If you are an entrepreneur or thinking about starting a business but don’t know where to start, freelancing may be the answer for you. This freelancer guide for beginners will provide you with the necessary information to successfully navigate through the freelance world.
Freelancing is not just for those who can’t find a job – it’s also for people with dreams of being their own boss and making something out of nothing. Imagine yourself running a super profitable business based on something you love to do? Freelancers have big advantages over employees: they set their own hours, work on their own terms, and have complete control of their work.
Being an entrepreneur and freelancer can be very rewarding but it comes with a unique set of challenges. Here are 10 things that you should know before starting out on your journey as a freelance businessperson.
1) What type of services can I offer?
This is the most important question you could ask yourself if you want to begin freelancing. There are many different types of services that you can offer but it’s best to just start with one and learn as much about it as possible before branching out. Here are some ideas:
The best part is, you don’t have to be a professional graphic artist to start making money online. The best way to stand out online is by showcasing your experience with a catalog of your work.
Plan, create, and code internet sites and web pages. Businesses are always seeking to either build a website or improve them to be more attractive or efficient.
Transcription involves converting speech (either live or recorded) into a written or electronic text document.
Offer administrative services to clients.
You can offer training videos, advertisements, and social media content. The sky’s the limit on this one.
Design eBook covers
With the increasing popularity of ebooks, there is a great need for ebook cover designs.
Write stories, articles, product descriptions, or blogs.
Make regular posts on a preferred social media channel and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
Ask questions, answer questions, and get exposure to them.
Consider helping someone balance his/her books or draft a proper monthly budget. Expand this online business idea into source funding for projects or filing tax returns to stand out and get more customers.
Create sales pages, squeeze pages, HTML, and payment buttons.
Clients will mail you the products and you take high-quality images on a white background for them.
Business plan creation
Help clients get a loan or expand their business.
Resume and cover letter writing
Crafting resumes that are specifically designed to meet the needs of recruiters is an excellent online business idea.
Tutor any language. There are also numerous freelancing websites that are designed with creative categories where you can either sell your craft or teach someone how to do it. For example, quilting or origami.
Create surveys for companies seeking to learn something specific about their market or customers.
More and more brands are hiring freelancers with the skills to make their logo do something awesome with effects.
2) Where can I find freelance work?
You have several options when it comes to finding jobs as a freelancer. Here are some of them:
Direct Client Leads
One of the best ways to get direct client leads is to reach out to people who have been referred to you from previous clients or freelancers that you have worked with on other projects. Reach out and offer your services pro bono to do a great job and leave a lasting impression.
Social networking is one of the best ways to find work as a freelancer because it’s free. Join Facebook groups that offer freelance services (make sure you actually like the group before you join). Make your profile look official with a professional headshot, and bio, and list your services. Engage in the community by asking questions or commenting on posts, offering advice where it’s needed. Continue to do this over time (preferably for several months) until you make connections with people that may need your services.
You can join LinkedIn groups, post questions on their Q&A section, and post jobs on their job board.
Email people, you don’t know that might be in need of your services. Make an email template to save time and show examples from past clients on what you can do for them. This is another method of going through your client list and reaching out to people who have been referred to you.
Word of Mouth
Let your friends and family know that you do freelance work so they can pass along leads to you or refer clients directly to you. You may even be able to convince them to hire you for personal tasks allowing you a steady cash flow in between jobs.
2) How do I get started?
In order to be successful as a freelancer, you must provide high-quality work and be professional.
Creating a portfolio: A lot of the opportunities that you will come across on freelance websites will require that you have a portfolio to show off your work. Don’t reinvent the wheel; just copy/paste examples from previous projects in your various fields of expertise.
Creating a professional brand: Make sure that you have a professional-looking website and branding that matches your field. This might cost some money so you can try to justify it by offering more services than just writing or graphic design or whatever is on your site. You might be able to pitch other types of services in your portfolio because you have the proper branding and look.
Closing sales: You won’t be able to land every job that you apply for so it’s important to learn how to close a deal. The best way to do this is by following up with interested parties until they hire you or let you know why they didn’t pick your proposal. If it’s a rejection letter, make sure to ask for feedback that you can use in the future to better your chances of getting hired.
