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What is a Freelancer and How to Get Started

What Is A Freelancer?

Freelancers are entrepreneurs who work on their own to provide goods or services, usually to other companies and businesses. Whether it’s writing, data entry, technical support or numerous other job duties, freelancers typically provide the same services as “in-house” employees, without receipt of company benefits.

This gives freelancers the freedom to build and operate their business the way they want and to work on their own schedule and terms. It’s the perfect option for someone who has several other obligations or limited start-up funds.

Getting started as a freelancer may seem pretty complicated, at first. But, in this case, initial research and dedication are your friends. Better yet, establishing yourself as a freelancer is probably much easier than you think. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

How To Get Started

1. Stay Confident

Whether you’re providing services to clients you’re already acquainted with or reaching out to potentially new ones, it’s extremely important to stay confident. Starting out, you may make mistakes. Almost everyone does. It’s simple part of being human.

But, don’t let mistakes lead to self-doubt. Doing so means you’ll have a more difficult time convincing potential clients that you’re the best person to get the job done. There’s tons of competition out there, regardless of your chosen field. Remember, the more confidence you have in yourself, the better the chance of standing out among the crowd.

2. Build a Portfolio

When you’re reaching out to new prospects, you need a simple way to show them your credentials and examples of the work you’re most proud of. Whether or not you perform a web-based form of freelance work such as writing or graphic design, you still need to establish an online portfolio that’s easy to navigate.

Before you actively begin promoting your services, it’s wise to add to your portfolio if there isn’t much there. Offer to help two or three non-profits with a project they’re having difficulty with or just don’t have time to complete. No, you won’t get paid. However, this “pro bono” work will go a long way when it comes to garnering future clients.

Another great option is collect testimonials from some of your earliest clients and display them in your portfolio to help establish your credibility.

3. Keep Searching for Clients

Reaching out to clients is an everyday part of freelance work. Without clients, you don’t have any chance of success. Unfortunately, finding clients can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re managing your freelance business on your own. Freelancer sites, such as ServiceScape.com are a great place to start. They point you toward jobs that give you necessary work experience, as well as help to establish contacts in your field.

Finding work through third-party freelancer sites is fairly easy. But, the downfall is the pay is generally much lower than selling to clients on your own. That being said, after working with clients from these sites, follow-up with them and ask them to mention you to anyone else they know that may need your services. You may be surprised by the results!

4. Be Patient

Finding success as a freelancer takes time. Before you’ve built up an impressive portfolio or a network of contacts, you may need to work for less pay than you’ll end up making later in your career… as mentioned above.

Freelancing also means that the work is oftentimes sporadic, which can result in periods of little work or pay. But, the key is to stay persistent. Every job you complete means more experience under your belt and another connection which might lead to a long-term client.

Remember, freelancing isn’t just limited to the industries mentioned here. Maybe you have a hobby that you’d love to teach other people. In addition, there’s no rule that says you can’t be a freelance closet organizer or children’s party planner or the list goes on.

If you know how to market yourself, with the help of social media, your freelance business (whatever it is) has the potential for steady growth. You just need to take a leap of faith and get started!