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13 minutes reading time (2655 words)

How to get started in freelancing as an absolute beginner. Step 3 is my favourite.

how-to-get-started-in-freelancing-freelance-beginner-guide

Freelancing is one of the major ways people (including me) make money online and it's so far, been rated-best among other options (except online income streams like affiliate marketing

and other major online businesses such as e-commerce, of course) due to the freedom it accords and the earning flexibility of the average freelancer.

The fact that freelancing also gives you a great networking opportunity with several elite groups across the globe, is another reason to take it seriously.

As a freelancer, you get to work anywhere you want, anytime you want, on anything you want as well as anyhow you want.


What is freelance? Who is a freelancer?

Freelancing has to do with doing a short-term task for a client and getting paid for it. It's not that different from being called a self-employed individual.

Almost anyone can be a freelancer as long as they possess a marketable skill. Remember that graphic designer who's always out there trying to win clients to do some designing jobs for? Well, he's a freelancer.

He's simply selling his skills. That is the essence of freelancing. You learn a skill, develop and monetize it. I'm going to make this easier by grouping everything into these simplified steps.


Getting started

To begin freelancing, you only need to think of what you can do very well and join any of the available freelancing platforms to gain clients who need your services.

These freelance platforms handle everything for you including payment (you will have to provide a means of payment.

Common options are PayPal and Payoneer) and you are only required to bid for jobs, get the job awarded to you, get the job done and get paid. However, before you can do any of that, you probably need to learn a selling skill.


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  • 1. Learning a selling skill

This is apparently the first step needed to catapult you from a non-freelancer to a freelance expert. Without a skill, there's no freelance position for you in the ever-evolving freelance community.

So, what do you do? Simply learn a skill. Thankfully, there are several marketable skills available to choose from.

This step is not for every aspiring freelancer since there is a high probability that you already have a selling skill.

Well, if you don't, you wouldn't need to brainstorm to get it done. You can either create a simple gig or learn an existing skill to build your freelance on.


If you already have a skill, you can skip to the next stage where you are expected to nurture it and if you are already very good at what you do, you can skip to the final stage of monetization.

For instance, if you are an editor, you can start a freelance career around proofreading. The same with an artiste with a good voice who can do voice-over services for clients. How about a writer?

He can choose to write articles for clients as a freelancing career. However, it's worthy to note that your earning potential practically depends on the kind of skill you have. Some skills are more profitable compared to others.


How do you pick a skill to build your freelance career on? Learn a skill you are passionate about.

A skill that you can easily carry out and deliver effectively. How do you know if the skill will be profitable enough?

Do a brief analysis. Head to your favourite freelance platform, take a look at the top-sellers and see what service they offer.

Is it something you can do or learn how to do easily? The best-selling skills are very competitive on freelance platforms such as Fiverr.

To understand how competitive bestselling gigs are, a survey of those gigs should be done on Fiverr to get ideas from top sellers already offering the gigs.


In as much as competitive skills are more profitable, you should actually consider a less competitive skill.

This means, you get to win jobs easily but then again, skills like these tend to have less available jobs.

The most popular freelancing skills are actually in the content and techie sector but if you have some business skills, you are golden.

My friend takes a least $2,000 per job doing some little business analysis as a freelancer but did he become such a pro instantly?

No! He started little just as you are about doing now. So, if possible, forget the money and learn what you love.

This way, you will have more work ethic as a freelancer which is one sure way to build a great career. Have you considered web design? It's profitable!

The easiest way to learn this will be to follow my steps on how I built Ghavoch using Joomla. Then, you can improve and grow your skills from there to a web developer.


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  • 2. Developing your skill

It's true that not all freelancers are professionals with a top-notch technical skill. It's very much true that most people make hundreds of dollars weekly just through common service like proofreading.

It's undoubtedly true that you can build a freelance career around blog commenting that doesn't need any actual practice but still,

if you want to go for the big buck and you probably already learned a quality marketable skill, then you need to develop it. The best way to develop your skill is through practice.


Why is developing your skill important? Because it's through developing your skill that you become good at it.

For instance, you can't be a good web designer after building your first website, you will still need lots of practice and that's what developing the skill is all about.

Skill development entails that you build your knowledge on the skill and improve till you can afford to be regarded as a professional on that skill.

When I started out as a web designer, I was only as good as replacing the contents of CMS templates with mine but I didn't stop there.

I had to develop my expertise on the skill till I was able to build my own sites from scratch (PHP, CSS, HTML, JavaScript etc.) and tweak up content management systems the way I want.


One good thing about this phase is the fact that you get to also build a portfolio for yourself and do I need to state the importance of having a portfolio?

Okay, I will state the obvious. A portfolio is a list of your previous jobs which proves your skill and expertise.

This is very useful when trying to win new clients and as a bargaining power with your clients.

Freelance buyers are more likely going to hire freelancers with a convincing portfolio than those without one.

This is due to the fear factor. No one wants to do trial and error with their projects. We would all prefer to hire the professionals

and not having a portfolio makes you look like a newbie (an amateur). So, go out there and start enhancing your skills through multiple dynamic practices.


Don't rush to make money now. Just start working on as many side projects you can find till your skill gets to an intermediate level.

This is because buyers expect the best from you in record time and if you are still struggling with your skill,

you may find yourself having poor delivery issues. And such late deliveries or poor job qualities will just end up ruining your freelance career.

