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freelancing

Freelancing 101: How to Get Freelance Jobs

Real talk: I think it’s really weird that in 2022, with the financial crisis looming over our heads, people still don’t seriously consider freelancing. Freelance jobs provide the easiest source of income today. 

Yet, for some reason, everyone’s under the impression that finding freelance gigs is really hard. That’s not true. Of course, maintaining an income entirely on freelance jobs can be hard and requires careful planning. But to say that finding freelance jobs is difficult; well, that’s simply not true.

Browse through any freelancing site, Facebook group and even job listing sites like LinkedIn, and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of freelance gigs across various industries. The issue isn’t looking for a freelance job. You’ll find those easily enough; it’s actually landing one of them.

If you do it right, you can easily get ten to fifteen freelance jobs a month. At the end of my first year as a freelancer way, way back in 2018, I found myself rejecting potential contractors because I had too much work.

That’s the dream, right? 

And it’s not unachievable. As long as you know what you’re doing and have the skill set or willingness to learn, you can become a successful freelancer. But how do you do it?

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the various services you can offer, how you can get freelance jobs, and how to choose the correct platform. So, let’s begin.

What is Freelancing? 

So, freelancing’s got a pretty straightforward meaning. If you search it on Google, you’ll find quite a bit of information.

So, a freelancer is essentially a self-employed person who works for different companies. Pretty simple. But if freelancer means self-employed, then why don’t we just call all freelancers self-employed? Well, that’s where it gets a bit tricky. See, when you’re self-employed, you probably have your company or agency, and you’re basically the CEO or something.

Not every freelancer has their own company. Sure, they’ll have a tax ID or something, but you don’t have to go through the hassle of registering a company, hiring employees and all that. Most freelancers go on to become business owners.

That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

But what’s super cool about being a freelancer is that, unlike being a self-employed person where you positively have to fulfil certain obligations and meet contract pre-decided deadlines, you’re pretty much free to do as you please. Most freelancing gigs don’t have formal contracts or anything. The business largely goes on the word of mouth, which is good, but it also means that you have to take everything with a pinch of salt.

Freelancing’s cool, but you need to know what you’re doing. That’s why I created a list of things you need to consider before you begin freelancing. But don’t be scared of becoming a freelancer. If you know what you’re doing and you’re good at it, you can totally pick up a few freelance gigs here and there and maintain a full-time job.

As long as you don’t overwhelm yourself and let freelancing spill into other aspects of your life, you’re good to go. 

Types of Freelancing Services Available

The best thing about freelancing is that you can have any sort of skills and become a freelancer. Heck, even mercenaries can be freelancers, as noted by the origin of the word. While I definitely don’t recommend it, it just goes to show that there’s a wide range of freelance services out there.

Here are some of the most popular freelancing services in the market:

Photography

Unlike, say ten or twenty years ago when you needed a professional camera and equipment to become a photographer, these days, as long as you have a good camera phone and an eye for taking pictures, you can become a photographer. 

Similarly, in the past, photography was only limited to events and special occasions. However, with the rise of the internet, there has been an abundance in websites and blogs. All of these rely on images to make their sites visually appealing. Of course, not all businesses have the time or resources to hire their own photographers. So, instead they turn to the internet to look for images.

To ensure that they have the right to use images for promotion and business, most companies rely on image banks to find the right picture. Image banks have subscription options for companies which allow them to pay their photographers. You don’t have to be hired by an image bank to supply it with pictures. All you need to do is make an account.

Most image banks also include links to their photographers’ paypal, which allows companies to directly pay them. Some pay their photographers depending on how many clicks and downloads their images get. Different image banks have different ways of providing their photographers a source of income.

Image banks are a great place to start. They provide you with the creative freedom to post anything you please and get paid for it. You can use image banks to develop your portfolio before pitching your services to companies. If you’re willing to set up a shoot or travel to locations as per their requirements, corporations will hire you.

Writing

The second most popular service offered is writing. Writing isn’t limited to writing in English either. As businesses expand to different countries, there’s an increase in demand for web content, blog posts and more in many, many languages. 

From translations to original blog posts relevant to a specific region; writing’s pretty big right now and will continue to be so for quite a few more years. Basically, if you know a language, you can write. Of course, due to their popularity, certain languages are more in demand but for writers of less popular languages, there’s a chance to make quite a lot of money.

