Freelancing is a booming industry that provides numerous growth opportunities. This is a beginner guide on how to start freelancing.
“I hate my job.” A sentiment echoed by many. People hate their jobs for many reasons, and eventually, it often drives them to consider a complete career shift. One such consideration is becoming a freelancer.
And why not? Freelancers have significant freedom and commonly love what they do. So if you’re wondering what it takes to start freelancing, we’re here to help.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
As you answer these questions, remember that the skills you have or choose to develop will guide you towards the best niche for you.
For instance, if you are an excellent writer, social media marketer, content creator, or photographer, one of these skills could be your starting niche.
Another option is choosing the same niche as your current or previous job. Since you have experience in this area, it might be easier to build your skills and get clients.
Also, while thinking about the niche, think about your goals for your new freelancing career. Setting clear objectives and timelines helps you navigate unforeseen situations like:
Once you’ve settled on your niche, begin to develop your freelancing skills and reputation because freelancing can be very competitive.
So, you must build your freelancing presence to gain recognition among your competitors. For instance, if you decide to freelance in writing, take time to learn what it means to be a professional writer.
For example, you’ll find that writing for your blog is different from writing to attract a sales lead. You’ll want to show your potential clients that you understand the difference and can adapt your style to each audience.
You can start by taking online courses, reading books, and watching educational YouTube channels within your industry or niche. Then make sure that your online profiles show your education and experience within your field.
Developing your freelancing skills and prominence takes time, but it is worth the effort to show new clients the work you’ll deliver is worth their investment.
Your portfolio is the most effective tool for turning prospects into clients.
Typically, most clients ask for a portfolio before hiring a freelancer because it builds trust and confidence in the person offering the services.
When building your portfolio, gather examples of your past work and showcase them. This is also where you can highlight your skills.
For example, if you’re a graphic designer, showcase some of your best logo or brand designs on your portfolio. Then, share it with potential clients; across your social profiles, or even on freelance job boards.
If you’re looking for a CMS (content management system) to build your portfolio website on, WordPress, Carrd, Squarespace, and Webflow are great options for showcasing your work.
Before reaching out to clients, define your target. Determine what clients need your services. For instance, if you are a social media marketer, businesses in your niche who already use social media are potential clients.
How can your services solve their problems? By showing that you understand their industry, have experience in the industry, and have the social media skills to speak to their audience.
Once you show you can solve your potential customer’s problem, package your skills as a service and reach out to potential clients. Choose between direct or subcontracted clients.
Your ideal option is direct clients because you’ll pocket every penny you earn. Subcontracts pay less than direct clients, because they’ll take a percentage or fee before you’re paid.
Nonetheless, don’t shy away from freelancing sites like Fiverr and Upwork to find potential clients. Or, if you work in an off-line niche or industry, you can join an industry community that provides support and other benefits or helps you market your services.
Another source of potential clients is your current network. You can leverage your advocates like family and friends to get potential clients. Also, social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are excellent sources for reaching prospects.
This part is a no-brainer. If you want to build a reputation that provides success in the freelancing world, always ensure your work is impressive and deliver it on time.
There are several service business ideas you can start in the freelancing market. But the best include:
Many painters work as freelancers today. And freelancing as a painter comes in many forms, including digital art and digital painting, acrylic painting, portrait painting, or even watercolor painting.
Let’s not forget home painting as well. Regardless of your choice, freelancing in the home painting industry is booming. A few reasons for the boom are:
Freelance careers in accounting and finance are currently some of the most significant in the gig economy. And because the accounting industry is expected to see a six percent growth rate by 2031, the demand for accountants, tax filers, bankers, auditors, and bookkeepers is rising.
Therefore, if you have skills in these areas, ask your network for recommendations or work on your QuickBooks skills.
A freelancing business in digital marketing is also a great choice. Now, it’s common for companies to visit digital marketplaces to hire full-time workers outside their organization.
You can specialize in one or several aspects of digital marketing. For instance, a content marketer, freelance writer, and copywriter fall into this category.
With that in mind, the most lucrative skills in the digital marketing space include data analytics, web design, branding and brand development, and SEO.
One significant trend in the workforce has been the transition from in-office workplaces to hybrid workplaces which host in-office and remote workspaces.
Currently, the remote workforce is expanding, and with it, there is a rise in the need for HR and recruiting services. It is even becoming more common to hire a remote HR manager.
Freelancing in HR is advantageous because many individuals thrive in this field's flexibility and temporary nature. Additionally, companies are opening up to outside perspectives.
Working with a freelancer with experience and expertise in the HR field is priceless because they quickly match organizations with the right hires.
Mobile applications and cybersecurity are areas where freelancing jobs are skyrocketing. Cybersecurity is especially in demand because of the increase in cybercrime.
A concern in the IT industry is the increasing sophistication of network breaches. And as ransomware and malware attacks increase, so does the need for freelancers in coding and network security.
We’ve used writing as an example of a freelancing career to move into. As a blogging and copywriting freelancer, you’ll work closely with digital marketers.
Freelance writing can be one of the higher-paying freelance careers, with experienced and sought-after writers making $5000 or more per month.
The best part of freelance writing is every digital marketer or company needs writers. Whether you’re writing copy, blogs, long-form content, marketing materials, or short social media posts, a skilled writer is always in demand.
And if you do choose to be a writer, you can either get a full-time job or a part-time gig; the choice is yours.
According to Upwork, 60% of the freelancers who left their full-time jobs now make more money in their freelancing gigs. But the actual freelancer earnings depend on their niche and skill level.
For instance, Upwork also reports the average income for freelancers in 2020 was $20 per hour; however, freelancers in accounting, marketing, web development, and legal make upwards of $28 per hour.
Others are making much more based on their niche, skills, education, training, and years of experience.
If you want to start freelancing, you must first start with yourself. What are you good at? What is your end goal? Can you monetize your hobbies or skills?
Once you determine the freelancing area you’re comfortable in, develop your skills and reputation, showcase them on your portfolio, and then reach out to clients.
If you are looking for the highest paying freelancing gigs, consider starting your own painting business or freelancing in accounting, finance, digital marketing, IT, or writing,
And if you choose to start your own painting business, visit Hoist now to learn more about how we’ll equip you with everything you need to launch, grow, and run your business in 30 days.
From creating a business plan to estimating your first project, we’ll walk you through the essentials of starting a painting company.
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