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The Basics of Freelancing in 2021
Life and Style Daily
October 18, 2021
4 min

The global pandemic back in 2020 forced many people to adapt to a remote work setup in order to continue earning wages during the lockdown. This led to an increased number of freelancers, and this rise is expected to continue for the coming years. So, if you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer but you don’t know how and where to begin, here are the basics of starting a freelance career in 2021.

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is basically providing existing services to different clients with the terms and price both parties agreed on. Freelancers are hired by individuals or other companies on either a part-time or short-term basis but without the same benefits as full-time employees. They are often registered as self-employed individuals.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of freelancing?

Freelancing has its pros and cons. Here are they:

Advantages

  • You can start even without any experience.
  • You can choose what you do (making money out of something you love). When you start doing freelance jobs, you get to choose your field of focus. Your job can be anything you love - writing, programming, design, and it also extends to other non-remote freelance jobs.
  • Set your own hours to suit you and your circumstances. Not only do you get to choose what you do, but you can also negotiate the terms of your working hours per day.
  • Work from anywhere you want. Have you always dreamt of working on the beach or just in the comfort of your own home? As a freelancer, especially if you’ve chosen remote freelance work, you only need your laptop to do your job.
  • Easy to set up. Remote freelancing jobs only require you to have a simple computer setup especially. You have the freedom to set up your workspace however you like it. For non-remote work, you can always choose a job where you already have the tools you need.

Disadvantages

  • You need to arrange your own health insurance. For regular jobs, benefits such as health insurance are covered by your employer. As a freelancer, you have to acquire those yourself.
  • You have to invest in it. If you don’t have internet installed or a laptop fast enough to do your work efficiently, you have to personally invest in these. Some of the tools you need to start freelancing are a computer and its accessories such as mouse and keyboard and headphones, and even licensed software such as Adobe products used by graphic designers.
  • Unstable income. As a freelancer, you’re unlikely to have a consistent monthly income. Unless all your clients always want the exact same amount of work from you each month, your income will fluctuate a lot. You can also experience clients paying you late or gigs that fall through.

What you need to get started

If you want to start freelancing now, here are some of the essential steps to get started:

1. List out the current skills you can do

You should start by listing out the current skills you can do. Luckily, most of the in-demand freelance jobs in 2021 can now be done remotely. You can check these jobs to see what piques your interest:

  • Becoming an Uber driver
  • Photographer
  • Makeup artist
  • Writing - copywriting, SEO writing, proofreading, and many more
  • Software development - mobile app development, website development
  • Graphic design - websites, social media content, logos

2. Pick the right niche for you

What is the right niche for you? A niche is basically a field or area of focus. Defining the right niche for you usually combines what you’re good at and what you love doing.

For example, if you love writing and have some experience in writing blogs, you can try to explore copywriting. A helpful tip to describe your niche is to be specific about it so that you can target a specific group of people.

For example, if you decide to make websites as a freelance job, you should specify what kind of website you make and for whom (e.g., websites for restaurants that are not online yet).

3. Make a portfolio for prospective clients

The easiest way to invite clients to work with you, no matter what niche you choose, is to show them examples of your work. Clients will want to see what you can do and the quality of your output to determine if you’re what they’re looking for.

Put together even a simple portfolio before you start bidding on jobs. For graphic designers, this means a copy of designs they worked on in the past. For copywriters, it may simply be a compilation of everything they’ve written before.

4. Establish a personal brand

A part of presenting yourself in front of clients is establishing a personal brand. This helps you make a reputable identity with which customers can interact. It also enables you to build a good first impression and reputation as a freelancer. This includes creating a professional-looking email address or setting up a website that features your capabilities as a freelancer.

Some of the ways you can do it for free are by creating social media pages such as a Facebook page for your freelancing business. This way, your clients can contact you, or your friends can refer you to a potential client more easily.

How freelancers make money

Freelancers take on either one-off gigs or a regular commitment with a client. They can be paid by project, milestone, or per hour. You can negotiate these terms with your clients depending on how you estimated the difficulty of the task.

Platforms you can get started in

People wanting to start a freelancing business often resort to using freelance platforms as an effective way to find clients. While these platforms help you connect with clients, remember that you can still do freelance work without them.

Some examples of freelancing platforms are Upwork, Fiverr, and Freeup, among many others. These websites have listings of clients who need freelancers of different skills.

There also are websites that are specific for some skills. Some examples of these are Problogger and BloggingPro for writing, Design Crowd and Envato Studio for graphic artists, and Assistant Match and Fancy Hands for virtual assistants.

When searching for clients, be wary of employers who post jobs for unreasonable prices. You can also try to join public freelancing groups on Facebook, so you have a community to guide you as a beginner.

These groups aim to inform freelancer newbies about the industry and give tips on how to land good jobs on different freelancing websites. You can also ask the people in your community if your client’s price is reasonable.

Final Thoughts

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to freelancing. You can take months or even years to start landing great projects, so don’t give up if your first few biddings get rejected. Like every new field you try to enter, the key is just being consistent with delivering quality output and finding more clients that would suit your goals as you try to grow as a freelancer.


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