of freelancing
As a self-employed professional you will need to pay your own taxes.
While it might sound scary, you will also need to legally register as a freelancer, but don’t worry, it’s very easy to do so.
Here is an in-depth guide on how to register as a freelancer.
It takes time
As opposed to being an employee and getting your first pay-check after a month, being a freelancer and building a steady income takes time.
This shouldn’t stop you from starting a freelance hustle as, if you are serious about it and treat it like a business, the benefits you’ll reap will be totally worth it.
Work and income aren’t consistent
Until you are able to build relationships and find some long-term clients, your work and income will not be consistent, which can be stressful at times.
This is why, the best advice that I can give, as a freelancer myself, is that if you currently have a full-time job, keep it and start freelancing on the side.
While technically as a freelancer you operate as a small business, you being a business owner, you don’t really get to be your own boss.
Your boss is your client or clients. So, if you think having a boss at work is stressful, imagine having 7 bosses.
It’s not easy but if you are an organized person and create efficient workflows, all of this will be in your favor and you’ll be able to have happy clients that refer you to even more clients.
How to become a freelancer
Here are the steps that you need to take to get started as a freelancer:
Decide what services you will offer
While you might be good at several things, the best way to achieve growth fast is to pick your specialty.
Being consistent and niching down will enable you to build a portfolio and show that you have done the work before, increasing your chances of securing new clients.
As opposed to being a jack of all trades, which nowadays, nobody wants.
Determine your target market
Knowing your target market is essential in becoming successful. Knowing who will you be able to serve and help the most will save you time and help you identify potential clients faster.
For example, let’s say you have worked as a Copywriter in the corporate world for 2 years.
What was the profile of the company you’ve worked for? Was it a tech company? Was it a retail company? What type of Copywriting were you in charge of? Social Media, Website, print materials, e-books?
Use your experience to identify your niche. If you were in charge of several things, niche down to the ones or one you have most experience with.
Of course, the most important things to consider are the experience you have, what you’re good at and also what makes you happy.
Decide your rates
Deciding your rates is fairly easy. You can conduct market research on websites such as Freelancer.com and see what other freelancers are asking for. This should give you an idea on where to position yourself.
Build a portfolio
Pro Tip: You can use your experience as an employee to build your portfolio. If you’ve worked as a web developer, for example, you can add the websites you’ve worked on in your portfolio.
If you are in a niche not related to marketing, probably the thought of building a portfolio scares you.
There are plenty of free user-friendly tools that you can use to build your portfolio, such as Canva.
If this is still complicated for you, you can hire yourself a freelancer to do that for you, for as little as 15$.
Where to find freelance jobs?
The beauty of freelancing is that there are many websites with jobs for freelancers.
The ugly side is that many of them post plenty of jobs that are not legit, so you need to take this into consideration before throwing yourself out there.
Below is a list of some of the best websites to find freelance jobs:
Freelancer is the most established website for freelancers and the place most companies go to hire freelancers.
There are freelance jobs available in literally any category. There’s something to do on this website for everyone.
As the name suggests, 99Designs is dedicated to designers.
Whether we’re talking about web designers, graphic designers, product designers, if you’re a designer, you will find work on 99Designs, as there are more than 90 categories available.
The best part about 99Designs is that their clients are the businesses and the team at 99Designs sets the fees for your services, which are all very good.
Instead of you looking for clients, 99Designs basically does the work for you, as their main model is to connect business with designers.
Beesy is different from all the other platforms as it helps connect several freelancers to one business.
These freelancers will be working as a team, which enables freelancers to access larger scale projects and potentially earn better, compared to other small-tasks websites.
The freelance job categories available on Beesy are various and include Admin Support, Architecture, Content Management, Copywriting, Design & Art, Website Development, Education, Marketing, Management, Programming, etc.
Bark is a marketplace for freelancers and businesses alike.
The way that Bark works is that you create a freelancer profile, create your target customer persona and you’ll immediately start getting leads, from the 500k+ database of customers looking for services such as yours.
FlexJobs is one of the largest websites for remote and flexible jobs.
While not all jobs posted are for freelancers, some of them are for full-time remote employees, FlexJobs is a great website because every single job is hand-screened by the team, to avoid scams.
Unlike other websites, which are free to use, FlexJobs is subscription based because of all the work they are putting in, in order to make sure that only the best jobs are served to job seekers.
Besides, with the subscription, you’ll get access to hundreds of free resources that are useful for both full-time job seekers and freelancers.
The great part is that they have a 30-day refund policy, in case you can’t find what you’re looking for, although the chances of that happening are very slim.
Are you still lost about how to become a freelancer?
Worry no more as there is a Freelance University, the best place to learn how to become a freelancer.
Yes, you read that right.
Freelance University is the number one university for building a profitable freelance business from home.
By attending Freelance University, which is a completely remote university, you’ll get access to over 8- specialized courses designed to improve your skills and teach you how to make money as a freelancer.
Freelance University has so far helped more than 14,000 students to start a freelance business from scratch.
What makes Freelance University special?
The model of Freelance University is that you can get from it as much as you want or need. You don’t need to attend it for years, not even months.
You’ll get access to powerful certifications and workshops for a single monthly fee (cancel any time) or annual tuition plan.
You’ll get connected with talented mentors and an engaging community. You’ll learn how to build a business and income and you’ll get industry-leading certifications for it.
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