The idea of freelancing sounds appealing to many of us. It symbolizes freedom in the employment space – no bosses, no fixed hours, and no one location. But in order to get there, there are some basic steps and factors to consider.
So far, you did what you had to do – you went to the office every day for a number of years, you acquired skills, connections and all the tools so you can go solo.
Some people feel comfortable going to the office, meet colleagues and eliminate the responsibility that you carry when you are self-employed. Indeed, for some people, it’s reasonable to stay in a secure environment as long as possible.
On the other side of the coin, some of us are destined to work in a different environment, on our own.
The earliest appearance of the word Freelance was by Sir Walter Scott’s in the novel Ivanhoe in 1819:
“I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”
First steps to becoming a freelancer
Well, some guides tell you to set your goal, get inspired by your feelings, identify yourself/your client and build a strategy…OK. But first, you got some business issues to take care of. In this article, we assume you already know your niche, acknowledged that you choose a digital freelance job and include all the basic things to do in order to start freelancing.
Open profile pages in freelance platforms and Linkedin
You gotta spread the word. Unless you have previous connections, the first thing you need to do is to set up your freelance accounts on social media platforms. Take note that these platforms are full of freelancers from different parts of the world so be ready for competition. Personally, I was banned from Upwork for no reason, literally no reason and after investigating the issue I realized that there’s an oversupply of freelancers. Eventually, after reading this post I overcame the hard breakup and realized it was a good thing for me.
Create a working portfolio
If you have a previous working portfolio, put it out there – Linkedin, Upwork, PPH, Freelancer.com, etc. If you worked as web-designer, content writer/editor, programmer, graphic designer and more, then you can simply show your work. That should be enough in the freelance space – if you know how to do a certain role, you’ll find your way.
Take online courses
The digital world requires a variety of skills which can be acquired by working at a company or by taking online courses. For example, if you’re planning on making your own website, whether it’s a blog, eCommerce or anything else, you might consider taking SEO, WordPress, online marketing courses.
There are great online courses these days, just tour around and you probably find a course that can enrich your skills. Some of the best online courses sites include Coursera, edX, edureka. Remember that completing an online course provides you, besides a new skill, a digital certificate that looks pretty nice on your Linkedin and social platforms profile.
Set-up freelance tools that can help you track your tasks
The digital working environment requires multi-tasking which in a way is just impossible for a human being to remember and function. A good computer, stable and fast internet connection and even a nice working desk can make a huge difference. Don’t believe this article’s image, it’s not realistic to work on the beach unless you have a nice desk and coffee.
Other apps such as Trello, Google Drive, Freshbooks (invoice) can make your life easier.
Set-up your self-employed status in your country
Every citizen must pay taxes. Once you established a freelance income, you must declare your income to the authorities. Every country has different regulations for self-employed income and you probably already know most of the details – It’s a hassle but you have to do it.
All the ways to become a freelancer
So you completed all you had to do, you’re good at what you do and you’re… ready to work?? Ready or not, you have to pay the rent.
Obviously, the search for a freelance job varies depending on your field. Nevertheless, you have several methods to find a freelance income.
Find work through freelance social platforms
As we mentioned, you can establish a decent income from freelance platforms. You have the catch 22 problem in the beginning but once you get over it, you no longer need to search for a job, employers will approach you. Some of the best freelance platforms include People Per Hour, Fiverr, Freelance.com, Upwork, toptotal and Guru.
Find freelance work through Linkedin, employment search engines and remote jobs websites
All options are on the table. You can basically type the job of your desire on Google, Linkedin, indeed or any remote job website. Check this guide to find some of the best remote job websites.
Build a blog/website
If you decide to do the ‘build-website’ process on your own, then you need to find a web host, we recommend Kinsta, it’s one of the best web hosts. Do not use cheap web host and do not sign up for a shared WordPress host plan.
Then you need to build your website, the easiest way remains to build your website via WordPress. Then, you have to choose a theme, how to design your website. Check Envato, they have great tools to build beautiful website themes and a great customization dashboard.
Building your website can serve different purposes – you can do it with the goal of generating an income from the website, or you can do it as your business card and present your work. Either way, you need to know SEO. That is how to optimize your website on search engines.
If you know people in your industry or you have good connections network, then offer yourself as a remote employee. Some employers find it difficult to move forward to employ freelancers that work from home, but slowly it becomes impossible for employers to ignore this type of employees.
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