Freelancing 101: How to get started

The easiest way to get started as a freelancer is to visit a freelance site such as Freelancer.com or Upwork. 

At these sites, companies needing freelance skills post their projects and describe their needs , confirm their deadlines, and specify their budget.  As a freelancer, you identify projects that match your skills and register your bid

The company then reviews the bids they receive including your own and look for the best fit.  They then get in touch with the chosen bidder, which can be you.

If you want to look beyond freelancing sites to put up your freelance business, here are tips to get started, courtesy of smb.com.

First of all, determine the services you will offer.  Decide whether to be a generalist or a specialist.

specialist.

An example of a generalist is a social media manager who can operate in all or almost all social media platforms.   A specialist is one who has specialization in Pinterest marketing management, for example. 

The next step is to determine your target market.  Are you going to focus on a specific industry or trade?  There are freelancers who style their services for the exclusive use of food manufacturers, for example.   On the other hand, there are those who make themselves available across  industries. 

Next, determine your price.  This step may be tricky.  If you price your services too low, this may send the signal you don’t do high-value work.  If you price too high, you maybe pricing yourself out of reach of your target market, that is, companies might think they cannot afford you.  You can specify hourly rates, monthly rates, or piece rates. 

Create an online portfolio.  Build a profile that promotes what you have to offer.  Your portfolio catalogues your experiences over the years in the area of your specialization as well as lists down previous clients who can at the same time serve as your references.  You can publish your portfolio in your own website if   you have one.  Otherwise, you can use Linked in, Portfoliobox, or SquareSpusinace.  Other options include networking on social media, offering a free consultation, asking for referrals, and email marketing.

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