One of the best places to start your entrepreneurial journey is by becoming a freelancer.
A lot of people would love to make some extra money on the side - whether they earn some money from a full or part-time job.
And that's understandable - different people live by different situations, and so it's foolish to assume that everyone could and should drop everything to chase their business careers.
However, over the past few years especially, there has been a massive uprise in the number of people becoming freelancers.
Freelancing, unlike starting a business, is a much more laid-back side hustle than anyone can start in their spare time.
Whether you have $0 in the bank, 2 hours to spare per day or 5 kids you need to take care of - freelancing can help you build a stable source of income on top of what you already earn.
The issue 90% of freelancers face is that the landscape is very competitive, and only those who have been freelancing for a long time or managed to build up a powerful reputation are able to reap the lucrative rewards it got to offer.
Back in 2020, research showed that nearly a third of the world's workforce were freelancers (1.2 billion), a number which has most likely inflated since then.
I've talked all about how one can succeed as a freelancer on Fiverr previously; we went through the entire process from setting up your freelance account to getting clients through the door.
Today, I have 6 more tips for beginner freelancers to help you get your first few sales.
Build a portfolio first
Anyone with access to a computer and an internet connection can become a freelancer, the barriers to entry are minimal.
With that said, clients are increasingly seeing more and more freelancers popping up on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, making it harder to choose the right freelancer.
While there are many talented individuals, there are a ton of others looking to make a quick buck, with almost no experience in the field they say they specialise in.
The biggest reason my partner and I failed at running our marketing agency (which is almost exactly like freelancing) is that we didn't have real experience with what we were offering.
A simple fix for this is hiring a marketer with prior experience and leveraging their previous results to find clients.
However, as a freelancer, you're almost always going to be a one-man team, and so you're unable to leverage anyone's results to get clients.
This is why it's crucial you spend time building a portfolio that shows off your skills and experience, making it a no brainer for clients to hire you.
The difference between successful freelancers and unsuccessful freelancers is that successful freelancers have dozens and dozens of case studies that show they've got real-world experience.
A simple, yet effective way of differentiating yourself from that herd is by showing clients you're serious and that you know what you're doing by building a portfolio to back up your word.
Show off your knowledge
With the ever-increasing competition every day, you're almost invisible to potential clients.
The reason you're not getting orders isn't that you're new, it's because no one can find you!
You have no real way of generating leads effectively and consistently.
Without a consistent stream of leads, it's going to be very difficult to build up a stable income from freelancing.
That's why there are a ton of freelancers starting to generate leads by creating online content.
Online content can take any form, for example:
All of these mediums can be used to generate leads for your freelance business.
From there, you can transcribe it and post it on a website.
All of these things will contribute to generating more and more leads for you.
Stop being invisible. Do things that get you noticed and portray you as an expert.
When clients look for freelancers, they want someone with expertise - creating content and sharing it online is the fastest way to show off your expertise in a specific field.
Communication is key
Working on my NFT collection, I have been forced to find freelancers capable of helping me do things I cannot do, or don't have the skills to do.
This includes setting up complicated functions on smart contracts, creating artwork, and so on.
If you're interested in learning more about creating an NFT collection, read this article here.
Throughout my experience with freelancers, I realised that there's one, the main thing that matters most - and it's not ability.
In my eyes, as a client, communication is the most important thing one must have as a freelancer.
If you're a freelancer, you must be able to communicate perfectly with your clients, reassuring them, asking questions, understanding them and their needs.
When I create job listings on Fiverr or Upwork, I always ignore the proposals with terrible communication skills.
I would include a line that says something like, "include the phrase 'gold pony' in your application, or it will be disregarded."
Immediately, the applications without the phrase get ignored, it shows that they've only applied just to apply.
After that, I think about how well freelancers try to understand my unique situation and requirements.
I'm an overly picky client, and so I tend to work with those who take the time to ask questions and fully understand what I need.
A client will not buy from you for one main reason - there is some level of uncertainty, and it's your job as a freelancer to pick that apart and make sure they're 100% comfortable.
