Table of Contents
There are currently approximately 57.3 million freelancers in the United States, this means that telecommuting has become one of the most attractive work modes for many people, for all the benefits it offers.
If you want to join this great group of people, there are several things you should do to become an online freelancer.
You must define which area you want to specialize in and learn how to find jobs on the web. It is something that at first may sound complicated but is easy to understand. If you try hard, sooner than you think you will find your new clients.
1. Pick Your Skill
The first step is to define what you want to work on, what will be your freelance work area. Sure you are good at several skills and you plan to put them all into practice to earn money, but in reality that is not something highly recommended.
Of course, you can work doing different things, but the best thing is that you specialize in a specific area, so you can grow as a professional in that area and dedicate all your effort to learn about that niche.
Advertising yourself as a web designer or generalist developer, for example, will make it highly unlikely that you will get a job anytime soon.
Clients look for the most trained and best-prepared professionals for their projects, which is why when they hire freelancers, they favor specialists over generalists.
Identify the specialty in which you have the most experience (and that you enjoy the most since you will never be motivated to do a job that if you hate it from the beginning), and develop your skills so that you can identify yourself as a true expert.
Also, keep in mind that clients not only hire freelancers thinking about their trajectory, but they hire those with skills that they do not yet have within their companies.
Once you have identified your specialty, you need to make yourself known as an expert. Join relevant groups in your area, both online and in-person; Find opportunities to speak or write about what you do, and share your experience and knowledge.
You will also need to be prepared to adapt your specialty as it changes and the industry evolves: if the technology or language you specialize in begins to wane, you will need to develop another specialty.
Being adaptable without losing your focus is a key ingredient for a successful freelancer. Specializing in a skill or market can help you develop your career, or even start a new one if you find that you are passionate about a different area than the one you work in right now.
2. Join Online Platforms
Working as a freelancer is one of the best options when it comes to working around the world, either from home or from anywhere.
Of course, you should take into account some points such as knowing which are the best websites to find job offers as well as some tips that will help you in your work as a freelance.
Online platforms are the best place to start your freelance career. Think that when you are just starting out, you have no contacts or clients, then these websites will allow you to find your first clients.
There are many types of online job platforms, so you should research which ones exist, what benefits they offer, and how they work before you start investing your time in one.
In most cases, online job platforms will ensure that you are not scammed and that you charge fairly for your work.
In these platforms you can also build a reputation that helps you get other jobs, that is to say, that every time you do a job for a client, the client will be able to give feedback and that testimony will encourage other clients to hire you.
Here are some online job platforms that you can try:
- Flexjobs: It is one of the most powerful web portals to access job offers as a freelancer from home or from anywhere in the world.
- Upwork: Has over 12 million members. One of the main tools available on the internet to search for a job as a freelancer and work from home or from anywhere in the world.
- Peopleperhour: Tool very similar to the previous ones where you can find projects and job offers remotely.
- Fiverr: Another platform where you can find a multitude of offers to work as a freelance. In it, you will find a scoring system that will make your profile receive more orders according to the work done.
- Freelancer: It is the world’s largest freelancing, outsourcing, and crowdsourcing marketplace for small businesses. They have more than 13 million users. In it, you can be hired as a freelancer to carry out different jobs.
3. Complete Your Profile
For a new client, your freelance profile is like the first date. It is your chance to make a good first impression. Filling your profile with the first thing that comes to mind or with a few random words is not going to do you much good.
Your freelance profile must be attractive and have all the necessary information while being concise and effective.All sections of your profile have a purpose, and that is that potential clients realize your ability as a freelancer.
There you should include your academic and work experience, explain your skills, interests, and even on some platforms, you will have to attach a profile photo. Try to take care of every detail to convey professionalism and confidence to your client.
In addition to your work history, the client will pay special attention to your Talents or Skills. This is ultimately what will differentiate you the most from the rest. Within the “Skills” section you can choose from a wide variety of specific skills that you can modify as you require.
Here are some aspects to take into account:
Your profile should be as complete as possible and above all, professional. The information must be presented in a simple, clear, precise, and concise manner.
Do not dwell on elaborate or ornate phrases. Go straight to the concrete and relevant. Your profile must be unique, it must differentiate you and it must convince.
Remember: this premise should be your guide for all the sections that you develop in your profile.
