How to Set Yourself Up For Freelance Work
Most people hear “freelance” and they think, “can’t find a real job.” However, going freelance basically means being your own boss. You find clients, you do the work, you get paid.
In most cases, freelance work pays more because your clients don’t have to deal with overhead expenses when they outsource to you. The beauty of it for you is you dictate how much you earn by the amount of work you take on. No more overworked-underpaid situations for you!
Three steps for freelance success
There is a catch, though. You have to find clients on your own, and that can be tricky. As a freelance writer of many years, it took a while for me to get to the point where I didn’t need to find new clients. I have regular clients sending me so much work that I’ve had to decline on occasion. I did learn a few things along the way, however, so I’m passing them on to you. These three steps will make it easier for you to find freelance work from the start.
Create a portfolio
Whatever type of freelance work you want to do, you will need a portfolio. This is a collection of your work to show prospective clients. When I started out, online portfolios were not yet a thing. I would send out samples of my work and hope they were what the clients were looking for.
Today, you can easily make an online portfolio for the client to browse. It will show the width and breadth of your skills and talent. If you have no work to show yet, start creating them! Post an article on LinkedIn, or upload your work to Pixabay. You may have to do some unpaid work but think of it as intern work. It will pay dividends.
Put yourself out there
You need to let people know you are available for hire. I’ve found I get the best results in putting up a work profile in LinkedIn and other online job portals. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, and many recruiters go through member profiles to look for talent. Online job portals like Jobstreet is a job board that gets a lot of traction with freelance clients for some reason. I connected with a few great clients collectively from these sites.
I have also tried a couple of sites specifically for freelancers, but I have not yet had any success with getting any good gigs from them. Most offers I get from these sites are just sad. I get that being in the Philippines means I can afford to accept lower offers than if I were in the US, but some of these offers are downright insulting!
Important note: Avoid any freelance sites that ask you to pay for membership, starter kit, or anything like that. Those are no good. Legitimate freelance sites get a slice of any money you make on the site, extract a free from employers, or both. They do not ask for any upfront fee from freelancers.
Set your rates
It is important that you know your worth, and set your rates accordingly. If you produce good work, don’t waste your time on low-ball offers. Clients that offer very low rates do not expect quality work, and your portfolio will be none the richer for working for them.
You want just one or two clients that will pay you right. If you find them, give them your best work. This will help your reputation grow over time, and at some point, you can pick and choose the gigs you like.
Freelance work is the best way to get out of a mind-numbing nine-to-five that sucks the life out of you. However, you need to put in the work. The first step is to set yourself up so clients can find you. Then, you might also need a multi-currency account mostly if you plan to work with clients abroad.