nice write .. so motivated .. :)
What Does It Take to Become a Freelancer?
Posted December 27, 2012 in Getting Started
For some, freelancing is a matter of preference. They are attracted to the flexible life style that freelancers enjoy. Others are forced into freelancing out of desperation after they lose a more traditional job.
If you’re reading this post, you may even be wondering whether freelancing is right for you.
But what does it really take to become a freelancer?
We’ve already discussed the start-up costs for freelancing. But it takes more than spending money to get started as a freelancer. In this post, we’ll take a look at what else you need to become a freelancer. If you’re thinking about freelancing or new to freelancing, this is for you.
There is currently no such thing as a major in freelancing at most colleges and universities.
However, you can major in a discipline that lends itself to freelancing such as:
- Graphic Design
- Information Technology
Having a degree in your field can be beneficial to a freelancer since it immediately sets you apart from other freelancers in the same field who do not have a degree. But there are many successful freelancers who lack a degree.
So, while a degree is nice to have if you’re going to freelance, you can make it as a freelancer without a degree.
Work experience in your field is a definite advantage for a freelancer. In fact, many freelancers strike out on their own only after working in their area of expertise for someone else for several years.
Freelancers who already have experience are highly sought after since their skills have been proven in an actual work environment. In some freelancing fields, they also have an advantage because they can use their completed projects to build a portfolio.
If you already have work experience in your field and are planning on freelancing, be sure to get references and testimonies from former employers and colleagues.
Regardless of the amount of experience a potential freelancer has, he or she must also have marketeable knowledge or skills.
Some freelancers do start freelancing right out of school without ever working for anyone else. This can work well if the freelancer’s formal training includes an area that is sought after, but often an inexperienced freelancer struggles to get started.
Most potential freelancers don’t realize it, but freelancing involves a huge amount of selling.
Every time that a potential client contacts you or you contact a potential client, you must sell him or her on why they need your services. This is where many would-be freelancers give up. Not everyone is able or willing to sell.
There is a stereotype some have that freelancers are not people-oriented. This is probably based on the fact that many freelancers work from home. However, a freelancer needs to be comfortable enough in their dealings with people that they can persuade others to use their services.
If you hate sales, you may have trouble as a freelancer.
As a freelancer, a web presence is crucial. Clients have to be able to find you before they can hire you.
For a typical freelancer, having a web presence means:
- A blog or website
- An online portfolio
- Social media participation
In general, the more professional information a prospect can find out about you, the better. However, freelancers do need to be careful about their online reputation.
Also, online portfolios and blogs should be kept up to date with recent and relevant materials. If you fail to keep these updated, it will look like you don’t understand current trends.
Freelancing is not a quick fix. It can take weeks, or even months, to establish a successful freelancing business.
Even after a freelancer is getting regular work and ongoing projects, they are likely to experience work slowdowns from time to time. This is the infamous freelancing feast or famine cycle.
A freelancer needs to be able to stick with it and not quit when things get tough.
I’ve shared what I think it takes to become a freelancer. Now it’s your turn.
Feel free to add your own thoughts on what it takes to become a freelancer.
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December 27th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
December 28th, 2012 at 9:00 am
Amen to the persistence, Laura. I always say an effective freelancer is a bit of a bulldog. :-)
December 28th, 2012 at 9:07 am
I still think many new freelancers quit before they actually have a chance to succeed.
December 28th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
After doing research in the Art Degrees at the local State Universities, I came to the conclusion that the degrees in some of the arts were nothing more that degrees in freelancing. Some of the Universities had courses in subjects called “Freelancing”. They even had classes in a subject called “Internship”. (You know where they go to an organization and work for nothing)
They pay tuition for that class.
December 28th, 2012 at 5:12 pm
Good to know that freelancing is being taught somewhere.
December 29th, 2012 at 5:07 am
I agree completely with you.
For someone who is new to freelancing getting work/projects can be quite a challenge. Few important things for a getting a good head start in freelancing in my experience,
Try built a profile describing the nature of work, relevant past experience (if any), certifications linked to the services you offer. If you are a writer, photographer its good to have some sample of you work which can be shown/displayed
If there is no specific past experience that you carry, do not worry, however be realistic of the prices that you quote. You may start with something very reasonable. With experience you can quote better rates.
Get your self registered on some good freelancing websites. I believe this is the most important as projects are spread far and wide and you stand a chance to get them from any part of the world. One such good website with abundant projects that I could probably recommend is http://www.freelanceindia.com
Be focused, sincere and diligent work surely will come in
December 29th, 2012 at 12:17 pm
This was indeed a great and motivating article to get started as freelancer.
December 31st, 2012 at 3:13 am
Maintaining a freelance business can be challenging without the support of some clever marketing ideas to get your brand out there…..Finally,
Loura, Great Work!
Thanks for posting this.
December 31st, 2012 at 11:46 am
Thanks everyone for the great comments! I love these discussions.
MichaelJanuary 1st, 2013 at 11:01 am
thats a very good discussion about freelancers and how they get work after they start first time into that business. I made same several experience and it was a tough time, but if people dont give up than the time is coming which it payed out. A good Freelancer Site which open a view Days before and which is http://app-lancer.com , register there didn’t cost for us anything so maybe some projects will get trough that. All the best to all others here.
January 4th, 2013 at 4:46 pm
Very informative article. More and more of those in our industry (web design) are going the freelance route. One thing I often find is that larger companies will flat out refuse to work with freelancers (unless you’ve really established your reputation). Lastly it would have been interesting if you would have touched on how freelances could use services like Odesk or elance to promote themselves.
Again thanks for the great article.
January 8th, 2013 at 9:33 am
It is a matter of awareness- it’s not just important in our modern times but as it has been throughout history, as soon as people start realizing how to utilize their talents and skills; possibilities shall arise.
January 10th, 2013 at 10:36 am
I think the most important between skill is Sales ability…
January 12th, 2013 at 5:12 pm
World is changing every time. Also every life lives on Earth.
It is not only matter how much faster and better you are but also how much reliable you are also how much change you have.So it is time to check !
Do you ever checked it out ?
Mark KataviceMarch 19th, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Thanks Laura. Its true what you say about freelancer’s life style.Can you give me any tips, that is there any way to be a freelancer for a skilled easy writer.
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