The language you use should be 100% professional and avoid abbreviations, technical terminology, or jargon. Very important: check your spelling and grammar. Make sure the text is flawless.
This may be taken for granted but many times errors of this type continue to be seen even in highly trained professionals with years of experience.
Another important issue is the profile photo: once again, make sure it is absolutely professional. A photo of your smiling face is ideal. Discard casual, childish, or poor-quality photos.
Your goal is to convince, so if you have the possibility of making a brief description of your profile, we suggest you explain in detail why you are the right candidate for this type of project and what are your essential contributions based on your training and experience.
Analyze what differentiates you and position yourself from that place.
When describing your Professional Experience, try not only to cite your career in companies or institutions but also internships, volunteering, or special projects. These last types of experience are essential in case you do not have professional experience in your niche.
In general, it is advisable to cite only the most recent or relevant experiences, but everything will depend on the type of position for which you aspire and to what extent that practice can contribute.
Always provide accurate and honest data, and apply for the projects for which you are really qualified.
4. Apply for Jobs
Could be obvious but if you want to find freelance jobs, you should apply to them on the job online platforms. This process will require a lot of patience and perseverance on your part because you will hardly find a job immediately after applying.
After having created your profile and filling it out completely, you should review the job platform that you have chosen to see which vacancies fit your profile and skills.
Make sure your skills match the profile they are looking for because if you do not qualify you will lose time applying. It does not matter if you are just starting to work as a freelance, you can be sure that there are offers for you in the market.
Remember that all those who today are expert and professional freelancers, at some point were in the same situation as you. You just have to start and work to achieve your goals.
If you want to learn how to do it correctly, you can read this guide on how to apply for freelance jobs.
5. Increase Your Online Presence
To make yourself known and reach potential customers, you must increase your online presence. This means that you should be present in different parts of the web to increase the chances of being found. It is like when you see that a brand not only has a website but is also present on different social networks.
Invest in a Portfolio Website
This is a section within a web page where you can include the images or documents of your latest work. In this way, clients can see the companies you work with and what your professional evolution has been. A portfolio of work is not just images or screenshots.
They can also be corporate videos or presentations in which a summary of all your professional activity is shown. If you compare it with a curriculum vitae, it would be like the part to which your work experience corresponds.
This is one of the best ways to advertise on the net. Through the portfolio, you sell your work and make your personal brand reach your audience as a professional.
The portfolio website is also a way to give credibility to your work. For the client who is carrying out a selection process, the portfolio will be a key reference before making her final decision.
Even if you have not worked with clients before, in the portfolio website you can include any work or practice that you have done. You can also make work samples exclusively to show them in your portfolio.
Join Online Industry Communities
In different places, on the web, you will find groups that you can join and grow your network.
Groups like these can be found on Facebook or Twitter, the idea is that with these people you can share things related to your niche and read what they share, so you will be aware of events and trends that can make your freelance career grow.
By participating in these spaces you will meet people who work in the same niche and with whom you can develop working relationships, that way they can support each other to get clients and grow professionally.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is essential to growing your online presence. It depends on the niche in which you operate, you can create content that is attractive to share, so your followers will spread the things you post.
For that reason, you must make sure to generate quality and interesting content, which contributes to the community and even to people who do not understand much about what you do but who are interested.
LinkedIn is the most professional social network and the one that could benefit you better as a freelancer, since on that platform your contacts will be colleagues and potential clients.
However, on Facebook there is a large audience of people looking for services, so you should not underestimate it.
6. Invest in Your Professional Training
When you are a freelancer, there are many things you will have to do on your own, such as managing your finances, promoting your work, reaching clients among others. Many things that a team would take care of if you were working within a company.
So if you want to be a successful freelancer you should not only learn as much as you can about your niche, but you should also learn about marketing and finance.
For this, there are many online courses that you can take on platforms such as Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. These courses are usually paid, but it is an excellent investment for your freelance career.
Also, you should not neglect your professional training regarding your niche. Each area of work is constantly evolving, so you must stay at the forefront.
There are many courses that you will find on online course platforms that will help you improve the knowledge you already have and many of them grant you a certificate upon completion of the course.
Getting certifications is good because you can integrate it into your portfolio and it is something that clients give a lot of importance to.
