Use your skills and knowledge for the ultimate side hustle
Freelancing is one of the best ways of making money online, and it is not too difficult to become a successful freelancer if you discover the right steps to take. You can build a successful career by transitioning from selling your time via regular employment into selling your time online instead. But what exactly does it mean to be an online freelancer?
You might have heard of the ‘gig economy’, and have been wondering what it means. Basically, it is a labour market that is characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. The reason the gig economy has taken off so well with Millennials is that they are a generation that are completely at ease with online marketing and digital distribution, and these are the key elements of working as an online freelancer.
If you have a skill that can be translated into a digital format then online freelancing is probably for you. In essence, you are creating a product and distributing it over the internet for other people to use, whether the content is in the field of music, visual media or written text. Many freelancers are photographers that will simply use the internet to market and distribute their work, and there has been a massive increase in the number of graphic artists that have taken to selling their skills over the internet.
By advertising yourself on a freelance website you can bid for projects, submit the work and get paid for it all without ever meeting the client. Becoming a part of the gig economy in this way also means that you can have multiple projects on the go at the same time, which will drastically increase your earnings.
Below are some useful tips that will help you achieve success in the world of online freelancing.
Locate a reliable freelance website
There are several freelance websites on the internet, and you can start working through any of these sites within a few hours of signing up. You will be asked to fill in your personal details including your email address and how you wish to be paid, as well as being able to upload a profile about yourself and describe the particular skill set that you can bring to the table. After your registration, an activation link will be sent to your email and you simply click on the link to get your account activated.
Sites such as Upwork and Fiverr will actively promote your services to clients wishing to have a task performed, or the clients may do their own search and find your profile by themselves. At this point if your skill set and the clients needs match, you can enter into a contract to perform the work.
Build your profile
After creating your account on the freelance website, the next step you have to take is to create a good profile. You have the option to upload your recent photo and include details of other freelance work you have completed, if any. Your profile is where you get to sell yourself and let the world know more about your abilities and the skills you offer.
Ideally you should keep your profile neat and simple, but try to include references to the portfolio of jobs that you have completed in the past. Potential clients like to see proof of previous jobs that you’ve completed along with samples of your previous work, so if you’re a writer, include sections of a previous article or story so that your new client can judge the quality of your writing skills.
Alternatively, if you are an expert in graphic design include links to an online portfolio of your previous work to highlight your skills. Try to ensure that your profile includes only the very best examples of your work, and if possible include positive testimonials from satisfied clients.
One popular method that freelancers use to sell themselves is to link their profile to a website that they have previously created. This website will have the sole purpose of selling the skills that the freelancer has, so if it is music related then it will have links to download and listen to compositions that have previously been recorded. If the specialisation is photography then there will be multiple galleries that display the very best photos that the freelancer has taken.
If you do decide to go down this route, then be sure to provide links to testimonials from old clients and also provide contact links so that clients can reach you outside of the likes of Upwork and Fiverr. Although these websites are useful, for bigger projects you will find that some clients will prefer to deal with you directly instead.
Start bidding on jobs
Once your account is set up, you can start bidding on available jobs. There are diverse categories of jobs that you will see on the website, and you will have to go through them one by one until you find a job request that you think you will be a good fit for you. You can then place a proposal on the job and state your bid price.
However, many clients will post vague job requests without any firm details of what they actually want. The main reason for this is that many clients don’t actually know what they want! But here is where your experience in your field comes into play. Try to coax as much information out of the client as possible before you bid on the job. So, if for example a job has been posted asking for some copy to be written for a blog, find out what the blog is about, exactly what the blog post is about, and how many words the client wants. Get as much detail as you can at this point so that you can determine what bid price you should offer your services at.
Be sure to research the market so that your bid price is neither unrealistically large, nor so small that you sell yourself short. You need to maintain a competitive price level, but at the same time, you have an in-demand skill set that will provide real value to your clients. Do not be afraid to set a price that you feel is fair because you will be surprised how willing clients will be to pay you for a quality service.
During the bidding process, you will also be able to let the client know more about your readiness to handle the job and how long you expect to take to complete it. However, be honest with yourself here. Although the temptation to take on a whole lot of jobs in one go might mean you end up with a lot of money coming in initially, once you start submitting work late you will find that future work soon dries up. A keen attitude and honesty, coupled with samples exhibiting the quality of your work, will go a long way towards winning new contracts.