Many people have asked me if they fit the role of a freelancer. Every day I receive hundreds of requests and emails about people asking me to help with their freelancing career. Yes starting a freelancing career is easy but you must have the following:
I have put skill last because even if someone doesn’t have a skill, (I have experienced this with some freelancers) and he wants to learn, grow and can stay committed to his success he will eventually learn an in demand skill and offer his freelancing services.
However, if you are not willing to grow, you do not want to have enough money to enjoy the luxuries of life, you do not wish to be successful then freelancing is not for you. Willing to grow does not mean you sit back and keep wishing. It means you are open to learning, you can put in the effort, you can do the work consistently and wait patiently when there are no obvious results in the start.
When I first created my profile, I dint get the job the very first day. I would login every day, skim through jobs, test different methods and apply expert tips to craft proposals but nothing would happen. I would stay up all night refreshing my screen to see if there was any message or job for me. It took me 2 weeks to finally land on a job which was worth $3 only. It was a low paid job, there was too much work and I was being paid too low but I did not complain. I did not give up on freelancing. I kept working, each day I learned, each day I grew. Eventually I started getting better, I got better contracts, I sustained my clients.
And today I have a LLLC registered in the U.S. with hundreds of successful projects. I did not have any skill else than writing but I developed my skills. I learned all sorts of writing that is done on the internet. We studied and analyzed web development process and started getting those jobs, adding those resources. Why?
Because we were committed to success and our growth
If you have the willingness and the commitment, you can learn a skill.
Pakistan is the top fourth country after India, Bangladesh and United States in the freelancing community. According to a recent survey, Pakistan accounts for 9% of the total freelancers in the world which will increase with time as more awareness about the industry and skills is spread.
Before you start your career, it is critical to identify your aspirations and your skills. If you must work for yourself, you better work on something that you love.
Choose something that you are actually passionate about and that you can do for an infinite time. If you choose something that you don’t love, you will hardly have enough motivation in the start or tough times of your career.
Freelancing is not limited to online work only, people can be freelance interior designers, wedding planners, lawn mowers or anything they wish to be. But here we will talk about remote freelancing. Below are some skills that you can start your freelance career with:
Writing is the painting of mind, and if you are good at painting ideas, scenes, situations or anything then you are in luck because freelance writing is one of the most trending things on internet right now. All you need is to be dedicated and skilled i.e. you should apply data driven approach, good skills in conveying your thoughts through writing and also have a clear idea how to use the tools for writing. Also decide which kind of writing you can do, find your niche and excel in particularly that. Instead of being a jack of all trades you should try to become a master of one so that you develop expertise in your niche and build relevant portfolio. And there are bunch of writing jobs e.g. Article writing, Magazines/Newspapers, Blogging, Social Media Content, Editing and many more forms.
When you take a photo you are not photographing, you are building and emotion, you are making person believe something from another angle. Photography is an impression of person’s illusions, and if you find right match for the taste of your photography skills you might be earning a handsome amount online and yes that is freelance Photography. You can even fulfill your desire to travel across the world with this profession. There is a wide range of types like Fashion photography, wildlife photography, pet photography, action photography and many more. Know your photography skills, choose your category and do your best, enjoy pressing capture button and you are good to go with this profession.
Blogging is one of the job that demands uniqueness of the blogger’s choices about the content blogger publishes and also blogger’s consistency. There are no leaves from your work. A blogger should know how to increase the traffic. All you need is to get ideas from your audience, and be patient towards your audience, love our readers, and build an excellent readership and most important thing is building an email list. If you can fulfill all requirements easily then you are best to go with this profession on freelancing site. Because blogging is a sort of modern communication that internet provides us. Freelance bloggers are in demand over many freelancing sites. Companies of all sorts need qualified bloggers to promote their products and services like brands, Celebrities, News channels and even individuals.
