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How to Become a Freelancer: 5 Key Steps

zain qamer
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You aren’t alone if you think you have what it takes to start a freelance career. Becoming a freelancer is becoming commonplace as people start shifting from typical office work. Believe it or not, there are 57 million freelancers in the United States alone.

The question is, what does it take to become a freelancer in today’s world? Keep reading to learn how to become a freelancer in five simple steps.

1. Define Your Service

It’s hard to advertise yourself as a freelancer if you can’t clearly describe what you do. The people you speak with are looking for solutions to problems. If you say you can handle anything, how will anyone know whether or not you’re a specialist at what you do?

Defining your service is the most critical step you can take when becoming a freelancer. Your service is what you will position yourself as an expert at doing.

You can start by looking at your current career and any specialized skills you have that you do off the job. Is it a service that people outsource, and do you have what it takes to fulfill those needs on your own?

Once you can easily explain what you offer, you’ll have an easier time performing outreach to clients and showing people that you can handle the job.

2. Pick Your Target Customer

While you may be able to take a one-size-fits-all approach to finding customers, that isn’t always the best choice. If you cater to everyone, it’s hard to specialize in a specific industry.

Take web design, for instance. A general web designer can make a great design, but do they know what it takes to build a successful site in the healthcare industry that improves its profits?

On the other hand, a designer specializing in building and marketing healthcare websites will be a better choice for a health company looking to improve its website. Being an industry specialist allows you to advertise yourself as such and charge higher prices.

Think of who you want to serve and position yourself as the expert in that industry or specialty.

3. Determine Your Pricing

Getting your pricing right is one of the most challenging parts of becoming a freelancer. Many new freelancers take it easy when it comes to price. They freelance on-the-go, so it makes sense not to charge as much since it isn’t their full-time job.

However, this is a massive mistake. When you don’t price your services based on what you’re worth, you will not attract the clients you need to find success in freelancing.

The common trap is to get caught in a race to the bottom on freelance platforms. People see how little people are charging from around the world and price according. Luckily, you don’t have to go down that route.

However, you don’t need to charge extraordinary amounts when you start. Keep in mind, though, that you should charge enough to make a comfortable living. As time goes on and you gain more experience, you can start charging expert rates.

4. Create Your Portfolio

Showing potential customers what you’re capable of is one of the most significant factors that play into your success as a freelancer. Much of the time, the people you serve won’t have much knowledge about the work you’re doing. The only thing they understand is the end result.

That means talking about your job and how you do it won’t matter much to your customers. They’re hiring you to do a job, not tell them how you do it. You need to show them your past work if you want people to understand what you’re capable of.

You can create a freelance portfolio on your own website or freelancing platform. Look through your past work to see what represents what you do the best. Make sure you make it easily accessible, so people can quickly see what you’re capable of doing.

5. Develop a Client Outreach Plan

Once you finish the initial steps above, you’re ready to start looking for customers. The good news is that you can find potential customers everywhere you look. It’s only a matter of selling to convince people you’re an expert in your field.

The first step to this process is to figure out where you plan to find customers. You have two main options to choose from.

Freelance Job Boards

Freelance job boards exist to provide freelancers a place to look for jobs and get offers from clients. These websites allow you to sign up, create a freelance profile, post your skills, and set up a portfolio. Once you set up your profile, you can search the job listings on the website.

Once you find a job you like, you send a proposal to the customer. Your goal is to give a great first impression that tells someone that you can handle the job.

Some platforms also allow customers to send direct offers to freelancers. Make sure you set up your profile well to make sure anyone who reads it understands your skills.

Direct Outreach

The great thing about freelancing is that there is no limit to the companies you can reach out to. If you don’t want to rely on a specific platform to get work, you can directly contact companies to see how you can help.

You’ll need to research what problems companies face if you want to go this route. You’ll need to make sure the services you offer solve these problems.

There are many outreach templates you can use to reach out to potential customers. Learn what they are and come up with your own twist on things. Eventually, you’ll find a company that wants to hire you for a job.

Now You Know How to Become a Freelancer

There’s more opportunity than ever for people who are willing to take a few extra steps to start working for themselves. It takes work to start with freelancing careers. However, now that you know how to become a freelancer, you’re ready to start the freelancer journey.

Of course, you’ll need to learn more about finding and taking care of customers if you want to take on freelance jobs. Check out the blog to learn more about networking with people and getting more business.

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