January 11, 2022

How to start as a freelancer?

Starting as a freelancer isn't easy, however, it isn't impossible. If you have a business idea you want to start on your own you should start with the right foot. Find out here the basis of becoming a freelancer.

Since millennials entered the world of work, jobs have changed. Today there are jobs that were not necessary just a couple of generations ago and many of them are out of the conventional. After a pandemic that sent us all to stay at home, the precarious panorama of traditional jobs became more evident. For many people working at home and not having to answer to a direct boss is a dream come true. Being freelance has many advantages, but for every positive aspect, there is a negative part. If you want to start as a freelancer and do not know where to start I recommend following these tips.

Don’t be hasty

Woman in front of laptop angry and stressed because whe was hasty to start as a freelancer

This is the most important point: before you do anything you must think ahead. Maybe right now you’ve done very well designing wedding invitations online, you’ve been congratulated for your work and you’ve been paid well... However, starting a business takes time, money, and effort.

Before starting as a freelancer you have to think that it has a monetary cost. That is to say, not depending on a company you must run with your own operatives (services such as electricity, water, telephone, for example...). As well as investing in all the equipment you need and means to promote yourself. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but before you quit your current job, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have any savings that can help me solve this new venture?
  • How do I see in a year if I take this path? And in five years?
  • Does my business idea cater to a fad or a continuous need of people?
  • How will my life change tomorrow if I decide to dedicate myself to this?

Answer honestly. Even if your answers are negative, it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your idea of becoming a freelancer. On the contrary, these questions serve to have an objective view on the path we are choosing to take and will help us to find problems before they arise. In this way, we can generate ideas that will be more profitable in the long term. That’s why it’s important to think about this before I even ask you how to start as a freelancer.

Lower your expectations

Woman holding a mug that says: like a boss, to represent high expectations about strating as a freelancer

Part of not rushing is exploring what your expectations of being a freelancer are. The questions I proposed in the previous section have to do with your expectations for the future, although it is not everything you should think about. Can you imagine your day-to-day freelance work? What do you see in your daily routine?

Being your own boss and taking only projects that are of interest to you sounds like a dream come true, but you should be clear that there is another side to things. Just as being freelance brings independence and opportunities, it also brings with it a high level of responsibility and discipline.

Although of course not everything is black and white. It is best to have a realistic perspective of the situation. Know that it is true that there are difficulties as well as there are gains and expect the minimum even if you work to get the maximum.

Here are some myths and realities of freelance life:

Freelance myths

  • You earn more money: it is true that all the profits are yours, but these will depend on how much you work and how well you get your work. In addition, you must bear the costs of your operation.
  • You’re your own boss: when you’re freelance instead of responding to a boss, you need to respond to your clients. If you are not given personal treatment this can be very tiring.
  • You have a lot of free time: freelancers should be the marketing department, sales, customer service, and development of your business, they are all in one so the working day can take a long time.
  • You decide how much to work: this is the dream of many people, however, everyone works according to their needs. A freelance person should also take as much work as necessary to cover their expenses.

Freelance reality

  • You must take care of the payment of taxes and finances: to avoid future problems you cannot leave aside the financial and fiscal order. That’s why a good freelancer keeps order in these two aspects.
  • You manage your free time: although you still have to work according to your needs, it’s up to you to plan holiday periods, you don’t have to go to human resources, which is quite convenient.
  • The victories and defeats are entirely yours: in a company, the different departments are a team, when something fails there are a number of people involved. Being a freelancer, you’re the only one responsible for everything.
  • You are always learning: in order to progress as a freelancer, it is always important to be at the forefront. That is why it is important to invest in our own education to achieve higher sales.

Organize your time

Clock over a pink and blue wallpaper

Much of the problem with freelance work is finding work rhythm. Many who start as freelancers venture without giving up the jobs that give them a secure income. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it can be hard to manage how much time you spend on your own business. So that’s why it’s important to know exactly how much time you have to invest in your new business idea before you start as a freelancer.

On the other hand, leaving office hours of 9-6 can make concentration difficult. Even if you’re working at home and without supervisors or bosses, you need to consider a work schedule. Also, if possible, designate an office space. Having this discipline will help you formalize your work and feel less lost when you think about how to start as a freelancer.

Think: what do you have to offer?

Woman thinking about services to offer to start as a freelancer

A crucial point for starting any business is to define what it is about. In other words, what does a company do? To start as a freelancer you must ask yourself the same thing.

Let’s use the example of Bic. When we think of Bic we immediately think of pens. Although they are also dedicated to lighters and rakes. So what does Bic do? Everyday items at low cost. At some point in its history, Bic also tried to sell sporting goods (in some parts of Europe you can still find some of these items), but they did not prosper globally as with his three star items. In fact, Bic’s worst failure was when they tried to have a casual clothing line. They knew right away that they had to focus on what they had already proven successful: pens, lighters, and rakes.

Similarly, as a freelancer, you should be clear about what you are going to do. I mean, you might want to go into web development, but what are you going to develop? Do you do front-end or back-end? Do you make apps? Do you know about UX/UI design? What types of projects do you want to develop? Do you want to work for companies or other individuals? Try to consider all this before starting as a freelancer.

On the other hand, you should also think about what’s going to distinguish you from your competition. You won’t be the only person offering services in your market. What’s a one-time benefit they can get from you?

Research your market

Glasses over an open notebook in front of a computer to represent marketing research

If you want to know how to distinguish yourself from others, you should know others. Investigate other profiles of people who are dedicated to the same thing as you. You can search Fiverr for profiles that offer the same services. Make a list of what they offer, take notes of their areas of opportunity, and take advantage of them to offer something different.

On the other hand, keep an eye out for the prices at which they are offering their services. This will help you know how to charge a fair and competitive price. Knowing how to value your work is crucial to start as a freelancer.

Let people know about your work

Group of happy people sorrounding a woman on a laptop, they point with interest at what she's doing.

The most complicated thing in any business is to attract customers. To do this you need to act strategically to promote your work. There are many ways to do marketing strategies in which people looking for people with your skills find you without having to pay for ads. Catch up with Google’s SEO trends to find out how to reach the people who are looking for you.

On the other hand, it is important to have a website through which people can get to know you. On your site, you can build a portfolio with the projects you have worked on. This way, your potential customers will have a sample of your work before contacting you.

How to start as a freelance web developer?

Computer with lines of code, behind there's a brick wall and someone's foot beside the screen

This question requires a more extensive answer than a blog section allows. However, grassroots, it requires the same as any other freelance venture. Although the concrete advice I have for you is: you yourself must be the best example of your work. That is, show your website everything you can do. Keep it in excellent aesthetics and condition so that your customers trust your skills.

Conclusions to start as a freelancer

Happy woman with tablet

Starting as a freelancer can be complicated worse by taking the necessary precautions and lowering expectations to be realistic, it makes things easier. If you have already considered everything you need and are convinced to start as a freelancer, go ahead. Remember that each path is different, don’t expect everything to match someone else’s success story. Your story is completely yours and you need to live through every failure to achieve the much desired success. If you liked this content share it and read more about my blogs:

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