How can you become a freelancer? Expert suggests these steps

After the increase in remote work opportunities during the global pandemic, many people are making the shift to finding online freelance positions. Whether it’s as a full-time job or a side hustle, current statistics show that 50.9% of the total workforce will be freelance in just three years. 

James Dooley, the owner of PromoSEO, gives his advice on how you can be one of the more than half of the population with freelance work. 

Benefits of Freelancing

Switching to freelance work from a traditional nine-to-five setting can be a refreshing change for people who want to set their own schedules. On top of choosing your own hours, there are many other added benefits to freelance work.

‘People who have a hard time fitting into a setting where they have to stick to a rigid routine and answer to superiors find it refreshing to step away from the corporate environment and become their own bosses’, notes James. 

Remote Work

Although freelance does not necessarily mean that you can work remotely, about 46% of freelancers work online, so there are a significant amount of jobs out there that can be done from a computer, meaning that you can do the work as well as travel if you want. 

Flexible Hours

Flexible hours make it easier for people with children to stay home with them and work while they are at school or napping. Getting into freelance is a great way to get back into the workforce after having kids. It means that you can set your hours and work as much or as little as you want because you are your own boss.

Financial Independence

Compensation is also in your hands as a freelancer because whatever money is coming into your freelance business is yours to do whatever you want. As you build your reputation as a reliable business, and you hone in on certain skills, you will see more money coming in. At this point, you will be able to determine when to give yourself a raise. James adds, ‘This financial freedom keeps you from ever having to ask a boss for a raise again.’ 

How to Become a Freelancer

1. Build Skills

There are many different skills needed to become a freelancer like time management, networking, and computer skills. According to recent statistics, 66% of freelancers specialize in two or three different skills. This is so that they can appeal to many different kinds of clients and do contract work in different areas. ‘Sometimes freelancers will work on many different types of jobs at once with all different clients’, says James. Time management and organizational skills come in handy when you are juggling many different projects. 

2. Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Sometimes freelance work can run dry and you have to find new ways to use your skills. By being creative and looking for niche markets to break into, you will find new outlets and businesses that want to hire you for your freelance work. 

3. Build Your Portfolio

Having proof that you have accomplished different tasks or produced successful content will help you appeal to different businesses that are looking to hire freelancers. From the beginning of your freelance career, you should keep track of your work and be ready to show it to any potential clients. 

4. Find Your Target Audience

Once you have established a solid set of skills and you are confident in the portfolio you have created, you can start actively looking for a target audience. This will help you to hone in on your specialties and start making a name for yourself in your desired industry.

5. Network in Your Area and Beyond

Going to networking events and always having business cards ready are great ways to start up conversations with potential clients and other freelancers. James says, ‘You never know when opportunity will strike, so being friendly and always willing to strike up a conversation are great assets to maintain.’ A lot of career opportunities arise because of who you know and as the world gets increasingly interconnected, you can build relationships with both the people in your area and people all over the world.

What to Expect with Freelance Work

Opportunities to Gather Experience

With every new freelance job, you will gain new skills to carry on to the next project you sign on to. A lot of freelance work is done by contract with clients where they could ask you to do a variety of things for their business. Each work experience will gain you new skills and ways of problem solving.

Inconsistent Payments

With freelance jobs, you may get a lot of work one month and then very little the next. ‘This means that you will have to develop your budgeting skills in order to bridge the gap if needed’, says James.

More Free Time

If you plot your time out correctly, you will have a lot more free time with a freelance job than with a traditional office job.. Many people enjoy working outside of an office because there are no office politics to deal with. Freelancers have more time to focus on other interests besides just work.  

As freelance work becomes more widespread, now is your time to get your foot in the door. James advises, ‘Make connections with other freelancers in your area and reach out to potential clients who are in need of your specific set of skills.’ 

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