How to Start a Freelancing Career with Ease and Become a True Freelance Superstar
Thinking about starting a freelancing career and becoming a true freelance superstar?
Excellent, you’re in the right place, for I’ll show you how to go about it in a moment…
Before I get to it however, it’s important to provide a bit of context around sheer size of fast proliferating gig economy and freelancing phenomenon.
Namely, pundits tell us that gig economy’s contribution to US economy alone in 2016 was north of $715 billion. The very same pundits forecast that the gig economy will be worth in the neighborhood of $2.7 trillion dollars by 2025.
This is a clear indicator that your intention to join the gig economy is well timed and could ideally prove to be very fulfilling and lucrative too, provided of course, you don’t intent to become just another recreational freelancer the world is full of, and that’s not what you want to do if you ask me.
Instead, you ought to strive to become a true freelance superstar by fully immersing yourself into it and providing professional services that you can ideally do better than others.
To be completely honest, the more I learn about the gig economy the more I want to play a part in it and not a small part mind you.
Case in point, I’ve been investing my own money over the past few years to build and develop a professional freelancing platform which on the one hand caters to professional freelancers of highest quality and on the other hand explicitly to startup founders and entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping and need a helping hand.
Now, having said all this, I am compelled to tell you that freelancing isn’t all that easy, in fact it’s very challenging and can often be compared to entrepreneurship. Securing a steady income as a freelancer takes great deal of experience, skills and time, among other critical factors.
Your ability not only to do a great job but equally important to build a healthy and qualified prospects pipeline will be among the most important tasks if you are to survive and subsequently succeed as a professional freelancers in a competitive world of professional freelancing.
Now without further ado, here’s how to go about starting a freelancing career and becoming a true freelance superstar…
Sure, this may seem obvious but in reality, it never really is. Knowing full well why are you getting into freelancing must be the starting point.
While your why could be just about anything e.g. make more money, follow the trend, be your own boss, have more freedom etc. knowing that your why is your biggest ally when the going gets tough is of paramount importance.
What does this really mean?
It simply means, that if your why is shallow e.g. follow the trend or make more money, chances are you will throw in the towel at a first sign of defeat – and there will be many challenges, obstacles and temporary defeats, I promise you.
By the same token, if your why is very close to your hear and more meaningful, it will give you the strength and staying power you need to get through all the obstacles, setbacks and temporary defeats you are bound to encounter on your journey of a professional freelancer.
So, be completely honest with yourself before you embark on your professional freelancing journey.
What professional services do you intend to offer to clients and how good you truly are when compared to others who are already offering the same services? Do you have a unique selling proposition (USP) and what is it?
Note: USP is a differentiating factor, something that makes you/your skills and services different from all the others.
This is critical and you should be very clear about your speciality. Don’t ever try to be the Jack of all trades, master of none, for you’ll fail in the world of professional freelancing.
Because clients have special needs, wants or desires and look for the best professionals who can fill them, ideally better than anyone else.
Remember this and make it your focus. Find your niche and focus on it with all your might. Be narrow and deep rather than wide and shallow. Know that less is more and always produce quality work in anything you decide to do as a professional freelancer.
Gig economy is built on recommendations and ratings. Therefore, as a professional freelancer you live and die by recommendations and ratings, as that’s the first thing a client sees when she visits your profile – assuming you’re going to leverage the freelancing platforms widely available.
When you first start your professional freelancing career – no matter the experience or quality of work you provide – you’re nobody in the world of freelancing and you don’t even exist.
This is probably one of the hardest parts of professional freelancing. Getting to be visible and to build a much needed credibility is science and art combine together.
While there are myriad of ways to get started e.g. own website, freelancing platforms, various freelance communities etc. the easiest and most logical approach would be via freelancing platforms.
Although going via freelancing platforms may seem pretty straightforward, nothing can be further from the truth and here’s why…
Proliferation of gig economy along with stupendous growth of freelancers worldwide, have created almost insatiable need for freelancing platforms which are meant to bring clients and freelancers together in seamless fashion and facilitate their business collaboration in a cost effective and secure manner.
While many freelancing platforms e.g Upwork, Freelancer, Parttimerz, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour etc. have done a fairly good job in fulfilling the underlying objectives of freelancing platform, dozens if not hundreds of others are complete and utter failures, which you as a professional freelancer should shy away from.
Even the aforementioned freelancing platforms which are widely used by millions of freelancers worldwide and have good reviews differ greatly one from the other. This is why you should take some time to fully understand the freelancing platforms landscape along with pros and cons of each freelancing platform before deciding which one to bet on and invest most of your time on.
Clearly, one way to approach your professional freelancing career in the early going is to select 2-3 of the aforementioned freelancing platforms and register to get the feel for each and ultimately increase your likelihood of landing your first gig.
One thing to keep in mind is no matter what services you decide to provide and specialize in or which freelancing platform(s) you select, don’t ever sell yourself cheap. Many of the foregoing platforms including Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer are big on low cost freelancers e.g. freelancers of low hourly rates $3-$5 which more often than not offer equally cheap and low quality output.
Finally, you will have to build your Social Media Hub e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and if at all possible start a blog of your own wherein you’ll write about freelancing, gig economy and of course services you specialize in. This is a great way to build additional credibility and set yourself apart from the crowd over a long period of time.
Wrapping it up!
No matter your age, gender, race or origin, it’s never too late or inappropriate to start a freelancing career, provided of course that you have a clearly defined and meaningful why, can offer certain speciality services to clients better than others and are willing to strive for success and highest level of quality in everything you do.
I’ve learned throughout my life that if you have a strong and meaningful why, the how becomes easy, you simply figure it out along the way. Besides, if you’re truly serious about embarking on either entrepreneurial of professional freelancing journey, there are plenty of great resources on the internet you can turn to for advice.
In the final analysis, think, act, be.
Author: Dzenan Skulj, a Co-Founder and CEO at Parttimerz. He’s a serial entrepreneur and student of life. Utterly passionate about and strong proponent of entrepreneurship, startups, freelancing and self-development, which he regularly blogs about on his personal blog dzenanskulj.com. Dzenan also actively mentors entrepreneurs on their entrepreneurial journey.