Freelancing for Beginners: Questions You need to ask Yourself before you start Freelancing
In a previous article, we discovered the various myths and misconceptions that people usually encounter before they start freelancing. These common ideologies often give people the wrong expectations as they start their journey into freelancing, which leads to frustration because things do not seem to go as smooth as they seemed to go for someone else. It is easy in this state to even assume that you must be the problem and that this thing really just isn’t for you. To avoid falling into that rat trap, be sure to have a look at that article in order to understand what to avoid, as well as the realities of what freelancing actually entails.
In this article, we will cover a few basic strategies that you will need in your tool belt in order to have a smooth transition into the exciting opportunity-filled world that is freelancing. We will do this by identifying the right questions that will broaden up your mind, in order to figure out what it is you are trying to achieve by freelancing, and which are the steps that will guide you into satisfying those needs and goals efficiently.
Start with Why?
When undertaking a project, most people often start by asking, ‘How’. How do I start freelancing? How do I find clients and readily available jobs? These are all such great and important questions, but they are all tactical questions that tend to exclude you from the equation. Neglecting to ask ‘Why’ is as good as going hiking in a new terrain with no compass.
Knowing why you want what you want will propel you into action and make you unstoppable, because you are driven by an innate passion and motivation. So sit down and figure out what needs you are actually trying to fulfil by freelancing, and why you think freelancing is the best vehicle that can get you there, as opposed to pursuing something else.
What do you have to offer?
Freelancing is all about using your skills to solve someone else’s problems. So what skills do you bring to the table? As discussed in the previous article, you do not necessarily have to be 100% perfect at something in order to start. As long as you are willing to invest time and effort into learning and improving continuously, then you can start from anywhere.
Do some research on what you feel you can offer confidently and list down all the requirements that the market demands from you. Once you have done that, use this list as a sort of personalized checklist or curriculum to curate a learning program, and take advantage of the thousands of resources available for free online.
If you are learning something completely new, be gracious with yourself if you cannot seem to get the hang of it at first, all good things take time, so be patient and practise practise practise. Share your progress with people who can help you honestly and objectively scrutinize your work in order to figure out whether you are moving in the right direction.
Generalization or specialization?
Chances are, you will not know what you are good at when you are starting. However, it is is important to find a niche that you can deep dive into and continue to perfect as you go along. Most people run into the trap of trying to be able to offer everything, with the assumption that this will ensure a wider pool of clients and jobs to choose from.
This may be true to some extent, but also, most clients will prefer to turn to an expert as opposed to a jack of all trades, because they are looking for quality work. Imagine that you are starting a company and you want to start by getting a logo for your brand, will you choose a generalist graphic designer who will do a good job with the colors and the design, or a brand strategist who will do market research and help you craft a brand identity that will set you apart from your competition in your target market?
In the end what you really need to ask yourself is whether you want numerous jobs with minimum pay or fewer jobs that pay handsomely.
Who is your ideal client?
Defining your ideal client is one of those steps that people often neglect, because they assume that the market will do it for them. In any case, why discriminate a ready client, right? However, by defining your ideal client for yourself, you get to put yourself in the clients shoes and anticipate their needs and pain points.
By doing this, you will be better suited to figuring out how best to address these pain points in order to help your client achieve their goals more efficiently. This leads to a higher satisfaction rate, and lessens the amount of time you would have to take to research and understand each client that comes your way. Instead your focus will be more invested in doing the actual work.
This step goes hand in hand with identifying a niche, as the niche defines the client. As much as a client is the one who tries to figure out whether you are the right fit for them, it is also important to figure out whether they are a fit for you. Are they going to help you to achieve your goals as well, or are you going to put yourself in a ruthless cycle of doing meaningless work just because you need to get work.
What do you need to get started?
When you finally understand what you want to do and why, you can finally get started on the ‘how’. How to get started. What tools do you need? Obviously you need a working computer with up to date software and steady reliable internet for a start.
Next what extra tools does your choice of work require. Is it design software, or grammar and plagiarism checking software, perhaps even it may be as simple as high quality headphones to do transcription jobs. Be sure to have a checklist in order to be well prepared.
Finally, how will you get clients? How do you get visibility ? Which are the best sites to get work and how efficient are they with payment processes? Can you really rely solely on these sites to get you work? If not, how else can you get in front of your target audience? Do you need a website, social media presence or even a portfolio?
This final part however, relies on the scale of what you want to achieve. If it is just a part time job to pay bills, there is no need to over-invest. However, if you plan to do it as a full time gig, you need to treat it as a full-on business that you are launching and take time to craft a business and marketing strategy, covering all your bases. This will position you to get the right kind of clients and establish you as a trustworthy business partner that your clients can work with more than once, and perhaps even recommend to their colleagues and associates.
Freelancing can be so fulfilling as long as you know the right questions to ask yourself as you go along. Once you have that established, the rest is just putting in the work and having lots of self discipline.
Still haven’t figured out where to start? Why don’t you register on our platform by inputting your skills as a taskee and let us help you jump-start your freelance career by getting you in front of the right audiences!