Clients want to know more than just, "I have X, Y, and Z skills, so hire me," they want to know you understand exactly what they need.
Focus on communicating better with potential clients, and you'll immediately see a much better conversion rate.
Never work for free
A while back, I wrote an article titled 'Should You Work For Free When You Start A New Business?'
Although I argued that you could work for free to get some experience, I personally would never work for free.
Firstly, there is no guarantee that working for free will yield a return on your time investment.
A lot of the time, free work attracts the wrong type of clients - those who love free work and are picky with every aspect of your service.
In most cases, these free clients will never convert into long-term clients, and so it's a waste of your time and their time too.
Although you might be able to get some portfolio work and testimonials from it, you can build a portfolio without the need for real clients.
Next, delivering free works simply shows potential clients that you value price over quality of work.
There are people all around the world who are happy to pay premium prices for better quality over a lower price.
Quality trumps price almost every single time.
Don't become a commodity, price your work according to the quality and service you deliver.
If you're doing SEO marketing and you make your clients an extra $30,000 per month, on average, it's important that you charge around $3000-$10,000 per month.
Don't choose price over quality, ever.
Finally, the lower the price of a service, the more one might question your ability to deliver.
For example, when I was searching for people to help us with our NFT collection, we were getting a massive range of prices.
For a 1-min video, we got quoted thousands of dollars while there were some freelancers charging only a few hundred.
This could give the impression that you're new, and that you, yourself, are not comfortable with your own skills to deliver on your promise.
Don't work for free - find clients and prove to them why they made the right choice picking you.
Stack the odds in your favour
Here's one of my favourite tips out of all the others in this article.
As a freelancer, heck as an entrepreneur, it's important you stack the odds in your favour.
What do I mean by this, exactly? Well, we've slightly touched on this already when I mentioned how you must create content to stand out.
Stacking the odds in your favour is just another way to help you get exposure as a freelancer.
In such a competitive space, it can be hard to differentiate yourself and your services from all the others in the market.
That's the wrong way to approach this - instead of waiting for clients to come to you, stack the odds in your favour by actively looking for clients yourself.
The best place to find people looking for freelance services is by using LinkedIn.
I recommend you niche down, and pick one service that serves one niche.
From there, I would go on LinkedIn (and Facebook) every day and find real estate agents who may require my services.
I'd then reach out to them with a 4-message sequence.
Freelancers are free to do this too! Instead of waiting for clients to stumble across your profile on Fiverr, go and find your clients instead.
You can even buy email lists of people in your niche and send email campaigns introducing yourself and your services.
Don't be too salesy, and don't spam - you'll most likely get your email banned, or worse, blacklisted.
Learn about sending cold emails before trying this method out.
Get creative, figure out where your ideal client hangs out, and get in front of them.
This will likely increase your chances of finding a client tenfold.
"Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years." ~ Bill Gates
Patience is always the name of the game, no matter what it is you're looking to do.
I thought that starting a scrappy dropshipping business and spending $10 on ads will free me from a life I dreaded.
If you've read some of my first ever articles, you'll understand how that went for me.
Although my goals have exponentially grown since then, I'm still nowhere near achieving my goals in life.
99% of people I know would have given up a long time ago had they been in my shoes.
However, I learned that patience is the reason successful people stick around and win, while everyone else loses.
When you master patience, it'll only be a matter of time until you start to succeed.
While things might not look so bright right now, don't give up.
One day, all of those compounded efforts will pay off infinitely.
6 months ago, I had no followers on Medium - I was getting less than 100 views per month on my blog.
4 months ago, I was getting a few thousand views per month and still had less than 10 followers on Medium.
Today, I have around 350 followers on Medium and receive around 40-50K monthly visitors per month across all my online channels.
A simple promise to myself slowly evolved and compounded into something much bigger than I ever anticipated - that's the power of patience.
Those were 6 major tips all beginner freelancers should be doing.
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Till next time,