Where are Your Customers?
After you finally decide to adopt freelancing for your bread and butter, you need to find your first clients and customers. A few years ago you would have to act solely by means of local businesses and private residents of your community in hopes that someone, anyone you know could lead you to a potentially high paying client for your freelance work. You might have got success or it might go futile because of the contacts being limited.
Due to advent of internet in our life, finding customers for your fresh freelancing operation has now been easier. People looking for freelancer workers to help them with a project or two are all over the places and can help you get started in the freelance world.
As a freelancer, you can also use the internet to your advantage to advertise your services on various forums and other freelance web resources. In such situations, instead you are looking for some prospective clients; they may look for you – allowing you to focus on whatever tasks and projects you are currently working on for others.
As a new freelancer, the first thing you must do when looking for clients is to get your name out there. Let people know who you are, where you are, what time suits to you, what you do, how well you do it, and what you can do for them. You must have your brief profile extended to all the corners of the world you may get affinity with.
Potential clients love a freelancer who is willing to get the job done right the first time on a timely manner, and if you have no prior experience, you may have trouble getting high paying customers to trust you right off the bat. You may need to build up your base first. Slowly but surely, you will get what you deserve.
However, if you start with a few low paying jobs, you will quickly find that you can advance through the ranks very rapidly and soon be able to net all of the projects that will allow you to keep your freelance business self sufficient. Your income may grow up accordingly. There is no better way to get off on the right path as a freelancer than to assemble a clear, concise, and focused portfolio of your work.
You can either include this portfolio as an email attachment when you apply for positions offered to you by clients, or if you have some web design skills you can create a personal portfolio website that outlines all of the specific projects that you have worked on over the years for various clients. You can highlight whatever you achieve.
Whatever type of portfolio you choose to create, you must be sure that it is targeted to the audience you are trying to attract, as there is no sense in including work you did as a software programmer if you are looking for work as a freelance photographer for example. Your profile must be brief but to the point and should have something which may interest your targeted clients.
Now, when it comes to finding clients for your freelance business in masses, you need to focus your attention to the various forums and discussion boards that dot the web. You must be able to explain what you can deliver. You may choose for Google. It is a great way to search for different websites that are specific to your chosen freelance field, and if possible you should avoid posting advertisements for your services in freelance forums that are not frequented by people who are looking for freelancers in your line of work. You must be choosy as posting out of section makes you look bad and could result in you being banned from various freelancing websites that may have proven helpful to you in the future as your business expands.
Because it is so important for you to find freelance websites that are focused to your particular field of operation, you need to decide on one or two services that you think you can find freelance work in and then go from there.
If you choose one of the popular freelance jobs, such as writer, editor, photographer, web designer, or software programmer then you will have a much easier time finding work online because there are so many different freelance directories available to you. As any kind of freelancer, one of the best places to start your search for customers in US is Craig’s List. This can help for other countries too. You need to make a deep study. This is your one stop shop that can help you find work in your local metro area as well as in cities and countries from around the world. Most of the jobs offered at Craig’s List allow you to work at home although you may have to visit the offices of some of the higher paying positions from time to time.
Another amazing resource for freelancers of all kinds is Guru.com, a website that helps prospective freelancers in all fields find customers from around the world. This website caters mostly to well establish freelance professionals though, so you may want to turn to it later once you have exhausted your other freelancing options.
If you wish to be a freelance writer or editor, there are a couple of excellent freelancing websites for you. Just you need to surf.
The first is Freelance Writing, a massive database where employers and freelancers can post their information in hopes that they will find a suitable match on a per-project basis. You will mostly find lower paying jobs here, but it is a great start if you are just getting into freelancing or if you are simply looking for a couple of easy part time projects to supplement your current income. Also, the Writer’s Market is a great place to not only find work but to learn all of the ins and outs of the writing and editing business. You can get in touch with potential clients as well as hone your skills as a writer.
Those involved in the world of design and programming should turn to ScriptLance.com as their source of well paying jobs in their chosen industry. As one of the leading websites for those involved in programming and design, this is probably the most likely place that you will find a well paying job in the web and software field.
If you are looking for other options, check out the Freelance Job Search, a website that will help you find lesser known, but well paying freelance jobs in the world of web design, graphic design, and programming.
