My friends always come to me asking what freelance service they can offer. They usually stop in the early stages because they’re looking for quick returns with little effort. This usually happens when you freelance in fields you don’t enjoy. So, whatever service you can offer, ensure you enjoy it and always remember that this could turn out to be bigger than you think. The best part – No boss will tell you what to do.
There’s no question about it; freelance doesn’t start with the word “free” for nothing. Freedom is a major perk of freelancing. As a full-time freelancer, you’ll work when you want. You can take vacations when you want, for as long as you want. Weekend getaways won’t have to be confined to weekends, and business suits are mostly a thing of the past. There’s no boss breathing down your neck, nagging you. And there are no irritating co-workers slacking off at the water cooler, driving you nuts.
As companies scale back on their expensive, benefit-heavy workforce, they’re increasingly turning to outside–freelance–help. If you’ve got expertise in the right areas, there’s a good chance you can parlay it into a freelance career by sharing your knowledge and skills with a variety of clients.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job–Yet
Once you’ve decided what aspect of your field to freelance, take the time to establish yourself. The biggest misconception people have is that they’re going to jump right into it and start making money. Not true. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come.
Here’s a quick list of popular services you can offer:
- Business writing
- SEO expert
- Graphic designing
- Web development
If you don’t have any of these skills, why not take a short course online to boost your skills. Below is a list of sites to help you get started:
As in any business, your freelancing career is only as strong as the sales you make. Finding clients is the number-one challenge for any freelancer just starting out. It’s almost a catch-22: How do you attract clients when you’ve never had any? Here are some practical steps that will propel you out of the conundrum and into business:
- Develop a portfolio to demonstrate the scope of your skills. If that means working for no pay or low pay initially, do it. Samples of your work will be your best calling card.
- Tell everyone you know–colleagues, friends, family, neighbors–about your new freelance gig. Referrals will make up the bulk of your business initially.
- Join professional organizations–online or in the community–that serve your field. In addition to all the other benefits you’ll gain, you’ll also pick up insider tips of where to find work.
- Join local organizations, like the chamber of commerce or Rotary club.“Creative people often overlook organizations like these, thinking they’ll be filled with stiff bankers and businesspeople,” notes James-Enger. “And they may be–but that’s who’ll be hiring you to do your creative work.”
- Volunteer in the community doing something you love , and you’ll broaden your network of potential clients.
- Cold call. Yes, everyone hates cold calling, but the reason freelancers need to do this is because it works.
It won’t be easy to find clients when starting out. However, if you deliver an exceptional service, they’ll call again. Here are a few sites that can help you kick start your freelance career: