If you’ve spent any time online over the last couple of years, you’ve probably encountered ads or comment spam that sound something like this:
Make hundreds of dollars and hour working from home!
Never answer to an angry boss again!
Get full-time pay….. in your pajamas!
You’re internal scam-dar urges you to stay away from those ads, and rightly so.
But if you’re looking into freelancing to supplement or replace your current career, there is undoubtedly a work-from-home gig perfectly suited to your experience and education. Even better, cash is only a small part of what it offers: Relevant work experience and a good reference for the future.
Welcome to the world of freelancing.
Find your first client
Does the first point sound like common sense? Maybe, but finding that first client will potentially be the biggest challenge of your early freelance career.
Think about it. If you’re fresh-out-of-university, you don’t have any real work to show to convince potential clients to hire you for their project. Assignments and projects you completed during school are great, but there is no substitute for solving real-world problems for real-world people with deadlines and an actual budget.
Speaking to local businesses and searching the web for clients is a great place to start, but personal connections could be the most important part of scoring that exclusive first gig. Doing work for your family, friends and other people that you know helps put “real” work in your portfolio.
Look you aren’t a hotshot making a six figure salary when you just start off and you have to start somewhere. Go as far as hanging flyers in high-foot-traffic area, that way you have the potential to catch people that weren’t even considering your services until they saw your flyer. Create a sense of presence not only in your online community, but the one around you.
Check the local classifieds too, since may small business owners don’t yet have an online presence of their own.
Stay Professional – and Develop Lasting Relationships
One-off gigs are great, but they do nothing for you. Recurring work is even better – you plan to make a living from this someday and the best way to do that is having your clients happy. Not only your friends and family, but every client you serve will likely need more work done or know someone else who does.
Establishing those relationships, then, is one of the smartest things you can do for your freelance work. That means more than just doing the work at a fair rate; timely responses to emails and missed calls, having a pleasant and professional demeanor even when you’re dealing with demanding or less-than-pleasant clients.
Be Your Brand
“Getting yourself out there” involves keeping a consistent overall visual identity not only on the web, but in-person.
What does this mean?
Use the same profile picture for all social media outlets and even for your website. Make sure the service that you promise is an actual representation of your experience and skill level. A lot of your personal brand will fall into place as your body of work grows. That being said, it’s not too early to consider your overall image as a freelancer in mind.
Images provided by freepik.com