How to start working as a freelancer

Working as a freelancer can be very rewarding, after all—you're your own boss. But how do you get started working for yourself?

How to start working as a freelancer

Do you want to start working as a freelancer?

Studies are showing that, in line with popular belief, freelancers really are happier than their employee counterparts. One of the prime reasons for this is the flexibility that comes with freelance careers. 

Besides a flexible schedule, freelancing also allows you to be autonomous and proactively grow your career. What's more, freelance work can often pay more. Further insights show that skilled freelancers earn more per hour than 70% of employees in the US.

The thought of taking back your schedule, working on your own terms, and potentially earning more in less time is very attractive. But figuring out how to become a freelancer in the first place can feel overwhelming. 

Where do you start? How do you secure work for yourself? How do you make the transition? 

If these are some of the questions plaguing you, keep reading for an actionable guide on how to start freelancing. 

Define your skillsets

One of the first things to do if you're looking to start working as a freelancer is to define your skillsets. 

If you've been entertaining the idea of a freelance career for some time, then you probably already know what you'd like to offer.

But if you haven't gotten clear on this yet, here are some of the common freelance services people offer:

  • Content writing
  • Photography
  • Video editing
  • Social media management
  • Marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Website design
  • Development
  • SEO
  • Translation
  • Transcription
  • PR

These are just some of the many services freelancers with a solid skillset and experience can offer.

If you feel you could build out your area of expertise with complementary skillsets, you can also consider taking online courses before marketing your services.

Build a portfolio

One of the secrets involved in how to become a successful freelancer is having a killer portfolio. 

To stand out from the crowd and prove your worth to clients, you need a portfolio that will catch the eye and showcase your abilities. 

Of course, building a portfolio can feel like a chicken and egg conundrum if you're just starting out. However, perhaps you have some previous work you can use? Or maybe you could do a project for a friend and use it as your first portfolio piece. 

Plan out your schedule

Before you begin taking on freelance projects, it's important to work out when you will be able to tackle them. Taking on work only to blow the deadline is definitely not the way to start your freelance career. 

Instead, examine your schedule and see where you can make adjustments to fit in freelance projects.

Start job hunting

Once you have taken some of the preliminary steps in how to start freelancing, it's time to start looking for projects. 

For first-timers who are wondering how to be a freelancer, the thought of looking for work can feel super daunting. 

While it can be challenging in the beginning, 25% of freelancers say they can find work within a day if they need to. If you know where to look and how to market yourself, this could easily become you.

Let's look at some of the main methods you can use to reel in freelance work. 

Put out the word

Feeling self-conscious about your decision to start freelancing? Don't be. 

Spread the word as much as you can, as some of the best work can come via word of mouth. Speak to old and current co-workers, and let your family and friends know.

Visit job sites

The next common step to finding freelance work is to visit job boards and freelancing sites. 

See what work there is and apply if it's a fit. Make a point to apply to multiple job listings, and don't get discouraged if you don't get one right away. Remember, good things take time.

A great strategy can be to block an hour off each day for freelance job hunting until you land the projects you want. 

Market yourself

Besides applying for listed jobs online, you can also market yourself and the services you offer. For this, you will usually need to create a website. 

Once that is up and running, you can then leverage paid ads on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to target people who would be likely to need your services. 

Tips for transitioning to working as a freelancer

Once you know the ins and outs of how to be a freelancer, freelance careers can be highly fulfilling and lucrative. However, until then, making the switch can be stressful. 

Here are a few ways to minimize the stress of switching from an employed position to a freelance career. 

Freelance as a side hustle first

If you are wondering how to start freelancing, one of the best ways is to treat it as a side hustle at first. 

You can keep the security of your current job while building up ratings, a network, and a client base in your spare time. 

Once the ball starts rolling, you can then think about quitting your employed position and freelancing full time. 

Another great way to transition into freelancing is to switch to a part-time position. That way, you can divide your time equally between building up your freelance career and earning a steady income. 

Build up an emergency fund

Another top tip for those wondering how to become a freelancer is to build up an emergency fund. 

Because freelance work isn't guaranteed, there's always the possibility of a dry period where you don't have work coming in. Be prepared for this by having a stash of cash saved up. 

Ready to start working as a freelancer?

Are you eager to start working as a freelancer? If so, then our final tip for you would be to check out the Hectic platform and its features. 

With Hectic, freelancers can professionally manage their projects and clients all from one place. With semi-automated invoicing, drag-and-drop proposal building, payment tracking, time tracking, client discovery, and more, you can instantly level up your brand and your freelancing business, save time, and better manage your projects. 

Sign up today and start building the freelance career of your dreams. 

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