Being a freelancer is an increasingly attractive way to work, with more than 400 million freelancers expected to exist by 2027. In fact, flexibility is now a part of the modern working world, as freelancing offers not only opportunities to become an invaluable resource within your industry but also earnings that can help you achieve your financial goals while you work from home or on the go. You want to be your own boss. Working as a freelancer gives you the freedom to choose your own assignments and to create your own schedule. It’s perfect for people who have a hard time saying 'no' to opportunities and want to say yes more often too.
The gig economy has changed the nature of work
The gig economy, also known as the sharing economy, refers to the growth in popularity of services which allow for part time work outside traditional employment. Companies such as Uber and Airbnb have given opportunities to be self employed. However, these companies are not necessary for someone to be self employed. In fact many freelancers have already been working independently with one contract or another.
In the past, if you wanted to freelance you had to create a service company or do your own tax returns. The gig economy has changed that. You can often sign up to be a freelancer and within minutes you’re ready to start your first job. This is great news for marketers as many companies need additional workers.
Easy ways to break into freelancing
Have you ever thought of freelancing as a means to an end? Well, it certainly can be. But the great thing is that you have a lot of options on how to go about it. From taking gigs on Upwork, to building your niche website, you’re free to do what you want and set whatever price point you want.
Freelancing has become a big business as we are experiencing a talent shortage in many industries. So my next question to you is: how easy can you get started freelancing? Right now I’m sure many of us freelancers will agree that starting out is one of the hardest things about freelancing. It can be scary, it’s hard to know where to start, and there are so many questions you need answered like how do you get paid and by who?
Start off by following the path of least resistance. Create an account on some of the freelancing job boards and offer services you are comfortable with. This could be video editing travel vlogs or writing newsletters for a tech company. Choose something a little specific and this will give you an idea of what niche you might want to stick with. You don’t have to get super detailed with your niche but have a few things in mind and see how you go with your first few clients.
If you don’t want to put yourself out there on the job boards, you can take another approach. Start connecting with people in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups or even Reddit forums. Taking on a more personal approach and seeking out groups that have common challenges that need solving can be a great way to break into freelancing. There is no need to be salesy or rude, simply offer to help them with whatever they might be struggling with and go from there.
Network, network, and network further
Networking is the best way to gain more leads and find better clients. People who network often report a greater number of leads than those who don’t. The benefits are too big to ignore, yet many freelancers don’t seem to make “networking” a part of their business strategy. There are many reasons why it’s so important and some ways that freelancers can meet potential customers at business events, job fairs and online communities.
Networking means developing connections and partnerships with individuals who can help you succeed in your profession. Networking is an essential business strategy for anyone, including freelancers. Freelancers today are almost exclusively reliant on their own skills to generate the kinds of leads and opportunities that will eventually turn into successful projects and sustained income.
Marketing your services as a freelancer
As a freelance writer, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how best to market my services. And there's no shortage of advice online on this subject. Everyone seems to have a different point of view. For instance, some people say email your target audience; others claim paid advertising is the way to go. And still others fervently believe in the power of content marketing (aka blogging for profit). Each strategy can work but it depends on what you're trying to do with your business and how fast you want results.
There is no one right way to market something. It’s all about testing different offers, marketing channels, and ad copy to find what converts best. Here is a simple marketing strategy you can follow:
1. Create a mailing list
2. Gather a client base
3. Look for opportunities to collaborate with others
4. Stay in touch and connect with people throughout your career (the networking)
5. Promote your work on social media
Takeaway: The best time to be a freelancer is right now. There are more opportunities than ever. Don't wait to get in on the ground floor. It's already happening