Following up: If you don’t hear from someone after pitching them one of your proposals, send them an email asking if they need any more information or if they would like to hire you. Send these emails out at least once a week until they hire you or give you feedback.
3) Who should my customers be?
The majority of your customers should be people looking for freelance work.
Best customer types:
- Companies that post job listings on Upwork or Freelancer.com
- People you’ve worked with in the past (clients or former clients)
- Friends and family members of yours who have a need for your services
- Local businesses
Worst customer types:
- People who answer job listings that you post and never respond
- People looking for a free service (don’t fall into this trap)
- Job boards that charge high fees to hire freelancers (best to avoid these)
4) What is my rate?
This is an important question because your prices will determine how long it takes to land jobs and what types of projects you are likely to be hired for. If your prices are too low, people won’t be willing to hire you for more difficult projects that require a lot of work. You also want to charge high enough that you can make money but not so high that nobody will hire you.
There is no one answer on what prices are “good” or “bad”. It’s best to follow your competition and see what they are charging for similar services. One way to make sure that you are charging what other people think is a fair price for the quality of work is by charging per hour instead of per project. If your prices are too low, it will be difficult to maintain this business model but if they’re too high, you won’t get as many jobs and therefore won’t make much money.
5) How do I create a winning profile to post on freelance sites?
First, you want to have a winning headline. Try to limit it to one line on the profile page. Include your position title, number of years of experience, and area of expertise.
If you are new to freelancing, add your top qualities. What can you do? What can you bring to your buyers?
Include a good image photo too. It should be clean and professional. It can be taken with a digital camera or a cell phone. Look friendly and professional. Make sure it is only you in the profile photo. With a photo, you will gain more business.
Have a strong opening paragraph in your proposal. If you want to get that job, your proposal needs a great opening paragraph. Make sure the first few lines are all about what sets you apart from other candidates and why they should hire YOU!
Another thing to look at is to explore other profiles. Look at some of the top profiles of those in your niche. These are people with experience that get jobs. It will give you a good idea of what to add to your profile.
If you have a college degree, make sure you mention it. Use that to your advantage. It isn’t the end of the world if you don’t have a college degree. If you do, don’t neglect to include it.
Always offer samples of your work. You can add a link or you can add a zip file. You can upload screenshots of graphics, documents of articles, etc. Always have samples – even if you are brand new to freelancing. Create your niches and then come up with samples that you can use for each of those niches. Offer diversity so that they can see you can do many different things and that you stand out. Make an impact.
6) What is the best way to get new clients?
There are several things you can do to try to get new clients. After you have established a relationship with prior clients, they will usually send referrals. You always want to make sure that your final product is of the highest quality so that others can be satisfied with your work and may refer friends and family to you as well.
Getting referrals from others can help a lot. You should always try to get testimonials and recommendations for your website too. People will trust those that they know more than strangers who have not done any work for them.
Other ways of getting clients include;
- Joining internet marketing forums;
- Subscribing to newsletters in your niche;
- Start a blog about your profession and write articles about it. Include links to your portfolio or contact information in the article;
- You may need to take it one step further and also do some pay-per-click advertising to get clients to come to your site or blog.
Take a look at other freelance job boards for ideas on what you can try next in order to get more clients. A good way of doing that is by using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. If you don’t have a lot of followers on Twitter or Facebook, this is an opportunity for you to build your network.
7) How do I win at job bidding?
Bidding is a good way to earn jobs but it can be difficult to narrow down the right one. Some people may want a lower bid. Some may not be able to afford it. It is important that you are aware of what the going rates for your profession are, so you have an idea of what to charge.
Bidding can go both ways if you aren’t careful. You could end up being underpaid or overpaid depending on how you write your proposal. There are ways to be professional in your bidding process and make a good impression on the client.
What also happens in bidding is that clients will constantly change their minds and add requirements, so you want to have several examples of previous work ready (even if it is not related to the project). If you can update them quickly or show something that can help you land the job, it will make a good impression on them.
Always be prepared for opportunities and have your portfolio ready to go at any time. You never want to miss an opportunity because you weren’t expecting it. Be flexible and always be prepared to take advantage of offers when they come along.
8) What legal documents do I need to run a business?