No new client will want such poor service. Here's what I mean, if you are a newbie programmer and you gain a job,

you may run into several errors if you are not yet familiar with that type of project and there just might not be enough time to start researching and sorting out the issues.

This will lead to late job delivery, poor user rating, bad reviews as well as order cancellations.


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  • 3. Monetizing your skill

This is where your trophy is. After so much time and effort you've put into learning and developing a skill, you actually deserve a good reward and that's where your freelancing career begins.

However, the reward will not be handed over to you on a plater of gold, you have to hunt and grab it yourself.

Yes, you will work for it. Now, would you just want to focus on online freelancing platforms or would you consider freelancing offline too?

There are ways to get this done. At first, you will need to register on any of the available online freelancing platforms

(Guru, Freelancer, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, UpWork, FreeeUp, JobDone etc.), set up your profile and win jobs.


These freelance platforms might seem different to you but at the end of the day, you will need to apply the same principles to your profile in order to succeed.

In as much as I could begin recommending platforms where you should start with (e.g UpWork),

the platforms that work well for others might not be your favourite so, at the end of the day, you should check them out and make the choice yourself.

What is the right platform? It's the platform where you can find plenty of clients posting several jobs and projects. It's the platform where you gain jobs at less cost. Okay, let me lay this out.


Create an account on your desired freelance platform. Most platforms (e.g UpWork, PeoplePerHour) offer a bidding credit that limits the number of jobs you can bid for whereas platforms such as Fiverr don't let you bid at all.

You set up your profile and wait for clients to hire you. Starting with Fiverr is great but then again, you are only allowed a $5 fee per job and if clients don't find you, you may never gain any job there.
Since UpWork only give you 60 connects (and PeoplePerHour gives you 15 credits) to bid for jobs,

you have to use it wisely by making sure you place a bid on only the jobs that shows a promise that you would be chosen.

Fortunately, freelance platforms earn a commission anytime you win and complete a project so,

they would also want to see you succeed. The good news with Fiverr is that you can create virtually any kind of gig and still get clients.
Your gig mustn't be technical. In fact, the more unique your gig is, the better. And it' best if your gig can be automated.
For instance, those converting photos to cartoon characters do that with a software in less than 5minutes, which means they can literally complete over 72 jobs in 6 hours,

making them $360 in total (assuming they get that amount of orders) but with a more technical skill on UpWork, you could make over $1,200 on a single job.


Set up your profile thoroughly as it will determine if you will get hired. To have a good profile, you need to use a high-resolution profile photo coupled with your name and a great description.

Your service description/cover letter is like your sales letter.
This is where you should input your sales pitches.

You should really ensure you take your time to compose a good sales letter that tells freelance buyers the various reasons why they should work with you.

I mean, why should they hire you? Could it be due to your expertise? Work experience? Incentives? Fast delivery? Customer satisfaction?

Why exactly? State them on your profile! The better your profile is, the higher chances you get at winning jobs.


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Financial Education 101: Getting familiar with how money works.

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Financial Education 101

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Remember that portfolio I mentioned earlier? This is where you can get to utilize it. Just as you described your services on your profile, you should also take your time to decorate your profile with your portfolio.

Here's how to set yourself up for a successful freelance career. If you can, I seriously recommend that you do a brief video describing your services for your profile.

This doesn't have to be some 8k quality video but having a video of you describing what you do while smiling and making potential clients feel assured, can go a long way in winning you great projects.

Videos are simply more welcoming and it could just be a selfie video or a webcam video. You should also know what the profiles of successful freelancers have in common.


Finally, you should try as much as to gain some recommendations on your profile. On PeoplePerHour, this recommendation comes in form of endorsements but on platforms like Fiverr,

you only need to get some reviews on your profile and the easiest way of getting such profile ranking is to invite your friends to create an account (or make a deal with those already on the platform),

buy your gig/services and give you a 5-star review. 
This hack is not the best option but quite necessary since clients are always sceptical of awarding jobs to new freelancers.

On whatever platform you decide to freelance on, if you look closely, you will certainly observe that there are 7 major qualities of a great freelance profile fully utilized by the successful experts there and you should probably apply the same principles to yours.

Once you have a good profile set up, some reasonable reviews and you bid for the right jobs, starting your freelance career will be a lot easier.

Also, you should note that not all clients are worth working with. In fact, the 80/20 rule actually applies to freelance clients too.

This means most of your great projects will come from only about 20 percent of your clients. This is why I always do after sales follow up.

Even after completing a great project, I still keep in touch with my clients which helps me automatically gain their future projects.

A good client has a clear vision of his project, lays out his goals, pays on time, and is always available for easy communication.

Here's are more detailed tips on how to successfully set yourself up as a freelancer on Guru, UpWork, PeoplePerHour, JobDone, FreeeUp, Fiverr etc.

Conclusion
There are so many unserious freelance buyers online that will just end up wasting your time and it's important to note that some clients are out there to ruin your career with bad reviews.
Well, with time, you will have to learn how to spot the difference between the quality clients and the unserious ones but for the main time,

you should try as much as possible to do a quality job and deliver on time to avoid bad reviews,

and if a customer is unsatisfied with your services, it's best you offer a refund (this will remove the bad review).

Losing your fee for a bad job is better than losing hundreds of potential new jobs. With my tips in this brief freelance guide,

I believe I have laid out the foundation of freelancing for the absolute beginner and starting your freelance career will now be a lot easier. Stay tuned to Ghavoch to learn more of how to grow your freelance career.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

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