Is Freelancing Really The Way To Go?
If you are planning to quit your current job and enter the world of the freelancer, then you had better be pretty darn well sure that this is something you want to do. Even if you are totally sure that you want to become a freelancer in your chosen field, is it something that is financially possible for you?
Can you support your family on the salary you make from a freelancer? You will have to think about your healthcare, are you prepared to give that up too in pursuit of a future as a freelancer? Can you handle the stress that comes from working with tight, often ridiculous deadlines on your projects?
Do you work well by yourself and can you speak well when talking with a potential client who may want to hire you for his next project? Finally, do you have what it takes to constantly advertise yourself and your services to anyone who may be interested?
Far too often, people think that they want to be freelancers simply because it sounds cool. After all, many people get it into their heads that there is no more relaxing work atmosphere than being able to wake up late, work on your computer while you are wearing your night suit, and take off whatever days you want as your vacation. Sure, these are all perks of being a freelancer, but let’s be honest here – there are quite a few trials and tribulations that you will have to go through as a freelancer before you can reach the point where you do not have to worry about your finances anymore.
Yes, that is something that so many people fail to realize – you cannot expect to simply quit your current job for life as a freelancer and suddenly have hundreds of potential clients knocking at your door in hope that you will do a project for them. There is much more to freelancing than that, so let’s find out if you have what it takes to make it in the cutthroat world of the freelancer.
The first thing that you have to realize about being a freelancer is that you may not be able to make ends meet on freelancing alone for quite some time. So, if you are thinking about quitting your current job – don’t do it just yet. Instead, test the waters and be sure that you like freelancing first, and find out how much money you can make as a freelancer before you even begin to work on your resignation papers.
As a fledgling freelancer, your best bet is to start off with clients that may not pay as much but will be able to get you in the door. Sure, you will have to take jobs that you may think are below you – but in the end it will pay off.
Maybe not financially at first, but by way of getting your name out there and adding employment opportunities to your ever expanding list of satisfied customers. Therefore, if you want to freelance professionally, you have to be willing to take a pay cut at first in order to be successful later.
Secondly, you have to figure out whether or not you can support your family on the salary you will make as a freelancer. Remember that you will have to take a pay cut from your current job when you first start out as a freelancer, and when you finally quit your current job for good, will you be able to bring in enough work to keep your family’s lifestyle at the same level it currently is?
These are important questions that you have to ask yourself before you make that big leap into the world of freelancing. For example,
- While it is not very important if you decide to keep doing freelance work as a supplement to your current income – it will become extremely important if you decide to make your freelance salary your sole income.
- You have to think about what you will do for healthcare as a freelancer. Without the support of an already established business behind you, you will have to pay for your own (and your family’s) health insurance out of pocket.
- This is not a big deal if you have a spouse that gets health insurance from his or her workplace, but if your spouse is a stay at home parent or is involved in their own freelance business, this becomes a major expense to think about. So be sure that you will be able to afford health insurance for all of your loved ones when you become a freelancer.
- Stress management is a key factor of working for you as a freelancer. You will be faced with projects that may require you to work long and hard before you can finish them. Often, these projects will be extremely difficult and be under some ludicrous deadline – making them that much more intense. So, are you good at handling stressful situations such as these? After all, if you are not able to get the project back to your client on time and in working order, you may be discredited and have a much more difficult time finding work for many months to come.
- Are you a team player or do you work better as an individual? While this question may seem insignificant, remember that as a freelancer you really have no team to rely on should you not know how to do something. Sure, you could scour the internet for answers to your questions – but that will take away valuable time from your project. So, if you are the type of person who can accomplish tasks more efficiently in a group, then you may want to rethink the idea of going freelance, because the individualize work environment of a freelancer is certainly not for you.
- Finally, can you handle the fact that you must constantly advertise your services to just about anyone who may need you to do some work for them? Do you have enough self esteem that you can promote yourself as if you are the best freelancer out there? Being able to constantly advertise your services is a major benefit for anyone looking to become a freelancer. While it is possible to by shy or withdrawn and be successful at freelancing, you will have a much easier time if you are more vocal about promoting your services to prospective customers.
I hope that with the above, you can think in the right direction and would like to become a freelancer for leading a better life.
Be Happy – Become a Freelancer.