A freelance career can be so rewarding, but getting started is hard! About 1.5 years ago, I quit my full-time marketing job to go freelance. There are a few things I did that really boosted my new career and a few I wish I’d done earlier, but lucky you, you’re getting all the goods right now! Whether you’re considering freelancing, in the side hustle stage, or already have your own freelance biz, you’ll learn the exact 5 things I did that launched my successful freelance career.
Whether you have a side hustle or your own freelance biz, you’ll learn the exact 5 things I did to… Click To Tweet
The very first thing you should do when you’re thinking about a freelance career is try it out. This is why the side hustle is so trendy. It is so smart to side hustle before you go full time. I know how it is when you’ve seen the warning signs and know you need to change careers. You’re probably tired of waiting, but the more you get your side hustle down, the better.
To dip your toes in the waters of freelancing, start by taking on a number of projects that interest you. I started by writing for a makeup blog, a kid’s birthday party business, and a really cool magazine. By taking on a variety of projects, you’ll learn what you really like to do and be able to cut out projects that you don’t like.
Once you’ve learned what projects you really like to work on, turn your attention toward finding more of those projects. As you increase your experience, you’ll be able to show that you’re an expert in that area. When you freelance, it’s so much easier to get a job when you’ve done something just like it.
I started working with magazine, startups, and women entrepreneurs and after about 6-8 months decided that I preferred to work with women who started their own online businesses. I used similar experiences I already had with female entrepreneurs to get more gigs that I loved.
So your freelance business is growing slow and steady. It’s time to seal the deal. Having your own website is essential in the online space. It is your calling card. It’s a place where you can showcase a portfolio of your work and amazing testimonials you’ve gotten (even from past clients or bosses when you were in corporate).
Get your own website as soon as you can and make sure that it looks professional. People visiting your site should be able to understand what it is you do in 5 seconds or less. You don’t need to be a techie to create a website. Buy a domain and get hosting (yes, this is necessary) and find a theme or platform that’s easy to manage. I recommend WordPress.
I think the single hardest part about having a freelance career is getting clients. There are more than enough opportunities out there, you just have to find them. You’ll probably start by finding your clients in one space whether it’s through the contacts you have or from a freelancing board. As you continue freelancing, it’s a good idea to branch out and find more areas where you’ll be able to find clients.
So how do you do this? Think like your ideal client. Where do they prefer to be online? Are they in Facebook groups or Twitter chats? What would they do if they needed a freelancer? Where would they go to find one? If you really want to answer these questions, you’ll ask someone who is your ideal client.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it’s important that you make plans to get out of your home office and meet people. I land on the introverted end of the spectrum. Weeks can pass by before I realize that I really need face-to-face interactions with other people. For extroverts, getting out is crucial.
My favorite way to solve this problem is finding a meetup/networking group. I found a network of young professional women in my area that meet for a monthly lunch and I love it. You might also want to look into ways you can make new friends outside of your office. Whatever way you decide to do it, you’ve got to get out for the sake of your mental health.
What are you considering for a freelance career? Share what you do in the comments below.