According to a study, there are 59 million freelancers in the US alone. This number is quite an increase from the 53 million in 2014. And the rise is expected to continue in the coming years. So, why do people opt for freelancing?
According to the same study, 79% chose to freelance for more flexibility in their schedule. For the remaining people, they enjoy the independence and ability to work from anywhere they want.
It is without a doubt that freelancing and remote working have changed the landscape of the business world. Aside from the healthier work-life balance benefit, freelancing has proven its potential to be a stable means to earn a living.
With the number of freelance workers these days, how can one stand out and establish a career in this type of industry? The competition can be overwhelming and challenging, especially for someone with zero freelancing experience. However, with the proper preparation, it’s possible to break through and succeed in this line of work.
Preparing for your Freelance Career
Like any other type of job, freelancing requires preparation. You need to organize and create actionable steps that get you closer to your goal of landing a successful working situation. Here are some tips on how to get your freelancing career off the ground the right way.
The first and most important thing to do is to come up with a career map. Do a personal skill check and match those skills with the qualifications that you see in job openings. Then, you can map out your development to emerge highly qualified.
Upskill whenever you can. This is an excellent way for you to grow career-wise. There are many free online resources to help you gain skills or improve the ones you already have. With the number of freelance job applicants, it makes sense to wise up and get your ducks in a row first.
Once you have identified your skills and the services you can offer, create an impressive portfolio. Highlight your capabilities by showing quality work examples. Don’t worry about lack of formal experience or paid jobs; you can always come up with generic samples. Another option is to offer your services for free to businesses. Think of it as an investment. This way, you can put something in your portfolio and get a testimony at the same time.
Other ways to build your marketability include:
- References – For those with no previous freelancing experience, get written references from professors, colleagues from apprenticeships, and school staff. The goal is to have a list of qualified people who can vouch for you and your skills. You can expand this list as you gain more experience.
- Personal branding – In this era, it’s not wise to underutilize the internet to leverage your career. Create professional social media accounts on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Get your name out there. This step is a free and effective way to establish your expertise in the field.
- Networking – One of the best ways to land a job in the freelancing industry is through networking. Build your reputation by connecting with field experts, joining industry-related forums, participating in online discussions, and following those with authority. Networking can be one of your strongest tools in establishing your career. It helps connect you with people from whom you can learn and with potential clients.
Finding the Best Freelance Jobs
Now that you have laid the framework of your freelancing career, it is time to look for a quality freelance assignment. Bear in mind that the best freelance job means one that is suited to you and your specialized skills.
There are several ways to look for freelance work. Your best course is to maximize time and make use of all of these.
Apply Through Job Sites
Many novice freelancers start their careers by applying through online job directories. Filter openings according to your skills and qualifications. Getting hired for a job this way, though, means you need to do your best to stand out among the hundreds of other applicants.
One way to do this is to create a compelling resume. You can use clean resume templates to help you develop an impressive document to get hiring managers to notice you.
Another effective way to attract clients and land freelancing jobs is to create your own professional website. You can use this as your online portfolio and a channel for potential clients to contact you for services.
Your website can also help build your credibility and expertise. Update it with articles relevant to your niche and various topics that others may find helpful. This step leverages your freelance career above the competition.
Look for trade and industry groups that you can join. Meeting and interacting with other experts in the field is an effective way to connect with potential customers. Moreover, it can also be an avenue for you to grow professionally by attending association meetings, events, and conferences.
Preparing and launching a successful freelance career may sound daunting, but it’s highly achievable. Challenge yourself. Don’t just focus on completing the steps mentioned above, but strive to complete them to the best of your ability. Remember that excellence or succeeding as a freelancer does not come easy – it requires preparation and determination. If you put in the work, your first venture into freelancing is sure to be incredible!