Let’s face the truth, shall we? Freelancing is the new world order. Outside its current usefulness in saving the world from the fast spread of the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) through reduction in workplace interaction, freelancing is really the new deal. In many countries of the world like Nigeria where unemployment is one of the highest globally, many are increasingly trying their hands on freelancing, to bail themselves out of the unemployment.
Freelancing refers to the process of rendering quality services to a wide range of global and/or local clients, all on a contractual basis. Although similar to self-employment or contractors, it differs in that most client-freelancer relation and engagements, occurs on the internet.
Students, unemployed youths, professionals, and various other persons that are employed but looking for profitable side hustles, resort to freelancing. This is because freelancing is seen by many as a true revolutionary move from the restrictive nature of 9-5 jobs. Put more simply, freelancing opens door to limitless opportunities and possibilities. Freelancers are opportuned to deploy their skills and abilities in working for and serving clients from all over the world. The import is that freelancers are at liberty to choose whatever location from which they desire to service clients.
Before anything else, it is important to point out that freelancing, no matter the niche, would require the following:
- A laptop and/or smartphone, depending on the niche
- Fast, stable internet access
- Basic tech skills, such as internet surfing, MS-Office proficiency etc.
Once the above are in place, the following are the actionable tips that can help you get started:
- Decide on your motivation: Most often than not, motivation helps to keep one going in the face of daunting challenges. So, you should decide for yourself what exactly it is that is driving you into freelancing. Is it to get enough money to pay an iPhone purchase debt? Or to be able to afford nights at Eko Hotels and Suites? Or to be able to save up to 500,000 per month? You just must decide for yourself. Whatever the reason might be, ensure it is practicable and strong enough to keep you weathering the storms.
- Pick a niche: No matter the skills you possess, you’d find that there’s always a place to fit in the freelancing world. So, you should decide on a couple of niches(s) that you want to be known for –or are already known for. It doesn’t matter whether you are proficient in writing, coding, designing, talking, etc., you’d always find a fit. For instance, those good in writing can become freelance writers, scriptwriters, editors, etc.
- Make a choice of freelance platform: Today, there are literarily hundreds of freelance platforms all over the internet where one can showcase skills, search for opportunities, and engage with prospective clients. You may choose from one of the popular and universal freelance platforms such as UpWork, Fiverr, etc. or other local freelance platforms. Whichever you pick, ensure to do in-depth research about the platform, learning the tricks, what to do and what not to do.
- Creating a portfolio: In freelancing, a portfolio is a list of completed projects. If you are a beginner-freelancer, you probably do not have one at this point. What you can do, is to create very good samples of your services, in anticipation of a client’s request. For instance, if your niche is coding or programming, you could develop a working code that solves an interesting problem. If you are a writer, get some good writing done on interesting subjects and interests
- Improve your writing skills: Irrespective of whether writing is or isn’t your niche, it’s important that you get better in writing. As a beginner, you’d surely be going up against many experienced and non-experienced freelancers when you bid for jobs. To distinguish yourself from your competitors, you must hone and sharpen your writing so that you can be able to creatively tailor submitted proposals to suit client requirements. You must be able to write politely, courteously and professionally, to increase your chances of getting jobs.
- Decide on your rates: Rates are the amount charged for freelance services. It’s important to take a look around the platform you are freelancing to see the average rates being charged by freelancers in your niche. It’s even advisable that you –as a beginner- bring down your rates a little bit below the standard rate, so that prospective clients may be interested in giving your services a try.
There you have it. Welcome to the 21st century freelancing service industry! We hope you have a smooth sail!