Tips to Be a Successful Freelancer
When you start your path as a freelancer you likely do it without experience, so you will run into some obstacles. That should not be a reason to fall. The key to being successful in the freelance world is not to give up and take every opportunity you have by showing your best skills.
1. Establish a Work Schedule
Although being a freelancer you do not have a fixed schedule, in the same way, you must consider that to fulfill a project you must invest time.
The best way to comply with this advice is to choose the most productive hours, in this way you will be moving forward with your project, but choosing when and how much time you want to dedicate.
The positive part of this is that you can modify your schedule whenever you want. You can adapt it to your needs and you will not have to comply with a tedious office schedule. Remember, you distribute your time.
2. Value Your Work
One of the most common mistakes starting freelancers make is thinking that their work is worth less than it is.
At first, you think that by setting the price you think is ideal, you will not be hired and therefore you tend to lower it. This error must be solved since each work has its value and must be paid for it.
If you do not know what the budget is, you can research and calculate an approximate of how much you would earn according to the work you want to do.
However, this has some exceptions. As a novice and inexperienced freelancer, looking to gain experience should be as high a priority as wanting to earn money.
Remember that many clients attach great importance to experience and that not having it can prevent you from getting good jobs that will be better paid. So at first, you can compromise on the price, but make sure it Is still a reasonable payment.
3. Be Attentive to Your Customers
An advantage of being a freelancer is that you have direct contact with your clients. That is why communication must flow and you should always take into account their opinions and suggestions since, in the end, the client is the one who will have the last word.
Maintaining a good relationship with the client guarantees that the final work is the desired one and by earning their trust and respect you will be demonstrating your commitment.
If you treat a client well, they are likely to become a long-term client and also recommend your work to other people, which is essential to reach new clients.
4. Be Responsible
Something fundamental is the organization and the fulfillment of the scheduled deliveries.
It is necessary that from the beginning you know very well how long it will take you to carry out the tasks that clients order and that not just because you want a job, you will say yes when actually you do not have the availability to do it.
By making that mistake, you will end up defaulting or delivering a job with very low quality and damaging your own reputation.
Remember that you do not have the name of a company behind you, but that you are promoting yourself as a brand, your name is recognized, valued and associated with tasks, specific services, and quality of work.
It is necessary that you also establish a cordial relationship with your clients and that you can reach agreements to maintain productive and favorable relationships for both parties.
5. Manage Your Finances Well
Working as freelancers is not just about earning enough to survive, but making this a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy some financial comfort.
Now, it is a good idea that you know that when you are starting you may need to spend a good amount of time doing things that do not necessarily generate any profits immediately.
Things like advertising yourself and sending proposals to potential clients may take time, a lot of effort and patience.
You will not be able to charge as much as other freelancers with more experience and let’s say it will not be the amount you dream of.
You will also need to spend time managing both your business and your money. You will have to send invoices, keep track of unpaid bills, track your income and expenses, and be accountable every year.
Without a doubt, it may sound overwhelming at first. But when you break this big goal into many small short term goals, anything is possible with enough hard work.
Generating stable and constant income when working as a freelancer is something that will take time.
It is recommended that you have several months of savings before starting to work as a freelancer, so you will avoid problems in case you delay in getting your first jobs.
6. Market Yourself
You may be the most amazing illustrator but if no one has heard about you and the services you offer, it may be hard to acquire new clients.
Getting the word out to the world may open many doors, whether it’s tomorrow or in 6 months.
Having clients come to you means you must be doing something right and this mostly comes from putting in the work and understanding your clients to start with.
So although a portfolio website is a great start, word of mouth (along with a few printed business cards handy) should not be underestimated.
Your goal is to put your services in front of many eyes, be it offline or online, you never know who might recommend you.
You Must Strive to Achieve Success
There are many niches out there that offer the ability to work remotely as a freelancer, and with a bit of determination you will find your place.
There are many people who are dedicated to being a full time freelancer that just like you, started it off as a hobby and turned it into a profitable business that is generating stable income working from the comfort of their home.
Although of course, that is something that you will achieve only if you work with patience and perseverance, because success is not achieved overnight.
You must make sure to use online job platforms, market yourself, learn how to apply for jobs and increase your online presence, in order for your freelance career to grow and before you know it become a professional expert.