How To Become A Freelancer In 8 Steps: A Complete Guide

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Freelancers are self-employed, independent contractors who provide professional services to clients across a variety of industries. Over the past few years, freelancing has developed as a potential career option among millennials in India. If you wish to work independently, you can choose to become a freelancer in the field of your choice. In this article, we discuss how to become a freelancer and explore some potential freelance career options and their duties.

How to become a freelancer

Here are the eight steps that you can follow to learn how to become a freelancer:

1. Decide your niche

Before you start working as a freelancer, identify your strengths and interests. You may then explore your options, analyse market competition, find a profitable niche and test your freelance idea. Many freelancers start by offering services based on the experience they gained as a beginner. For example, if you have worked as a photographer previously, you may continue working in the same field as a freelancer.

Try to pick a niche that interests you as your starting point and keep working on that to improve your skills and gain expertise. If you are not sure what you like or what your interest is, you can keep the niche fluid and experiment with different projects. The more you focus on finding your niche, the more value you can offer through your freelancing services.

2. Start building your professional profile

Creating a professional job profile is the first step towards becoming a freelancer. Build your portfolio on trusted job-seeking websites such as Indeed, to get in touch with companies looking for freelancers and get high-quality assignments. As a beginner, you may not always be able to pick which projects you want to work on, but having an online presence on various job platforms may show people you are accepting work.

If you were involved in any freelance projects earlier, upload your work samples to your profile and write about your experience to let potential clients know your niche and expertise. Applying on job search platforms is one of the best ways to get your first assignments as a freelancer.

3. Find your target clients

Once you build your profile, start looking for clients. As a freelancer, you may have the freedom to choose the clients with whom you want to work. Define who is an ideal client for you and start searching accordingly. Also, decide whether you want to work with individuals or organisations. For example, if you want to work as a freelance content writer, you may work for content marketing agencies or choose to work for an individual. Job seeking websites can connect you to a large pool of clients, where you may find many freelancing projects in your niche.

While looking for your target clients, make sure you offer the services they are looking for and have some samples to show if they ask for them. Check their requirements before approaching them and project your skills and experience that fulfil their expectations while making a deal. Maintaining a good professional relationship with clients may increase your chances of getting consistent project opportunities in the future.

4. Decide your pricing structure

Freelancers may typically charge per assignment, per hour or per word. But your niche and quality of work can determine your pay rate. If you are a beginner, you can do some research online to understand the parameters to consider while deciding your charges. With experience, you can decide a fair price for your services, based on the research, effort, and resources you are investing in that project.

Think of different pricing structures for your different freelancing services. For example, if you are a content writer, avoid charging the same price for all content types. Your charges for writing a blog can differ from writing website content and the price may vary according to the piece of writing. Keep tracking your profit and market rates to check your progress and ensure that you are earning enough to justify your efforts.

5. Create your website

Having a website can help you create your own identity, grow your business, promote your service and attract your target clients. You can create a website to build a brand, get leads through organic sources and showcase your work and thoughts to potential clients. Unlike third-party platforms, your website can give you the opportunity to present your work with no restrictions.

You can also post your marketing services, testimonials, offers and tell potential clients about your various educational and work backgrounds. It can increase your legitimacy as a freelancer and may give clients the confidence that you are serious about pursuing a career as a freelancer. Note that creating a website is an optional step. It is not compulsory for freelancers, but having one can be beneficial for you.

6. Start actively marketing your services

For any freelancer, marketing themselves is a primary tool for finding work. Promoting your services can increase your reach and ultimately help you get more clients. You can use both offline and online marketing techniques to promote your services, such as word-to-word publicity, referrals, brochures and social media marketing.

Social media websites offer a great platform for self-promotion for any freelancer. You can create templates and post those on various online websites to grow your business. Tell people about your freelancing services and ask them to promote your services to their contacts.

7. Build a client base

As a new freelancer, building a client base may seem a little difficult, as you may require proving your services differ from and are more useful than other freelancers. Sometimes, finding new clients and meeting their expectations is the primary fear that may prevent freelancers from actively pitching their services. But, with a few steps and strategies, you can create a strong client base for your business.

To retain your existing clients, you can aim to consistently provide good quality service, original content and respond to clients. Use marketing tools to expand your network, create your business website, earn excellent reviews and testimonials from your previous work. Add your work samples, post recommendations from clients and highlight all the reasons why potential clients may work with you on your website or professional profile page.

8. Keep track of your finances

Once you start earning money as a freelancer, you may have multiple clients paying invoices on different days and at different times. Hence, it is important to track your monthly income and expenses and measure how much you are earning to know whether you are getting full reimbursement for your work. Tracking work for every client can make it easy to raise invoices later. A good way to do so is to create a spreadsheet to measure your monthly profits. Add the details of your clients, the services you provide and the remuneration you are charging for the services.

Popular freelancing jobs

Here are a few common freelancing jobs you may consider based on your strengths and interests:

1. Freelance content writer

National Average Salary: ₹16,513 per month

Primary Duties: Freelance content writers create marketing content for companies, education institutes, organisations and agencies. They create SEO based content that can help to sell the service of a particular company. These professionals write blogs, articles, listicles and website content on various niches based on the requirements of a client. Some may also work as editors who review the content and suggest necessary changes to it.

2. Freelance photographer

National Average Salary: ₹19,506 per month

Primary Duties: Freelance photographers take projects and click photographs as per client requirements. A freelance photographer may charge per hour or per day based on the projects. They research and find suitable backgrounds or locations for photoshoots. They also review, reshoot and retouch photos as per client requirements.

3. Freelancer graphic designer

National Average Salary: ₹17,134 per month

Primary Duties: Freelance graphic designers visualise and create graphics, including logos, photos, layouts and illustrations. They shape visual aspects of websites, magazines, books, product packaging and exhibitions. They may work individually or collaborate with other designers with various skills.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.