Thinking about diving into the freelance world? Welcome to the dark side!
In all seriousness, freelancing is an awesome way to put your skills to good use and make an income while you're at it.
Whether you're looking to freelance full-time or take it on as a side hustle, these tangible tips will help you kick off self-employment like a pro.
1. Own your niche.
To be honest, I kind of hate the word "niche." It seems like every 20-something just learned its definition, and feels the need to weave it into every piece of content. (Which is precisely what I'm doing right now.)
Despite my disdain, finding your niche is crucial as a freelancer.
Clients are seeking somebody with specific expertise, and you can't be that person if you're trying to do everything at once.
To narrow down your niche, determine what you're good at. And by "good," I mean really good.
What do people constantly call on you for, because they trust that you'll deliver amazing results?
Here's an example. I've been working in PR for about four years, and I've essentially become the go-to person for creating lifestyle and consumer-centric content.
Another important factor? Make sure that it's something you genuinely love doing.
I'm especially passionate about lifestyle writing, which makes projects feel less like "work" and more about creating something meaningful.
Boom. That's my niche.
While it's broad enough to encompass a variety of industries, it's specific enough to set my expertise apart.
2. Be strategic with your services.
My freelance services primarily consist of blog writing, social media content, and ghostwriting.
These projects can be time-consuming, as they often involve extra research and a more in-depth understanding of client objectives.
That's why I also offer copy-editing as a quick, low-stress revenue generator.
I've always weirdly loved editing my sisters' school essays and friends' cover letters, and it's easy for me to deliver high-quality results in a speedy manner.
I've gained several clients through advertising these services on social media, and it's been a great way to make extra money without putting me in project overload.
So when determining your freelance services, consider adding on a smaller initiative that won't be a heavy lift.
This can help ensure consistency in your work, income, and overall sanity.
3. Showcase your samples.
When communicating with a prospective client, they will always want to see samples of your work.
Obviously, it can be a little difficult to generate client samples when you haven't had any clients.
In these cases, it's all about creating a platform.
If you're looking to get into freelance writing, set up a blog and start self-publishing. Focus your energy on topics that serve your ideal client or audience. You can also publish articles on Medium.
Going for graphic design? Work on developing a logo and branding design for your future business, and display it through a professional website.
Similar to searching for that first corporate job, "getting your foot in the door" is often the hardest part.
However, the experience will come. And once you start bringing in those killer samples, get into the habit of saving them.
I began blogging for a makeup company this year, and finding other beauty blogging jobs has become dangerously easy.
Because at the end of the day, one client is all it takes.
4. Use social media to find work.
I'm sure that you've heard of Upwork and Fiverr, but have you ever considered finding gigs via social media?
If you're skeptical, this might change your mind: I found all five of my clients through social media. (Yes, I have 5 freelance clients on top of a full-time job. No, I do not have a life.)
First and foremost, join these Facebook groups.
These groups offer the ability to actively promote your services, as well as respond to a steady influx of opportunities.
Plus, don't sleep on the social platform that we hate to love and love to hate. Yes, I'm talking about none other than Instagram.
I've secured copy editing clients through promoting my services via Instagram story, and also discovered gigs through browsing writing-related hashtags.
When it comes to finding opportunities, never limit yourself to one or two platforms. Try sharing your professional work on LinkedIn, or promoting your services on Twitter with a catchy opening line.
Although it may not seem like it, the clients are out there. Sometimes, you just need to go beyond traditional avenues to find them.
Were these tips helpful? If you're already in the freelancing world, what other strategies have been successful for you?