Every business needs some legal documents in order to operate properly. You will need a work contract, which is an agreement between you and the client that outlines your services and what they are willing to pay for them.
It is important to make sure that both parties are clear on expectations with a contract because it can save many problems down the line.
Just as important is an NDA or non-disclosure agreement. This prevents client information from coming out in case of a lawsuit and it protects you as well.
A Copyright and a trademark are also good to have because they protect your work and the intellectual property that you own. You don’t want others stealing your ideas or plagiarizing your work. That means a lot of time and effort was wasted on something that could have been prevented in the first place.
Be sure to protect yourself and your business with legal documents or contracts so you can take care of any problems before they even arise.
9) How to get more freelance work
More freelance work can be great for you if you know how to handle all of it. Make sure that when you are finished with one project you have a backup waiting or put yourself on the job boards to find another client in a hurry.
10) Best Freelance Jobs for Beginners Trending in 2022
Consistent projects are key. You could also consider joining an online community and training program like:
- Live Chat Assistants are in huge demand worldwide right now.
You will work for businesses answering live chat messages on their website or social media accounts. These are remote positions, meaning that you can do the work online from anywhere in the world.
- Get Paid to Review Apps on Your Phone
You will be required to download apps to your smartphone or tablet and test out all app features. You will then need to write a short review of your experience and list any faults.
- Work from Home Online Assistant Jobs
Discover how to become an ‘Online Assistant’ and get paid to do freelance work, tasks & projects from home on behalf of companies.
Set up alerts
Set up an account at www.google.com/alerts. That will enable you to become one of the first to find out about new jobs and opportunities. It also ensures that you don’t miss out on any opportunities. You can do your search with various keywords. Then you can create an alert in Google so that they will send it to your email as soon as something new comes into play.
Use alerts to stay one step ahead of the competition. Get unlimited notifications about new job postings or a few results daily, and update your settings at any time. Be sure that you get notified as soon as it’s announced so you have an advantage over others applying for those jobs!
Partner up with people
Team up with a developer or web designer if you are a writer and vice versa. If you have a good writing project you can send business their way. You can work together and share clients. That way you will have more time to focus on your own projects as well.
Set up your own website or page
If you’d like to create a page online about your services, www.about.me is great for that as it’s free and many professionals use this on their social media profiles (especially Twitter). You can post your resume and links to work samples -Wix or Weebly are also good resources if you want to have an entire website built-in with the same goal in mind. It is a good way to appeal to buyers and to make you appear more professional in their eyes.
Make use of social searches
Make sure your social media presence looks polished and professional. It should be similar to what you’d use for freelancing websites, like LinkedIn and Upwork. Mention that you’re available as a freelancer, tell them about yourself and how people might get in touch with you. Use Twitter’s search function to find potential work opportunities—you could try doing searches for “writers” or “freelancers,” then connect with them by sending an @reply.
Do this every day as it only takes a few seconds to do it and check what is offered. Type in “freelance writer wanted” or any combination of phrases at the top of Twitter in the search feature. Then you can see all the options that will come up. You can utilize such features on all of the social media sites. There is a good chance you will find the types of work you are looking for this way.
11.) What is the best part about freelancing?
The best part about freelancing is that you can do it at home. You have no commutes and you will often work from home. You don’t need a lot of money to get started either. Online you can utilize resources such as Upwork and Workana to help find clients, but you can also find them through networking.
You will also often have more control over your schedule and over the work that is being done. You are able to choose from a variety of clients, even for part-time positions, so they match up with your individual needs and your schedules. This is why you can set your own hours while working from home.
There are many benefits to freelancing. You will be able to keep your current lifestyle with the freedom that comes with this option as well. You can work on your terms and have more time for yourself when you do it over a standard 9-5 job.
To Wrap Up
Freelancing is a great option for those who want to work on their own terms and have more time for themselves. One of the best ways to get started in freelancing is by joining an online marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr, where you can offer services such as designing logos, writing articles, transcribing audio files, etc. to clients all over the world in your spare time.
To some freelancing is a way to get some cash on the side, while others do it full-time and make a decent living from it. If you have a valuable skill then there is definitely potential for earning money—but it all depends on how much effort you’re willing to put in.
We’re here if you want help getting started – we love helping people succeed when it comes to freelancing!
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure for more info.