Nowadays when we come across the term freelancing, the most common answer is, freelancing as web designer. To be the best web designer on freelancer site you need to mind few things like, be a socially active person, should have a website of your own, a portfolio and yes you should choose your clients on the site very wisely. Good communication and grip on English language are bonus for you. Moreover, your designs should be unique. The designs should be user friendly and to the latest trends. From color scheme to the pattern of the elements sown on design matter a lot and present your skills. On a serious note if you want to make yourself a brand then it’s a gradual process and you need be calm.
Every Individual, organization from small to the higher levels needs a website for their brand. And diversity in the business leads people desire diverse functionalities on their site. An increase in appetite of new features has stabilized the web development profession in demand. Freelancing as web developer is a well-paying career as well as you can enjoy the freedom of remote work. Web development has many languages and platforms like Ruby, Php, Laravel, python and Word Press etc. So if you are a web developer or interested in web development you better hit the track of freelancing as web developer.
Imagine someone is wearing a wrist watch but not familiar with the time zone and other terms like AM, PM as well. But anyhow he/she bought that watch. What you do is to just see time from his/her watch and tell them the time. Freelance consultants are exactly like that. You just have to look at their scenarios. Their weaknesses and the tips they need to boost their businesses. Consultants need an in depth industry knowledge as well as the right tools and trends in any niche. If you are an expert in let’s say ecommerce sales, you can be a consultant for similar businesses. Whatever you are skilled at, you can become a consultant for businesses that need expert services to grow in that area.
Video marketing is catching fire. Every brand on the internet now realizes the power of good video ads as compared to textual and image based content. Carefully edited videos can boost conversions for businesses in no time. If you have good video editing skills and have a grasp on the tools then you should build a strong portfolio and start looking for work doing what you love.
Got no skills? Get the profile on freelancing site as data entry typist. The best kick start on the site is as data entry. The ratio of data entry jobs on the freelance sites is very much significant than other jobs. People as data entry typist can easily start their profile from zero to a highly paid profile. The job is very simple yet needs lot of time. A dedicated person can earn easily from this site. Filling in product pages, researching, creating email lists and so on. Once you start doing this work, you will gain experience as you do more jobs and build a better career.
Businesses often need assistants to run daily tasks and manage operations, however the salary for a full-time assistant in developed countries is way high so these companies look for remote freelancers with good grasp of the English language and efficient management skills so that they can route their tasks to them and focus on other important things. A virtual assistant can do many tasks like research, lead generation, project management, data entry, typing, transcriptions, and social media management and so on.
This is much awaited section I know I know You want to instantly jump to finding jobs for yourself, but it was important to know your skill set and niche before you jump into bidding for jobs. Now that you have figured out what you are good at and what you can sell, we can go ahead and talk about where to get freelance work.
In the section above I mentioned 20 different freelancing platforms where you can find jobs. Go to each of them, create your profile, upload your portfolio, create a nice bio, and start looking for jobs. Search job boards carefully and filter the jobs that match your skill set, career level, and budget. Skim through the lists and save jobs that you should apply to. Take your time with each job before you place your bid and understand the problem the client is facing and how you can address it.
Contact your friends and family to let them know about your freelancing career and ask them if they or someone in their circle needs your service. You can offer them special discounts as well. Do not be too pushy rather send a friendly reminder to everyone letting them know about your work and skills so if anyone needs a job done, they can route it to you.
Build an email list of potential clients using online research tools and reach out in a friendly yet professional manner to these people. When you write the email, do not make it about you. Rather, focus on developing an urge in them to use your services. For instance, you are a video animator and you see a local brand on social media with good reach but no video ads or campaigns. Reach out to them, educate them about the importance of video content, how it engages their users and is a great way to build personal connection with the customers. Then show them a relevant sample that would get them interested and pitch them your service. Be clear about what is included, what will you charge and how long will it take as well as how it will benefit their business.