Basically, the more obscure the language, the easier it is to get a reputation as a good content writer. If you’re unsure about how to begin, there are plenty of short and long courses available online, free and paid, which you can benefit from.

Of course, most of these courses are in English, but websites like Domestika also offer it in Spanish. Coursera offers writing courses in various languages as well. The good news is that the fundamentals of SEO, regardless of the language, are the same. 

Graphic Design

There’s a range of graphic designing jobs available online. It really doesn’t matter what you’re good at or how much time you’re willing to put in; there are plenty of opportunities available for graphic designers online. From logo designing to 2D and 3D animation; you can choose to do whatever.

As a freelance graphic designer, you don’t have to worry about providing all services expected of a designer. You can pick a specific direction to take your work. For example, if you’re not comfortable with illustration or animation; don’t do it.

Remember, you’re the freelancer and you essentially get to pick what you do. If you enjoy one aspect or are comfortable using one or two design tools, just advertise that. You don’t have to worry about anything else. 

Of course, here and there, you will get client requests to do something that’s other than what you offer, and if you feel comfortable with it (read: it’s a regular client and you want them to work with you exclusively), you can totally offer a specific service in addition to what you’re already offering.

But, at the end of the day, it’s up to you.

So, don’t worry about it. Freelancing is one of the best ways for less experienced graphic designers to work on a bunch of different projects and build their portfolios. It’s not always easy to convince clients to agree to including the work you do for them in a portfolio. But, from experience, I’d say there’s a 3:1 ratio. Besides, you don’t want to overcrowd your portfolio anyway. Anywhere between ten to twenty different projects on different (or similar) niches is good.

Web Development

Web development is booming these days and it won’t slow down anytime soon. Today, almost every business, app and even event needs its own website. Whenever you think of something, you google it.

That’s how it works now.

So, if you’re a web designer or have experience with web development, you’ll find that freelancing is one of the best ways of earning an extra source of income. There are thousands of web developers across various freelance websites but this doesn’t mean that the competition is fierce.

The thing is, everyone needs a website so you can easily find someone who wants to work with you. The best course of action is to just set up an account, clearly outline the kind of websites you can work and you’re good to go!

IT Support

Outsourcing IT support and IT related tasks has become the new norm. In fact, many corporations have realised that it’s much simpler to hire employees on a contract or freelance basis.

This has led to a massive opening in the market. Whether you’ve got experience with the more complex IT operations or the simpler side of things with virtual assistance services and more; there are plenty of options here.

I won’t lie; I don’t know much about freelancing as an IT support technician but there are plenty of gigs and advertisements on freelance platforms for them so they must be making bank. Besides, IT services are one of the most popular services across the board. Just be sure to identify what kind of service you can offer and deliver efficiently and you’re good to go.

How to Choose the Correct Platform?

Now, we’ve spoken about the most popular freelancing services so naturally, our next stop is to look at the platform you should work from. Choosing the correct freelance platform is very important, especially when you’re starting out.

The right platform can give you the experience and exposure to move to other platforms and essentially create a network of freelancing platforms to work from. Obviously, that means more income but to get there, you must have the right starting point.

The best way to identify which platform to start from is to consider the following:

Your Goals

Identify your goals. What do you plan on doing? Do you have any short-term financial goals to meet? Or do you have long-term plans?

Think about this very clearly. When I started freelancing, it was just a way to make some money on the side while I was at university. It was only at the beginning of the pandemic that I realised that my freelance experience could land me a job.

Fast forward three years later, I’m a full-time copywriter at a company. I’ve got industry and agency experience now.

This doesn’t have to be your goal. The first company I worked for as a copywriter started off as a profile on Freelancer.com. The guy managed to expand substantially and eventually started running a full-blown marketing agency.

That’s pretty neat, if you ask me.

So, what are your goals? Are you looking for experience to pursue a career? Or are you hoping to build a business? 

Your goals will define which platform you’ll start working for.

Your Experience

Your experience will also determine the kind of platform you’ll work on. Upwork, for example, requires you to complete your profile with experience and a portfolio. It’s very thorough with the kind of freelancers it allows on its platform so I wouldn’t recommend Upwork to newbies.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look at other websites. I started off with no experience, but that didn’t stop clients from reaching out to me. Just be realistic with what you can do and you’re good.

