You need not necessarily possess a degree.
You need not pass any sort of ‘test’.
All you need is a skill that people are looking. If you do, this is your dream job. This is freelancing.
That’s a bold statement, a bold claim. Whether or not you, as a reader, believe in it or not, there’s are answers which you are desperately seeking. What is it to be like a freelancer? How to become one?
The word ‘freelancing’ itself comes with two modern myths in particular. One, it’s not sustainable. Two, it’s not easy to become one.
Sustainability is down to a person’s perspective hence, I shall avoid making any particular claim that could be misunderstood. But the objective of this blog and this post is to help you eradicate the second myth, which I believe is completely a myth.
Being a freelancer is not that difficult. All you need is a start. Personally, I believe that the first project is one of the most important projects in one’s ‘freelancing career’.
And ideally, you would want to take up the first few projects while you are still working in your day job.
Getting straight to the point.
Let’s look at a few things you can do as a freelancer to get your very first project.
Be willing to be flexible, Be willing to take a price-cut
When you are looking for your first project, personally my advice to you would be to be very flexible. Flexible in terms of pricing, flexible in terms of deadlines and if possible, maybe for just the first two-three projects, flexible in terms of choice of work as well. Trust me, this helps. The only reason it’s relatively hard to get your first project is due to the competitiveness in the field. Hence, this is one way to deal with the competition.
Don’t get kinky. Look, one day you don’t just get up and decide to become a freelancer. It doesn’t work like that. So once you have something in mind, discuss your skills with your friends who are entrepreneurs. Gauge their reactions. If their eyes lit up, it is a skill that they are looking for. Ideally, it is better to have your first few projects from your friends and family who don’t ask you for a portfolio. So make sure that everyone that you know, knows about this decision of yours. Spread the word, let everyone know what you are getting into.This is not bragging, it’s not showing off and no, it’s not pathetic either. Humans are social beings and being a human, you can benefit from your social contacts. Oh! And by social circles I mean everyone, friends, friends-friends, family, family’s friends and so on.
Here’s an awesome resource to build your personal brand online to build your personal brand online.
Search the Internet
The internet is a gift. Now if you are a freelancer, hoping to work in a field like design, writing, web development and such; there are a lot of online portals that help clients meet freelancers. Contentmart, Fiverr, Freelancer.com are just a few examples. Make a profile in all the reputed portals. Complete your profile. Keep updating your profile with few sample works. And within days, you should have your first project. Most people don’t get results out of such portals because you have to constantly keep your profile active for the algorithm to suggest your name. But if that sounds like a lot of work, I would suggest looking out for such opportunities on Facebook groups. I hope you already are a part of such groups, keep an open eye and you will see opportunities across the internet.
This is my favorite part. Practice cold-emailing. Let agencies know about your work and that you are available. Honestly, if you get a call-back to work on an initial project (spanning a couple of weeks)for free even, just take it. Because the possibility of an agency outsourcing projects is higher than any other businesses and agencies are always looking to cut costs given their high operating cost. So, even if you are a full-time freelancer, 2–3 agency connections is all you need to have a constant flow of projects.
Start networking with other freelancers
We all know how important networking is. If you think about it, people go to colleges for networking, it’s just that important. Figure out what freelancers do, the tools they use, how much they get paid in relation to the effort they put in, the different kinds of projects that you could take up as a freelancer. Take an effort to establish strong relationships or leverage such relationships that have already been established. What if you could just propose, again, just propose not insist or plead, that if the other person (freelancer) has a lot on his plate, perhaps you could do a bit to help?
So that’s that. All the best. Happy Gig-ing!
PS: Here’s one book recommendation – The 4-hour work week.