Your profile is the most important asset you will build as a freelancer so take your time with it. Different freelancing platforms will have different areas for profile overview and bio section but the methodology stays the same. This is the place where you have to create a simple yet engaging introduction of yourself. Some important things to consider while creating your overview are:
Here’s a complete video about Crafting a Killing Overview on Upwork
It’s common for people to be skilled at more than one thing. For example a person can write articles as well as create logos, or someone can do WordPress as well as front end development, but he should pick one thing as his niche. One important thing to pick your niche as a freelancer is your passion. If you are passionate about design, means you will put your heart to learn new techniques and add extra effort to create splendid designs. Don’t think about every skill that you can do, only choose that skill as your niche which you are 100% good at. Take that as your niche, Expert Logo Designer, use it in your overview as a focus keyword.
For example, use it in the start of your bio, use it in the start of second paragraph and use it at the end.
This doesn’t mean you cannot add other skills, you can add any amount of skills at the end in a section saying
Skills offered, or Services Offered, or What Can I do For You?
Should look something like this Services offered:
As an agency, we have an in-house team of handpicked individuals in the following areas:
Here you can add as many as skills as you like. But your niche should be the work that you love to do and want to do forever.
The second step to writing a great bio or overview is listing your experience in a specific manner. If you have served as a graphic designer for food companies then make sure to put context to it. If your core is building logos and corporate branding then list it and emphasize on your role in it. For instance I have been translating brand needs into logos and corporate identity since past 5 years. It gives me immense pleasure when feelings and ideas are put to tangible forms and the clients actually love what they see.
List down your experience relating your personal growth and role so that companies and individuals can pick you as per your specialty
While writing your overview, never make it about yourself. This might surprise you
How do I introduce myself without making it about me? It is about you, but don’t sound selfish in your approach. The meaning will stay the same but use words wisely so that your bio looks more of a solution to the problems of your ideal customer rather than how amazing you are.
Instead of saying I am an expert graphic designer, you should say, “You need an expert graphic designer to create engaging designs that can hook your audience” Just by changing the words, you have made it important for the client to consider your experience as a solution to their problem. They want to hook their audience, it is their problem. You tell them that engaging designs (your service) by an expert designer are the answer to their problem.
By developing the you approach, you will be able to get the client thinking about themselves and their problems. When someone reads or sees about his problem, rather than your skill, he is more willing to continue reading and hire the person because his problem is identified and addressed in the bio.
This is an important point in human psychology and communication; you can read more about you approach here.
After introducing yourself and explaining the experience in the light of client problems, you need to include best of your portfolio samples. You don’t have to make a long list, rather only top 3 best of your work should be enough to give the client an idea of the quality. While including links, make sure that:
you only include the best of your work after considerable editing
Apart from adding few links to the overview, you should also upload portfolio files in the profile in the relevant section. Upwork and other freelancing websites have specific sections for portfolio. When uploading an item, make sure to put context and include details such as
Since you chose one skill as your niche, here you have the opportunity to list other skills that you have. It is always best to list skills that are relevant to your core. For example if your core is graphic design then you should list relevant skills for instance, brochure design, logo design, stationary design, corporate identity etc.
Don’t add random skills e.g. writing, web design, HTML, WordPress. Only add those skills that you are actually proficient at.
One important factor while adding skills is the supply and demand. There are some common skills that have a surplus supply and are therefore not needed. These could be Microsoft word, typing, data entry, Microsoft Excel. These are considered must haves but not something that can count as a needed skill because every other person has these skills.
Choose skills that can set you apart. For instance shopify is an in-demand skill, learn it, add it. You can find more in-demand skills for Upwork in this video.
The focus is to add skills that are high in demand but low in supply. Different platforms have different sections and methods to add skills but the strategy is the same.
For further help, download freelancer profile overview samples and edit them to suit yourself. Please do not use them as is as each of you has a different experience. Edit them to add your personality and reflect your experience.
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