Many office workers believe that freelance is a much better option than a full-time job. Well, indeed: you have a flexible schedule and everything you need for work is just a laptop and an Internet connection. It doesn’t matter where and when you do your job and these aspects make freelancing really attractive. However, leaving your current work without having any freelance options and opportunities can be risky. Gladly, there are ways to avoid all issues and combine these two activities (at least, until you feel confident with your freelance).
What aims do you have?
How can you get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going? Indeed, it is impossible to reach your goals until you define them clearly. There are two possible paths to follow when you want to combine office and freelance work:
• You need more money;
• You want to skip to freelancing and become your own boss;
• You want to start freelancing to achieve some other goals and this is just a step towards them.
You should make everything clear before you start and this is something that all successful businessmen, freelancers or entrepreneurs will agree with.
Also, you need to understand what exactly you are going to do. Do you want to join a writing company and work as a remote blogger or copywriter? Maybe, you want to be a web designer? A developer? Think about it and adjust your further plans.
What niche will you join?
Think about the niche you are going to work in and your current level of proficiency. Do you want to pursue the same career or start something new? What do you need to learn to improve your current skills or start another type of activity?
Be aware that there are a lot of competitors on the market and chances are that they request less money for their work than you want to earn. Once you enter the freelancing market, you compete with people from all over the world and some of them live in the countries where everything is cheaper than in yours. So they might have even a higher level of expertise than you but work for a significantly lower salary.
For this reason, freelance platforms with numerous low-priced remote workers are not an option. Instead, you should look for some companies that hire freelancers and value quality above all. Competing on quality is better than competing on price. There are numerous startups and established brands that look for freelancers, so you’d better look for them instead of freelance resources.
Your potential audience: who are they?
Finding the right clients and learning how to communicate with them when you are a freelancer is an art to master. Make some assumptions about your potential clients and try cooperating with them. If you are not sure that you want to continue working with these people after a short period of time, it is better to stop cooperation and find someone else. It’s okay to narrow the list down. It’s crucial to work with people you really want to work with since this will help you get better results in a long run. Also, remember that you are building your reputation among customers and companies, so make sure that you always deliver high quality. This way, they will recommend you to others and your contacts will multiply.
What about the prices?
Being a freelancer means that you don’t have a fixed salary, therefore, you have to do some planning to ensure that you can sustain your living. Determine how will you rate your work. Do you want clients to pay you for hours or for the projects you complete? Make sure that you have a clear strategy to avoid any surprises. Of course, you need to afford your lifestyle and this might be your main focus now. However, we recommend you to take a different angle. First and foremost, your prices should be dictated by the quality of work you deliver. Don’t decide your rates basing on the salaries of your competitors, but think about the amount of money that meets the level of your expertise. It’s you to decide your rates, not your competitors.
Rich clients with successful businesses that are willing to pay more because they have such an opportunity and value high-quality work. They know that investing money in a good service will bring them returns. Small clients have less financial opportunities since they should take care of possible loses and prefer to pay less to have some money for unpredictable situations. The price can be too low or too high only for a certain customer. There is no sense in making your prices too high above the quality level you can deliver, but you shouldn’t undervalue your efforts too.
When you prove that you are just the perfect option for a particular position and customers want to cooperate with you, prices become less important. It is business and they will make it work if you show that you can help them. This is how it should be.
Do you have a portfolio?
If you don’t, then you should do it right now. Your portfolio is a powerful tool that can help you make a really good impression on your potential clients. They will gladly visit your personal site to see and evaluate your experience, style, and skills. In your portfolio, you need to present a clear picture of your services and people who use them. Also, you need to show that you are just the one they need to make them want to work with you. Make sure that you:
- Locate samples of your works
- Include feedback from your previous or current clients
- Don’t forget about the contact info
- Tell them about your education, strong sides, and skills
- Update the portfolio regularly
Make a quick search and examine the portfolios of other freelancers. See how they state their personalities, formulate their offers, and describe their experience. Get inspired and do even better.
What can you deliver?
This relates to the previous point of the article. You need to show the examples of your work to make your clients impressed. All of your best projects must be present in your web portfolio. Whether you write texts, draw images, or make videos, upload new content to your page regularly. When you find out what exactly your clients are looking for, craft exactly this type of material and publish it.
The best way to attract a client is to show that you can do exactly what he needs. It makes the cooperation easier and more resultative for both of you.
Who are your first customers?
Your first clients are very important and you need to choose them with responsibility. There are two main reasons for this: first, you will have a lack of time to find the new ones when you start; you need to have some good real-life projects in your portfolio. Your first clients and projects will influence your further movement. Therefore, you have to decide carefully. It doesn’t mean that you need to spend a week overthinking your choices, but just give it a while and think for a moment or two. It’s enough to have 2-3 clients when you start. This way, you will easily realize if the number of requests is enough and how much time do you want to devote to your work.
These simple recommendations will help you get started with your freelance career with minimal risks. Make sure that you approach every point carefully and follow the tips we have presented above. Think about your sphere of work, come up with the desired salary, and make a research to find the best clients ever. We hope that your freelance career will come smoothly! Good luck!
Jennifer Pauli graduated from Corvinus School of Management and finished the faculty of Journalism at Corvinus University of Budapest. Currently, He is an editor, business writer, and copywriter, working with enough well-known companies, blogs, and personalities.