Freelancing gives you the flexibility to create a lifestyle that you absolutely love. In the U.S. alone, over 54 million freelancers earned $1 trillion in 2016. While the number of freelancers continue to grow, the market is ready for the transition.
More and more young professionals wish to have the freedoms that come with running their own business. However, hiring employees can significantly take away from those freedoms because of the tax rates and employee-related expenses and responsibilities. The solution: Hire Freelancers.
So, how can you take advantage of these economic trends and work toward running your own freelance business? Let’s discuss the steps you’ll need to take to get started.
The steps we discuss here can be done in your free time, so you can keep your job and sustain your lifestyle during this transition. Will you have to put in time after work and on weekends? Absolutely! But if this is the career path that you want to take, then it is definitely worth it.
Define your goals.
Why do you want to start freelancing? Is it to earn extra money on the side? To create a full-time career? Or perhaps you have a certain dream career you want to work towards?
Whatever your ultimate goal is, make sure it’s clear. This will make it much easier to determine the small steps you will need to take on this journey to ultimately achieve those goals.
Once you have determined where you want freelancing to take you, you can start making short-term goals and benchmarks to make your freelance business a success. Decide on your income target for your freelancing efforts based on your living and projected business expenses, realistic expectations for how long your savings can help fund your endeavor if you plan to transition into full-time freelancing, and your risks. Once you’ve determined how much savings and income from freelancing you’ll need before quitting job, you can determine a timeline and plan for making that transition.
Find a profitable niche.
There’s no point in racing to the bottom when it comes to price. Instead, take the time to find a profitable niche that you will become the expert in. Set yourself up to compete on value and quality, rather than price. Seek out a specific industry and the types of clients that will value your work and time.
Determine an industry and role within that industry that honestly interests you and can meet your income targets. For example, if you are a graphic designer, don’t take any and every graphic design job that comes your way. Instead, determine your hourly rates based on your income targets and find a role within a specific industry that honestly interests you and will help you reach your goals.
Educate yourself about which roles can help you achieve your income and professional goals. Take courses or train yourself in how to do top-dollar work in your new niche. Examples of niche graphic design roles include ‘infographics for tech companies’ or ‘eBook layouts for health influencers’. Once you’ve decided, focus on becoming the absolute best freelancer in your niche.
Determine your rates.
There is an interesting trend that most freelancers experience when it comes to clients: The bigger the budget, the LESS they complain. This is another reason why you should not start your freelance career by competing for the lowest fees. That is a game you will not win. Instead, price yourself based on the value you deliver, not on what others are charging.
You don’t want to charge too far above your value, but you also should never undervalue your time. Become the best option for your dream client and price will become a secondary concern to them.
Identify your dream client.
Now that you’ve determined your goals and the niche roles you’ll be looking for, it’s time to find your first few projects. There’s no need to be picky at this phase -- Exposing yourself to different experiences will help you determine the time of client you’d want to work with long term.
The goal is to eventually make your clients your biggest salesforce, providing evidence of your value and opening the door to networking and referral opportunities. To determine who your dream client is, ask yourself what type of business needs the service you will offer, and who can afford your rates? Once you’ve determined this, identify the job role or title of the person you would need to connect with to become part of the project. Find a way to connect with them on a personal level. Reach out to them through email or on social, highlighting how your services can benefit their business.
Show off your work.
Create a high quality portfolio that potential clients can visit to see examples of your work. Research freelancers who provide similar work to what you will provide and see how they are positioning themselves with their online presence. Don’t have any professional examples to add to your site? No problem. Create high-quality examples of what you will provide.
Learn how to pitch yourself.
Before you start bidding on projects and talking to potential clients, learn how to pitch yourself. No matter how skilled you are, you must learn to communicate and sell those skills. Start off with a strong elevator pitch on your project bid or through email. Show that you’ve done your homework, showing how your unique skills can benefit the specific project. Refer to relevant work samples and past projects, attaching any relevant samples.
Find your first clients.
Project examples will be fine placeholders on your portfolio to start with, but you really need to get your first few projects so you can display professional examples. There are plenty of different marketing strategies you can use to start conversations with potential clients. Remember that you won’t be the perfect freelancer for every client, just like every client won’t be perfect for you. Find clients that will be the right fit, and treat every interview, proposal and project as a learning experience.
Freelancer sites like Fiverr and Upwork are some of the most crowded sites freelancers use to find projects, but their high fees make these platforms unattractive to both freelancers and employers.
This is where the power of blockchain comes in. Boon Tech is a freelance marketplace based on blockchain that is completely free to use. We even reward our users with our cryptocurrency, Boon Coin, just for using the platform!
Register at BoonTech.ai to start your freelance journey today and enjoy ZERO commission fees!