The reality of freelancing is very different from the misconception that freelancers have an easy life! It’s hard and taking the first steps on your freelancing journey should be a positive experience, you should feel good about starting your own business.
There will be no celebration party in your honour because you decided one day to go and work for yourself, you should seriously pat yourself on the back for taking the chance. Because that what it is, it is a risk, what happens if you don’t get any business, what if your circumstances change and you need to get a real world job? – Anything can happen.
These are all permutations that may never happen, it should be your focus on starting out then growing your freelance business and when you hit that awesome peak where you have good clients and are kept busy then you will see and feel the rewards.
That all sounds wonderful and having a strategy is key to success but how do you actually start making money when freelancing? after all you need money to pay rent, you need to eat and you need to have a life.
The Projects will land on my lap
No they won’t, there is a feel good factor having conversations with potential customers about tog et that project or meeting someone who can promise you tons of referrals. Humans forget things all the time, you need to make sure you follow up every quote, meeting and contact to make sure they choose you for the project.
At any stage of freelancing, starting out or experienced – it will always be a challenge to get work and get paid. The only way you are going to get money is by getting work, Here are 10 ways that can help you make money freelancing:
1. Get your name out (not with your friends & family)
You have decided you want to be a freelancer? great but no one else will know about it. People always say Friends and Family to start with but I don’t agree – they are an easy target but not to be relied on unless they are all self-employed. whats the point telling your teenage sister what you are doing? Business is business and you need to network with business people. Join networking events in your locality(easy)and hook in similar companies.
2. Build a Portfolio or Improve your Existing Portfolio.
To stand out amongst the thousands of other freelancers, you have to show your customers what you are about. You would be amazed how many freelancers out there that call themselves professional web designers and they don’t even have a website themselves. If you don’t have a rocking website, no matter what type of freelancer you are then forget about it – you won’t get anywhere, you need to have a shit hot website with clear and accessible information about you, what you do and what you can do. You need to attract customers, they need to see what you are about and getting jobs = getting paid.
3. Offer to Collaborate with fellow freelancers.
A freelance industry means busy workers, a lot of times freelancers are saying no to work – small jobs to pursue the bigger jobs or they are just too busy to even think. Get in contact with others and offer to collaborate or help on any projects, say that you will work on the background and take any of the heavy lifting. If you are working in a niche industry other freelancers may be willing to work together to achieve a higher goal.
4. Socialise on groups.
There are hundreds of groups on facebook relating to every type of industry, join up and interact with other. Share ideas and articles relating to the industry, become interesting to everyone there and offer to help on any projects of someone is stuck on a job. By interacting with others and sharing articles or war wounds will build a level of trust and before you know it, you will be meeting up in person.
5. Use Freelance Job websites :/
There are many freelancers out there who use websites like upwork, fiverr, freelancer.com etc successfully and enjoy the experience and work it provides them, but for more experienced freelancers, they will generally refer to them as a dark corner of hell. The reason is many experienced freelancers value their work and the service they provide and the perception of these websites is that it’s all about one thing – price $$$. There are many stories out there of freelancers picking up small projects on these websites that some experienced freelancers would have laughed at, done the job and then find out the contractor had this huge project sitting in the background and they were testing the waters as such.
There are no golden eggs in this game and to say otherwise is bullshit. if it was a profession that gave quick rewards, everyone would be doing it. The harsh reality is that it’s tough but it’s not impossible, the 80/20 rule is true in that 80% of your work will be from referrals and 20% direct and this is the key. Freelancing is all about you and you need to build a persona online and offline, focus on what you do best, whats your USP, what makes you different from the rest and then the jobs will start appearing. Good luck!