Once you’ve settled into a 9 to 5 routine at a company, it’s difficult to imagine another way of life.
Going solo and deciding to become a freelancer is a risk many of us aren’t brave enough to take. The payoff for those who do—being your own boss, immense flexibility, getting paid for your passion—is completely enviable.
This post is for people who might have cold feet about freelancing at first, but are ultimately ready to take a leap into the unknown and, if everything goes (sort of) to plan, start their dream career.
Identify Your Talent
Most often you’ll become a freelancer in a field you’re already familiar with. You could have honed your expertise at school or, better yet, gained training and experience on the job. If you are starting a blog, you will probably be posting about your hobby or interest. Do some market research and find a niche that matches your skillset. If you can barely fry an egg, a food blog might not be the best fit for you. Figure out what your particular talent is; the next step is how to market it.
Build a Web Presence
It goes without saying that you’ll need a website. Most businesses operate online so engaging with potential clients over the Internet is crucial. You can also share your site over Social Media; not only with friends over Facebook, but professional networks like LinkedIn as well.
Make a good first impressions and buy your own .com domain. Not only will this help clients take you seriously (which will be reflected in the rates you can charge), it will also help your Google ranking, which is critical for gaining exposure.
You don’t have to break the bank on your own domain: there are affordable packages available from companies such as 1&1. Do your research and then decide on a unique URL. Provide interesting content: your portfolio, links to your work, images, or blog posts that keep your readers informed about what you are up to.
Trial and Error
Not surprisingly, it won’t all be smooth sailing from day one. If you are starting a blog, don’t expect success overnight. It takes months and months of dedicated posting before you get noticed and start earning revenue from advertising.
If you’re working in another field, you might have busy periods followed by extended downtime. Luckily, as a freelancer you can use this time to diversify your skills, do market research, develop your advertising strategy or make new connections.
Working for yourself takes hard work but is certainly achievable in today’s digital landscape. The trick is nudging your way in there and making a name for yourself. In other words, you’re going to have to work really, really hard. But you’re a freelancer now, so you’ll probably be having loads of fun doing it!