Digital freelancing offers flexibility and freedom. You will face regular challenges while being in charge of your time, working as much or as little as you like from anywhere on the planet. Sounds fantastic, right? Well, being a freelancer can also come with some serious downsides.
Unless you land a retainer with a client, your earnings are not guaranteed. There will be periods where you struggle to get work and then others when your clients seem far too demanding.
Here we offer some insight into beginning your freelancing career and making the most of the upsides.
Get started in the right way
First, you need to be 100% sure that you can handle the financial insecurity and that you have enough of a safety net to deal with the slow periods. Once you are confident you can cope with the lack of a regular paycheque, get started looking for your gigs. It is probably best to land a few jobs while you are still working your regular job.
Be disciplined with your time
Once you are freelancing as your primary source of income, then work discipline is going to be a significant factor in your success. You are your own boss and must monitor your progress. Your clients will check in with you, but more often than not you want to complete the work before they chase you up. While there are no explicit rules, you will need to be disciplined with your time to maintain good productivity.
Knowing what to charge
Before you begin working as a freelancer, you need to consider what your skills are worth. How much money do other people charge and what should you charge based on your experience and skills?
Only a handful of freelancers have the CV to charge a handsome sum for their services. Most of us need to build up testimonials and a positive reputation before we can increase our rates. Everything about freelancing is reputation – collect positive reviews and testimonials like they are gold.
Then, as your business grows, consider how you are going to manage the finances – from invoices to bank accounts to self-assessment tax.
One of the mysteries for people who aren’t freelancers is how we win work. How do clients find us and why do they keep coming back time and again? Let’s take a closer look at some of the best methods for finding work.
Freelancing sites versus your website
Freelance job sites are an excellent place to get started. There are sites like People Per Hour, Fiverr, and Upwork where businesses post jobs they need doing. As a freelancer, you will bid for the work and explain why you are better than others.
The good thing about these sites is that the invoicing, escrow, and follow-up are done for you, but in return, you will pay a significant commission from your earnings. If you do well with clients, and they keep coming back, it is not unusual for you to start to receive work away from the platforms.
Another option is to write your own blog and manage your own website. Pushing your site up the search engines means you can draw organic traffic to your site and your services. While you keep all that you earn, you will need to work hard to maintain that position on the rankings.
Message companies you are interested in working with
Cold calling or emailing potential clients is daunting and most people avoid it. However, if you are enthusiastic and energetic, you might be surprised by the response. Agencies, specifically, are often looking for freelancers to help with short-term jobs. When sending you CVs to companies that use freelancers, be sure to include samples of your work.
Making the most of referrals
When you are working with a company and you have built a relationship with them, it might be possible to ask if they would recommend you to others who could use your services. The power of word of mouth cannot be overrated and networking is an essential tool for gathering clients. You can also leverage former colleagues and ask for friends and family members to pass on your details.
A great way to encourage referrals is to have a sentence in your email signature which reads, “Please pass on my contact details to whoever may benefit from my services.” You can also ask clients to write reviews or testimonials that you can share to encourage new customers.
Join social media groups
There are boards on social media that are specific to freelancing. Using these groups is a way to network with other freelancers and to build a rapport that could land you new clients. Sometimes freelancers take on too much work and then subcontract to others. You will also receive valuable support and advice from your peers.
Freelancing gives much more freedom about when, how, and where you work. Being your own boss allows you to take charge of your life and leaves you with a real sense of satisfaction. However, setting up a business and finding clients takes a lot of time and hard work. Seek as much advice as you can before taking the leap and put it into practice, starting with these valuable tips.
Thanks to the internet, freelancers can find clients and colleagues anywhere around the world. With the help of reliable professional translation, your business needn’t be limited to your local area. Work with an experienced translation provider such as BeTranslated on all your translation needs from translating your website so that overseas customers can find you or translating legal documents to ensure your security. Get in touch today for more information or a free, no-obligation quote.