Freelancing for beginners can seem a little daunting. For some, you’re leaving the safety and security of a steady job to start out on your own. For others, freelancing can also be a great way to make some extra cash on the side, or even transition into a new career.
Freelancing can be a lot of work, and it’s not always easy to know where to start. However, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It is also one of the most popular remote jobs for digital nomads.
In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about freelancing: what it is, the most popular freelancing jobs, how to find remote jobs, and how to market yourself when starting out.
So whether you’re just curious about freelancing or are ready to take the plunge, this information will hopefully help you to get started freelancing.
What is Freelancing or a Freelancer?
Freelancing is a type of work where you’re not employed by any company but instead, work for yourself.
Freelancers often do a variety of different jobs, and sometimes work on several projects at the same time.
This can be a great option if you want to have more control over your own career, or if you’re looking for more flexibility in your work schedule. However, this does a certain level of discipline and learning how to get productive.
Key Benefits of Freelancing
Freelancing can be a great way to get ahead in your career, make some extra money on the side, or just do something you love for a living.
Here are some of the common key benefits of freelancing once you get it up and running.
1. You can work from home or anywhere: This is one of the biggest benefits of freelancing – you can work from home, which means you can avoid wasting time commuting and save on childcare costs. Set up a nice remote work station and get to work.
2. You can set your own hours: Another big benefit of freelancing is that you can set your own hours. This gives you more flexibility to work around your other commitments.
This can however depend on your agreement with your clients, as some might want you to be available during certain period of their working hours. However, you are free to arrange terms like this which brings us to the next benefit.
3. You can choose your own projects: As a freelancer, you have the freedom to choose the projects you want to work on. This mean you can pick and choose the work that interests you. If you value certain things like time flexibility or geographical freedom, seek out projects that have fewer limitations on that.
Freelancing can offer a lot of freedom and flexibility that traditional jobs cannot. If you’re thinking of starting out as a freelancer, be sure to keep these key benefits in mind!
The Most Popular Freelancing Jobs
There are a variety of freelance jobs available, including writing, graphic design, web development, and many others. Here are some of the common options.
- Copy/Article Writing
- Proofreading and Editing
- Graphic Design
- Video Editing
- Web Development
- Social Media Management
- SEO Analysis
- Virtual Assistance
How to Find Freelancing Work
One of the easiest ways to start finding freelance work is to use a freelancing platform like Upwork, Fiverr, or PeoplePerHour. These platforms work as marketplaces to match buyers and sellers together.
On these platforms, you can create a profile and start your journey to freelancing. The platforms will typically take a cut of the earnings. A couple of the most popular freelancing websites to find work are:
Freelancing on UpWork
UpWork is a freelancing platform that connects freelancers with buyers. On UpWork, you can create a profile and start applying for jobs that interest you. It’s one of the most popular freelancing websites to find work, and it’s a great way to get started freelancing.
Freelancing on Fiverr
Fiverr is the other big freelance marketplace that works more on a gig model. This means you list your services for a price and buyers come to purchase them. This is the key difference between Upwork and Fiverr, although both platforms are starting to try and model after each other.
Finding success on these platforms is not just based on creating an account and just randomly applying or publishing. That is why many have tried them and complained nothing is working.
Both platforms have their own set of rules to play by in order to stand out. We are planning to write more tips and insights on this in the future.
If you like to be updated when we publish new articles, you can subscribe to our email list about remote work.
If you want a deeper look into getting started and excelling on Fiverr, this Fiverr program by Alexandra Fasulo who made over a $1M freelancing on Fiverr might interest you.
Remote Work Job Boards
Another resource to find freelance jobs are actually remote job boards. Although these are targeted at part-time, full-time work, there are freelance jobs sometimes. Furthermore, most part-time work can actually be easily done as freelance work.
It will be good to filter by that and just reach out to the companies anyway to see if they are interested to work on a freelance or project basis.
You can find a list of websites for remote jobs here, it also includes other freelancing platforms that are specific to job types (e.g. writers, designers etc) that you can check out to start freelancing.
Facebook groups can be a good source when starting out. There are often groups that aim to serve as a connecting platform for part-time or freelance work. You can search via specific job types as well such as “virtual assistants” or “writers”. Play around with search keywords, and filter the search results with “Groups”.
You will likely find groups that will be of some interest to you in either finding jobs or just networking and learning. However, it is important to make sure you properly vet the potential client and set up process to protect yourself from scams if you source your own clients.
Reaching out directly
Another way to find work is to reach out to companies or businesses directly and inquire about freelancing opportunities. This can be done by sending a cold email or reaching out on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
One way to narrow down the scope can be to look at the career/hiring pages of the company website. Even if they are looking for full-time help in a certain area, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t consider a freelancer to fill the space for now. At least you know they do need someone.
