Working from home might not be perfect all the time but most of the time it’s great. Freelancing, in my opinion, is probably one of the best work from home jobs you can have because it provides so much freedom and flexibility.
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For example, today I was able to go with my husband to visit his parents for my mother-in-law’s birthday. We left at 9 a.m. and didn’t get back until 2 p.m. In the evening, we decided to go to my brother’s school to support him at an event he was having.
While it was definitely a busy day, I still managed to complete a full day’s workload by scheduling all my tasks around relaxing and spending time with my family so I didn’t miss out on earning any money.
Not being bound by a specific schedule is just one of the many perks of being able to work at home as a freelancer. Here are some specific benefits to freelancing and how to get started.
Why Freelancing is the Best Work-From-Home Job
- You can prioritize your relationships with other people as opposed to putting work above everything else.
- You'll control how much you earn.
- You won’t have to deal with commuting or office politics.
- You can create a work schedule that suits your lifestyle.
- You’ll work for yourself and won’t have to answer to many people as long as you set expectations and boundaries with your clients.
- You don’t always have to work from home. Freelancing often allows you to be completely location independent meaning you can work at your local coffee shop or library or on a plane or on a beach if you like to travel.
So now that you know all the reasons why freelancing rocks, it’s time to talk about how to break into freelancing if that’s something that interests you.
How to Get Started Freelancing
The following steps are crucial to take if you want to build a thriving freelance business from scratch.
Step 1: Determine What Type of Work You’ll Do
There are so many different types of freelancers. What type of work you do simply depends on your skills and interests. I love freelance writing, but know that not everyone would love to write for a living.
Just be sure to start by choosing something you’re passionate about and will enjoy doing long-term. Don’t think about the money just yet as there will always be someone who’s willing to purchase your services.
People spend money on strange things, so don’t ever think you won’t make any money as a freelancer if the niche you choose is unique or rare. Finding your first client is not always easy, but it’s not impossible either.
Step 2: Start a Website
The next important step is to create an online presence. If you can’t be found online, you won’t have a successful business these days. It’s crucial that you start a website or blog so when people search for you online, a professional content will show up to highlight what you do.
If you have work samples, you can set up an online portfolio or even use your LinkedIn page, but a professional self-hosted website is easy to set up and will be a great investment.
You should also set up social media accounts as well.
Step 3: Promote Your Services
Once set up your online presence, it’s time to use your platform to promote yourself. Start posting on your blog and social media channels.
You can use your personal social media profiles to promote yourself as well to people you know who might be interested in hiring you.
Use hashtags to boost engagement and attract your ideal customer/client.
You should also set up a ‘Hire Me’ or ‘Work With Me’ page on your website so people know the services you provide and that you’re hiring.
Step 4: Build Your Network
If you don’t get too many inquiries after you start promoting yourself, don’t worry. You need to focus most of your attention on building your network in the beginning because that’s where your best gigs will come from.
Again, start by leveraging your personal network to see if anyone is interested in your services or can help you spread the word. Then start building a professional network. Make business cards on sites like VistaPrint. Attend local networking events in your area and sign up for free webinars to connect with others online.
See if you can submit quality guest posts on other popular sites to increase your reach and credibility. Join Facebook groups and start sharing other people’s content on social media.
One thing I did to jumpstart my freelancing business was hiring a coach. Hiring an experienced coach and mentor will require an investment upfront, but you’ll learn a ton about freelancing in your niche and more importantly, you’ll have access to that successful mentor’s network.
After hiring my coach and working with her for a few weeks, I joined a Facebook group she created and connected with other freelancers who later recommended me for gigs. Building your network takes time, but it's best to try everything and focus on making genuine connections with people.
Step 5: Send Pitches
Most of the time, clients won’t come to you especially in the beginning. That means you’ll have to do plenty of outreach and send pitches to potential clients so you can see who’d like to work with you.
Start by making a list of potential clients you can pitch to and obtain the right contact information. Then, start sending out custom pitches that are short but effective.
Most people get a ton of email and probably won’t want to read a long essay. Freelance pitches are like condensed cover letters. You just need to introduce yourself and share a few sentences about what you do and how you can help the potential client solve a problem or reach a goal with your services.
Be sure to include any proof of your performance like recommendations, samples, etc. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back after sending a few pitches or get rejected.
Focus on sending quality pitches to a wide variety of prospects to increase your chances of getting hired.
Step 6: Rinse and Repeat
Once you’ve built up your network and have a solid list of potential clients to pitch, you should start signing contracts with clients to receive regular assignments. Be warned that freelancing can pick up quickly. Soon you may be in over your head, but having too much work is almost always better than not having enough.
Remember, you have control of setting your own rates and asking for raises so make sure you aren’t selling yourself short. Since freelancers are independent contractors, they don’t get employee benefits like health insurance or a retirement plan so you’ll have to budget for those expenses on your own.
As a freelancer, you’ll also be responsible for paying your own taxes so you’ll need to set aside a portion of your earnings for Uncle Sam.
All in all, once you work out some of the kinks in the beginning, freelancing can be a very rewarding career move. It's best to start freelancing as a side hustle, then you can consider transitioning to full-time after you build up your income. You'll soon enjoy the flexibility working as a freelancer provides!
Have you ever thought about becoming a freelancer? What type of work would you do?
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