Freelancing has become an increasingly popular option for employees, self-employed individuals, and even businesses. With the rise of the gig economy and the growing shift to remote working arrangements, the coming year is a great time to join the flexible working industry.
Whether you’re looking for an additional income, more job flexibility, or the challenge of working with different clients, you can start your own freelance business with these easy steps.
1. Identify your freelance line of work
Freelancing actually covers a wide range of work, and it’s easy to get lost in them. Since some skills can be learned through tutorial videos or online courses, it might feel like anything is possible. However, it would be a lot easier if you’d choose one line of work first. If your choice is something that’s aligned with the hard skill you already have, much better. Additionally, the career you’ll get into depends on the hard skills you have. Whether you’re good at writing, graphic design, photography, social media management, web design or development, there’s a job opportunity for you.
Furthermore, with the increasing competition among freelancers of almost all fields, it could help you connect with the right clients if you can also identify your soft skills. In contrast to your technical hard skills, which are quantifiable, your soft skills are more on your personality and how you interact with others. If you have great communication or organizational skills, be sure to include that in your resume, and even better, make sure to demonstrate that in your work. Remember that in online job platforms like Upwork, clients can leave comments and reviews on their work experience with you.
Remember that for certain hard skills, there are preferred soft skills that make for a perfect employee in a certain line of work. Designers in general are expected to be able to communicate with different departments and end users, while virtual assistants and social managers are generally known for their multitasking and organizational skills.
2. Do your research
Once you’ve chosen what work you’ll be doing as a freelancer, it’ll be to your advantage to have more ideas about the field. From the salary range of your particular job description to the tools currently used today, doing your homework in advance also gives you a chance to update your arsenal before taking your first step as a freelancer.
For example, if you’re looking for a long-term platform to find clients, then Upwork is a great place for you. However, you’ll need to build your resume up in order to gain access to the better-paying customers. Similarly, if you believe you’re at the top of your field then you can try Toptal, which supposedly hires the top 3% of the professionals and their field, and pays them handsomely.
In terms of tools, know if you’ll be using a specialized tool for your craft. If you’re a graphic designer looking to give your clients the best artwork, you might need to invest in a drawing tablet or licensed software. If you don’t have the funds on hand, but find the job opportunities potentially profitable, you can take out small loans from online platforms such as Giggle Finance.
Another important thing to prepare for is your salary projection. Whether it’s for a certain period or on a per-project basis, try to assess if your expected income will hold up against the cost of you doing this job plus your other expenses such as food, rent, and utilities. In making estimates as to how much you’ll make, it’s always better to err on the conservative side. Also, being a freelancer doesn’t have to be a full time job. If you still can’t leave your day job for any reason, you can start your freelancing journey as a part time activity or a side gig to boost your income.
3. Start hunting for clients
Now that you know what you will do and have an idea of what the industry is like, you can start looking for clients. There are a lot of platforms to find people willing to enlist your services. You can ask around friends, family, and professional connections you’ve earned over the years. Additionally, you can make posts on your personal social media pages or create a new page dedicated to your freelance job. Aside from the usual social media platforms–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–you can start investing in your LinkedIn profile. This platform is great for establishing professional connections and lets potential employers find your profile through certain keywords.
Additionally, you can also find clients to work with through industry conventions and job fairs, especially since companies are becoming more open to contracting tasks to freelancers and independent contractors. Depending on your job, you can also set up a blog to showcase your work from previous clients or new tasks to serve as your as you apply for freelancing opportunities.
4. Register and build your brand
As a freelancer, you should know that you’ll have to file your taxes by yourself. If you plan to do this for the long run, prepare your freelancing business by taking all the necessary legal and regulatory procedures. Register your business as a separate entity, obtain the required licenses and certifications depending on your field, and make sure to familiarize yourself with the separate procedures concerning taxation.
Once you’re ready and formally registered, you can start building your brand. Being a legally-established entity gives you an advantage as it adds credibility, which also helps assure your clients that they’re working with someone compliant with applicable regulations.
As you start having clients, you have to build your brand in the image that you want to. This includes adopting a consistent design philosophy across all of your platforms and official documents. From your website to social media pages, down to your invoice and receipts, you can start by using a consistent logo or color scheme to start creating an identity that clients can associate with your name.
With the short and easy tips listed above, you can start your own freelance business in 2022 prepared and well-equipped. Not only will you have the skills and the tools required to start your chosen craft as a freelancer, but you will also face clients as a full-fledged professional duly registered with the government. Remember that your workmanship and ethics will determine your trajectory in this rapidly-growing environment.