Email marketing can also be an effective way to do it, particularly if you can set up an effective system that generates good leads.
How to Market Yourself As A Freelancer
When starting out as a freelancer, it can be tough to get your name out there and attract new clients. One of the best ways to do this is by building a strong online presence. This can include creating a website or blog, setting up a social media account, or even freelancing platforms.
Showcase your expertise as a freelancer
When starting out, it is important to create a portfolio that showcases your work. Depending on your area of expertise or niche, you can use sites like Behance, Dribbble, Medium to create a portfolio.
You can also consider social media platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, to showcase your work. Choose platform where you can reach potential clients.
If you are using freelancing platforms and they have a portfolio section, make sure to upload your work there as well.
In any case, creating a website or blog is always a good idea. Apart from building a portfolio, it also showcases your expertise and lets potential clients know you are serious about it. Having a website brings an added layer of credibility.
Networking as a Freelancer
Another way to market yourself is by networking and attending industry events. This can help you meet potential clients, collaborators, and learn more about your craft.
While networking is generally offline, there are also online groups where you can start talking to more people. There are facebook groups or forums catering to different industries where you can expand your network.
One tip is also to network with other freelancers in complementary areas. For example, if you are a designer, you can connect with freelance writers; because some of your clients who are looking to design flyers, may need help with copywriting first.
This applies vice versa, where a writer can refer their client to you for design, after they are done with copywriting. This is an opportunity to create a network of referrals. However, you should always make sure you trust the other party to deliver quality work.
Ask for Referrals
Speaking of which, don’t forget to ask your previous clients for referrals! This can be one of the best ways to get new freelance clients. If you have clients that have been with you for long and you know really appreciate your work, feel free to drop them a reminder/request.
It is great that some clients automatically refer you when asked by their contacts, but we are all busy with our lives. A gentle reminder once in a while can help keep you on their minds.
How to Start Freelancing Without Skills
So you want to start freelancing but there is the common question of…. I have no skills! Freelancing without skills can be difficult, but here are some steps you can take.
On a side note: some freelancing jobs are easier to start without having very high-level skills, but you do need to be naturally good at the basic level.
Determine your Niche or Areas of Interest
Firstly, you need to decide which areas you like to explore deeper into. And we say areas because don’t feel the need to immediately nail down into one very specific one.
While it is ideal to get down into a specific one, don’t limit yourself. If there is more than one that interests you, it may be good to experiment and look into a few of them.
Explore Deeper Online
Once you have some ideas on areas you want to look into, look for resources to learn the skills you need.
YouTube is a great place to get started with some preliminary learnings about a certain occupation. If you are new to the area, chances are you will find stuff that might interest you or put you off about the job. You might discover the job is not what you expect, or there might be a certain specialization that you want to go into.
For example, digital marketing is extremely broad, but SEO might interest you. Social Media Management can be quite big, but maybe the potential of Instagram accounts fits your interest the most.
Niching down and becoming an expert in a specific category can help in some industries when you offer your services.
Learn Skills Online
Subsequently, you may want to go deeper with courses to take you on a more structured path of learning as a beginner.
If you want to learn how to use Adobe software as a designer, a structured lesson plan from a single instructor or coordinated team is probably more effective than videos from different creators.
You can easily find affordable and comprehensive online courses from course websites like Udemy and Skillshare.
Build a Portfolio for Freelancing
One of the most important factors that clients consider when engaging a freelancer is sample or past works.
More often than not, there is no complex interview process when hiring. Therefore the client is relying a lot on proven examples to determine who to hire as the best or safest bet.
Depending on your space, you can build a portfolio with sample works during courses you take, just working on personal projects, or taking up some projects for free or at lower prices in exchange for testimonials and also gaining some experience.
Then set up a personal website or an account with a relevant platform to showcase your works.
How to Start Freelancing
Freelancing can be a daunting task for many due to imposter syndrome and this is a whole topic by itself. However, just know that there is nothing to lose if you just want to try it out.
You don’t have to quit and go at it full time right at the start; you can get started on freelancing as a side hustle first and take your time at it.
Freelancing is a great way to make money on your own terms. If your goal is to become a digital nomad, this is a good option.
If you’re considering freelancing, check out the freelancer websites we mentioned in this article and get started!
Consider how freelancers can leverage their skills for success with these concluding freelancing tips:
- find jobs that match your interests or passions;
- work hard at getting your name out there through online and offline channels; and,
- be selective with the jobs you take on to ensure a good work/life balance. freelancing can provide an excellent income stream – it’s up to you to make the most of it!