Your Commitment

Think about how much time you’re willing to commit to each individual freelance job you get. Fiverr’s got this really cool feature where you can limit the number of gigs you get in a month. 

You should be clear about the time you’re willing to give to every job you get hired for. It’s not impossible to do freelancing on the side and maintain a full-time or part-time job. I do sometimes. If a gig catches my attention or if someone reaches out to me on Fiverr and I’m available, I’m willing to take three hours out of my schedule to get the job done.

At the end of it, it all goes down to what you want to do. But don’t take on more than you can handle. In the beginning of your freelance career, bad reviews and disgruntled clients can really hinder your progress so don’t risk it.

The Best Platforms for Finding Freelance Jobs in 2022

Once you’ve decided on that, you can begin looking at the right freelance platform for you. In this section, we’re going to talk about the best platforms where you can find the best freelance jobs as well as some tips and tricks on how to land your very first gig.

Fiverr

I believe that Fiverr’s the best website for freelancing. It’s very transparent about its functions, has amazing customer service that protects both freelancers and employers, and you get to offer exactly what you want.

Also, Fiverr has a massive library of services. You can find anything on Fiverr, you can set up your own rates (no negotiation needed) and that’s it. Employers will come to your profile, look at what you have to offer and if they’re cool with it, they’ll hire you.

It’s that simple.

Of course, because of how popular Fiverr is, it’s tough to stand out. There’s a lot of waiting required for your first client. I’d set up my Fiverr account for a month before I got my first client. 

The only way to accelerate the process of getting a client is to respond to Buyer Requests available on the top right side of your dashboard.

This helps increase your gig’s visibility and eventually you’ll get a client. Another trick is to install the Fiverr app on your phone and keep your status online. Sometimes employers will want to have a conversation with a freelancer before ordering, so they search for freelancers who are online.

For your first order, try to reply as quickly as possible so that Fiverr can calculate how quickly you respond to query requests and stuff. That’ll help get clients too.

Fiverr’s a waiting game but if you’re determined enough, and if you can wait, you get access to unlimited (or limited if you set up gig limits) orders at prices that you choose.

Freelancer.com

While Freelancer.com is pretty good for beginners, I’ll admit that I have a love-hate relationship with the website. I began my freelancing career on Freelancer.com before moving to Fiverr. For beginners, I’d say this is a good site to go to.

Of course, it requires paid monthly memberships but for the first month, it’s totally free. Basically, all you have to do is verify your payment method (read: you need to enter your debit card) and you have access to the first month trial. Freelancer.com charges $1 (or the local equivalent) from your card and that’s it.

You have to “bid” on gigs on the website. Basically, it’s a proposal. Employers post freelance jobs and you bid on them. I would recommend that you read the project description before applying and try to make your bid as relevant as possible to that description.

This will give clients the impression that you’ve taken the time to read their project description, and so they know that you’re genuinely interested. There are plenty of cases of people bidding on projects with generic, template bids. 

Clients can see through them, and unless you have like 200+ reviews, they’re not going to contact you. So, make your bids as personalised as possible, you’ll succeed.

I got my first project on Freelancer.com, four hours after signing up. All I did was place 20 or something bids, made sure they were highly personalised and I got a reply from one person! 

Try to finish your first gig in a day or less than the deadline you’ve agreed on, and make sure that the work’s good. Freelancer.com published reviews immediately and even one positive review can kickstart your account.

Upwork

Admittedly, Upwork’s for more experienced freelancers who want to make a little extra. It offers premium prices and it’s very, very good for building a network of strong, well-known clients. Think of Upwork as a mix between Freelancer.com and Fiverr.

Clients have the option to hire you directly based on your profile and rate, and they also have the option to post projects which you can bid on. Upwork’s membership is a bit steep compared to Freelancer.com but, considering the money you can make, it’s worth it.

Be Careful!

In the coming days, I’m going to take a closer look at each of these websites, and delve deeper into the pros and cons of each website. Freelancer’s great, but you need to know exactly what you’re getting into.

It can be way too easy to get caught up with scammers and clients who have no intentions of paying you. We’ll talk about all that soon.

2 Comments

  • tlovertonet

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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