This is a Contributor article by: Claire Newton
Do you have the drive and determination to work from home as a freelancer? Being a freelancer is a fantastic experience and a way to produce an income.
Fifty-three million people in the US are doing freelance work now. While it can have some challenges, such as if you don't work, you don't get paid; there are many benefits to pursuing this type of career.
One of the top reasons a person chooses to freelance is the ability to work remotely. Many companies have seen the advantages of telecommuting, including better productivity and lower overhead expenses.
It's been reported that nearly 70% of the population now has the option to telecommute at least once a week. Not only is this one day off from having to come into the office, but it also allows for flex scheduling.
With the perks of choosing your hours and working anywhere you'd like; more and more people want to dive into the world of freelancing. However, upon getting started, they might find out that it isn't as simple as they thought. The hardest part of freelancing is finding clients. Without clients, there is no job, which means no money.
So how can you attract potential clients, or where can they be found? Are there tips and tricks to landing your first client as a new freelancer, or ways to obtain more if you have been in the game a while?
The great thing about freelancing is that you can be looking for new opportunities all the time. What you don't want to do is think one client is enough. You should always be pushing for growth.
The reason being, an opportunity can end as quickly as it begins. If you aren't careful, you could end up with no monthly income. When you move to full-time freelancing, that can be quite scary, look at some of the top ways you can get new clients and become a more confident freelancer.
When beginning the search for clients, you might be tempted to look up websites that have freelance job postings. These are useful if you would like to get started working from home. Most experienced freelancers would comment that the pay isn't as high as they would like to see, but to get your feet wet, they will have to suffice.
When browsing for jobs through these kinds of sites, you'll more than likely need to create a profile that highlights your work history, experience, and what skills you can bring to the table. These profiles can be quite professional but don't be afraid to add some flair. If your profile is looking a bit flat, jazz it up a bit. Upload a profile picture that showcases you as the best you can be!
You must work on branding yourself. This is what will set you apart from other freelancers and is the key point to landing new clients. How to be different in such a crowded market? You can highlight your areas of expertise, your unique sense of style and your personal VALUE.
There are plenty of sites to check out, but the most well-known sites happen to be Upwork and Fiverr. Other notable websites to search include We Work Remotely, Authentic Jobs, Smashing Jobs, Upwork, and Krop.
There are mixed reviews on these sites ranging from a great selection of opportunities to freelancers not being paid. It has been this freelancer's experience, that you should stay away from Fiverr altogether, and be very picky about the jobs you accept on Upwork. It is possible to gain new clients for long-term projects, but you will spend some time searching through the postings.
While you may not know it, you can directly reach out to companies, even if they don't have a 'job openings' posted. In these situations, you may want to start locally when researching companies based in your field; many may wish to meet with you in person before starting a business relationship.
If you choose the method of outreach to gain a new client, you'll want to devise a witty email. You will want to be professional and double-check for any errors in your email. Besides, you should include your resume, as well as samples of your work.
If you are brand new to freelancing and don't have a body of work just yet, it would be a good idea to create a sample for which you are applying. IE if you are trying to snag a website design job, go the distance and create something the client can see.
There are loads of websites that take guest post submissions. If you're interested in having some work published, reach out and get some work published. Working as a freelancer, you can expect to be asked for a portfolio very often. Fill it up and watch the jobs roll in!
Another excellent method for landing clients is attending local or area job events. You'd be surprised how many freelancers have gained a few clients or two simply by networking at these types of events. You'll want to be personable, but also be aware you are trying to gain a client too. Always try to exchange contact information so that you may send them a follow-up within the next week.
These events don't even have to business focused. You could comment on a webinar, go to an open mic night, get creative with where you place yourself. Once you know where the jobs are coming from you can focus your attention on these avenues!
There are loads of groups and events that you can join to get your name out there. So many people get jobs through friends of friends. Get your name out there and start building connections. Your network is worth gold, which brings me to my next point.
While it might seem like these people are your direct competition, they can also be a great source of help. Not only can other freelancers send you in the right direction for a lead, but they might also have work for you as a subcontractor. The trend for freelancing will continue to rise.
With Millennials making up 47% of the freelance market, more and more opportunities will be available in the coming years.
The people you know can be your best advocates, if you impress one person, they're probably going to say it to others. Make sure you excel with your first few jobs and get those referrals. If you have a website, you can even add these to a page so people can see for themselves just how good you are!
In the beginning, you will be tempted to take whatever job you can to gain experience and start a portfolio, and you should take them, within reason. Most freelancers will discourage others who are just getting started to never do work for free, and this is an excellent piece of advice.
You can provide samples you've already done or complete short tests for a company, but there are zero reasons a client would need you to finish a project for them start to finish, without compensating you for your time. Remember, as a freelancer, your time is valuable too.
Author Bio: Currently working as a Marketing Executive at Design Wizard, Claire is passionate about creating amazing content and bringing people together. Having recently graduated with her master's degree in Marketing she is keen to impact the digital world. Outside of work you can catch Claire taking photos of her rescue dog Storm and checking out social media.
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