Whatever your skill set, freelancing can be a good way to support yourself or to earn some extra money on the side. But while it may seem like a simple concept, becoming a successful freelancer can take quite a bit of work and you might not know quite where to start. Here are a few tips to help you sidestep some common problems.
There are unlimited markets for freelancers, and your skills probably fit in multiple areas. It may be tempting to set yourself up to work in all of these areas, but that is a bad idea. This will stretch you too thin and will prevent you from specializing in one area. Do some research and figure out one or two things that you can use to create your niche. Not only will this allow you to focus your skills but it will also help you focus your marketing campaigns and get referrals from your clients. If you are having trouble figuring out what your niche is, look at stories from other freelancers for inspiration.
If you want to make this a worthwhile endeavor, you are going to need clients and you are going to have to be the one to find them. You can find some clients on websites that cater to freelancers, but you also need to get your name out there. If you haven’t already created a website for yourself, now is the time to do it. Think of your website as your online resume, complete with samples of your work. In order to have the best conversion rates, you should make sure you make your site as professional and attractive as possible. It may be worthwhile to talk to a professional web designer about improving the overall layout and appearance.
In the best world, you wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with dishonest clients or with scammers. But this isn’t the best world, so you need to take steps to protect yourself. One of the most important things that you can do to protect yourself and your work is to employ the use of legal contracts. Because you are working as an independent contractor, there are less legal requirements for how a business has to compensate you, so some clients may be tempted to abuse this. Having your own contracts drawn up and signed with your clients allows you to put these protections in place to make sure that you are fairly compensated for the work that you do.
As you get more experience with freelancing, you need to stay on top of your market. Whenever possible, attend conferences or workshops that are meant to help you improve your skills. You should also join professional networks within your market area. While the other members may be your competition, it is a good way to stay up to date with what is going on and to get any questions you have answered.
Don’t be afraid to take a step towards creating your own business and doing what you love. There’s a variety of things that you can do to be successful as a freelancer, but if you follow these tips, you will be a step ahead of other people who are starting out.