Freelancing For Beginners: Start Your Freelance Journey The right way by Debunking These Myths
For many people, freelancing simply used to be a venture that students indulged in to support themselves while still in school and perhaps as a transitional tool before getting into the world of formal employment. In rare cases, people would engage in it after making the tough decision to leave their 9 - 5 job and seek the independence of being their own boss and pursuing their own projects.
However, with the current state of things, people are slowly starting to realize that formal employment may not be as stable or secure as many had thought it to be. You need something extra to support yourself. A side hustle, that will help to catapult you a bit further into financial independence. For others, it may even be because their current job is not fulfilling enough and they desperately need to get out since they feel like their life-force is slowly being drained with every hour that they clock in. Whatever the case, freelancing is now being considered the go to option to be able to support oneself, with the added advantage of dictating your own terms and hours.
Due to its rising popularity, mostly thanks to the advancement of technology and increasing ease of access to stable internet, many believe that freelancing is an easy option to choose. They look at people who have been doing it for years who are earning six figures from it and think to themselves, this must be the fastest easy money they could ever make. The problem is that this leads to so many people coming in with unrealistic expectations, and being more miserable than before they had even started.
Whether you have only started thinking about starting the freelance journey, or are part of the increasingly frustrated group of people who unfortunately did not get off on the right foot, this guide is for you. It will help you to look at the situation objectively, giving practical tips and advice on how to succeed as a freelancing newbie.
Myth bursting 101
Even before we get into the ins and outs of what freelancing is, we need to start off with what it isn't. A rather counter-intuitive approach.
First and foremost, freelancing is NOT easy neither does it guarantee fast money.
To start off as a freelancer, you first need to build a portfolio and credibility. This means that for the first few months, you should be prepared to get fewer and lower paying clients. Why? because people will rarely ever invest in something they are not sure about. However, this does not mean that you should undervalue your skills in order to get work. The more quality work you get to produce, the higher you can gradually increase your rate. Look at it as a sort of self internship to learn about the market and what it demands of you as well as how to get the most out of it.
You do NOT need to have prior skills in order to get started
As long as you are willing to invest time and energy to learn new skills, you do not need to have spent thousands of hours in a professional class to start your journey as a freelancer. The internet has availed a myriad of online courses that you can use to tailor your own learning process. However, there are those that need a lot more investment because of their complexity, like graphic design or programming, but they are still self teachable, as long as you are willing to dedicate yourself to it. So do not be discouraged into thinking that you can not pursue freelancing because you do not have the requisite skills.
You do NOT need to do everything
There is a misconception that being a freelancer means doing a little bit of everything in order to get higher chances of getting clients or to be relevant at all. In actuality, the safest way to get value clients is by being niche specific. If it is writing, you do not need to know how to write any and all kinds of blogs and academic documents. You can focus on travel blogging and really deep dive in all there is to know about it. Establish yourself as an expert in your niche and instead of looking for clients, they will come looking for you and will not be deterred by high rates. This is because they know that they are getting more than enough value for their money. They understand that they are not paying for the immediate service, but the vast amount of investment you have made into being the best at what you do. However, if you can handle all the other things as well, then why not!
Freelancing is NOT a full time job
This may sound pretty obvious, but you do not need to spend all your hours working, in order to make good returns. As long as you plan out your hours well, you can still undertake all your other activities and find time to work. The secret is in finding a system that works for you and being disciplined. You can undertake your usual assignments during the day and work as a freelancer during your free evenings. This means that you do not even need to quit your formal employment just to pursue freelancing!
You do NOT need to rely solely on freelance sites
Freelance sites like our very own Ajobintime, Fiverr and Upwork are a great place to start as a freelancer, but they are not the only ways that you can jump-start your freelance career. If you are thinking of making it a full time gig / investment, then you need to think bigger! Join groups and communities on social sites like Facebook that specialize in what you offer. For example, if you offer virtual assistant services, get on the Facebook search bar and type Virtual Assistants, then look into the groups that show up in the search. After you join such groups, be sure to be a an active member. This will ensure that even when they advertise open jobs, you will have a higher chance of recommendation. All this with the added advantage of getting useful insights from people who are doing what you do. When engaging on any social media site, create a professional account, so that when people look you up, they know exactly what you have to offer. You can include links to your portfolio which will also be an added advantage.
Most importantly, get yourself a website. It may not get as much traffic at first, but it will definitely be an important tool to have under your belt. Do not fall prey to the misconception that only professionals need a website. As long as you have any sort of work to display or services to offer, then you need one. It will even give you better visibility and you can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to boost your chances of showing up when one is searching for someone who can provide the services you offer.
Need help setting up a website? Well we can help you set up a website for whichever your choice of freelance skill you need. Simply get in touch with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you on your way to getting more clients.
In conclusion, freelancing may not exactly be as easy as many presume, but if you know what to expect, and what to avoid, then you may as well be halfway there. The rest is completely up to you. Still have questions? Get in touch with us by sending us an email at email@example.com. We love hearing from you!