6 Essentials for Kickstarting Your Online Freelancing Career
Do you want to work in the comforts of your home without having to wake up early in the morning, rush through traffic jams, and go through what seems to be an endless series of rat races every single day? Then, starting an online freelancing career may just be what you need.
But before you take the leap, you must first understand that starting a career as an online freelancer is no piece of cake. This is especially true if you’re used to the traditional office work scenario where every tool is provided for you, and you only need to bring your skills and yourself to work.
Support your new endeavor with the right preparation and tools to successfully kickstart your new career path. Here are six things that you will need to start working online:
1) Organized Portfolio
Before you even start drafting your resignation letter for your day job, you must first make sure that you have everything that you need to start online freelancing. This means you must first gather everything that can prove your worth to your future clients in the industry you choose to enter.
For example, if you’re about to become a freelance copywriter or graphic designer, you must have an organized portfolio that showcases exemplary work. It should contain pieces that best reflect your skills to ensure that your portfolio depicts what you can do and, ultimately, impress potential clients.
2) Great Set of Skills
Coaching has many benefits for online freelancers, especially for those who are just starting out in the industry. In fact, online courses about how to start a career in freelancing have already started to boom and are now a 15 million-student-strong sub-niche.
If you’re shifting into an entirely different career path when starting out in online freelancing, you should make sure you have the right set of skills to match it. You can achieve this by undergoing training, both online and person-to-person. If possible, you can also apply to become a mentee of online freelancers who already established a reputation and authority in your chosen field.
3) Solid Online Presence
Since you will be marketing yourself online most of the time when you enter the freelancing business, you should establish a solid online presence to make things easier. Create a professional profile that is specifically tailored to impress your target clients in LinkedIn, Facebook, and other niche social media platforms.
You should also join groups that cater to freelancers and potential clients. This will help you hit two birds with one stone as you can advertise yourself while learning more about the industry you have chosen to focus on through posts from experienced professionals belonging to the same niche.
You can also make use of job listing sites but be sure to practice sound judgment when accepting job offers. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
4) Speedy and Steady Internet
Reliable internet connection is a requisite for online freelancers as it would serve as their “transport” to work. Choose a provider that not only has stellar reviews but also provides 24/7 customer service and technical assistance to their clients. Also, remember to have a backup plan in case your main internet provider fails.
5)Service Pricing System
Your service pricing system is an important detail you should prepare before you even start working as a freelancer. There are several factors you need to consider when it comes to this, including your chosen industry or niche, skillset, experience, and geographic area.
While there is no single formula that applies to all, you can start coming up with a pricing system based on how much you make at your office-based day job. When doing so, remember to factor in the benefits you get in terms of monetary value to ensure that you’re not demoting yourself when starting your freelancing career.
However, you should expect that you might need to adjust your pricing system (hourly or by project) based on the gig’s length and requirements. You should also have a drop-dead rate in mind which still shouldn’t be lower than your day job rate, so you have an idea of how low you can go when negotiating. Most importantly, never sell yourself short even if you’re just starting out as it is a surefire way to fail in the freelancing business.
6) Network of Clients
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to live like a hermit. In fact, you should still keep your network of friends (and potential clients) active as it would serve as your initial customer base.
Remember that people trust recommendations from people they already know. Use the power of word-of-mouth to your advantage by letting people know about your plans to start freelancing.
Get Your Freelance Work Going
While entering the online freelancing industry can mean a lot of work (and a major career shift for many), it is definitely very rewarding.
If you want to succeed in being your own boss and working at your own time and pace, make sure you prepare all the essentials of starting in this kind of business. This way, you’re not leaving anything to chance and taking control of your career path.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.