Do you want to spend the next 40 years sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, earning a pittance? Or would you rather have the freedom to choose your own hours. work from anywhere in the world and make a lot more money?
Does the second one sound better? Well here’s what you need to do:
Start your own freelance business
Starting your own freelance business is, for most people, the easiest first step on the road to financial freedom. The premise is simple:
- Sell your skills and services direct to other people or companies.
- Get paid
It’s really no more complicated than that, but here’s a step-by-step process for getting started in your own freelance business.
Decide what skills to freelance
The first step to starting your own freelance business is, of course, deciding what skills and services you’re going to sell. It’s possible to build a freelance business around pretty much any skill you can think of. Some will be more in demand than others, but let’s start with what you have.
So what are you good at? What skills do you currently have?
Can you write? Can you code? Are you a whiz with WordPress or excellent at Excel? Make a list of all the things you’re good at. If you’re stuck for ideas, think about things that people ask your advice on – that suggests you may have some expertise in the area.
Pick one or two.
You might want to experiment and see what works for you. What sort of work do you enjoy most? But the end game here is to become an expert in one particular area. Try to narrow it down as quickly as possible.
Don’t have a skill? So get some…
You may feel that you don’t currently have any sell-able skills. It’s probably not true but, if that’s where you’re at, here’s two options.
First check out this article by Bryan Harris of VideoFruit. The principle is this: Find an in depth tutorial or How To article. Read and digest it. Now you instantly know how to solve a problem for someone.
Next reach out to people who might be interested in paying you to provide that service. Reach out to enough people and some will buy – now you’re freelancing. Rinse and repeat.
The second option for getting started, or if you feel that you need to level up your skills is to go learn.
Where to learn sell-able skills
Check out any of these websites to find a ton of courses.
Take a course, or two or three. Do the exercises, practice, and now you have a skill. Remember, you don’t have to be an expert at this stage; you just have to know enough to get the job done, and that’s what your prospective clients are looking for.
Set up your stall
An important foundation of your freelance business is your online presence. You might initially get some work from people who already know, like and trust you but, for everyone else, you need to establish some credibility. A simple portfolio website will do the job. Here’s how to make one.
Build a portfolio website
- Get some web-hosting – it starts at around $4 a month
- Install WordPress – takes just a few minutes and a couple of clicks
- Install a theme – keep it simple. Do NOT spend too much time on this.
Once you have WordPress up and running, it’s time to create a few pages.
Again, keep it simple. You don’t need a huge, complicated website with fancy graphics and 100 blog posts. you just need a few pages to explain who you are and show that you know what you’re doing. Here’s what you need.
- Home Page – just say who you are and what you offer. Focus on the benefits that you can offer your clients
- About Page – offer some personal details, but not too much. List any relevant skills and experience. Be sure to include a picture of yourself, looking directly at the camera and smiling!
- Portfolio Page – somewhere to show off your work. Put some examples* right on the page and include links to places on the web where your work can be found
* If you don’t yet have any, you’ll need to create some. Do some example pieces, do some free work for friends and family. Just find a way to show off your skills
- Services Page – what you’re offering and, if appropriate, what your rates are.
- Contact Page – a simple contact form will do. Include your email address as well, and phone number if you wish.
That’s it! Just make it easy for people to see who you are and what you do, and make it easy for them to contact you. Job done.
Where to sell your services
Having a skill is necessary, of course, but until you get out in front of people and offer it as a service, no one is going to buy – duh! There are two ways to go with this.
1 – Freelance Marketplaces
There are many websites that act as a marketplace between freelancers and people looking to outsource work. Check out these for starters:
You might want to try out all of them to see which works best for you. Be aware though, that the hardest part is getting your first few clients; you’ll have no reviews and no work history when you start.
Once you get a foothold somewhere, concentrate on that one site. As you build your reputation it will become easier to get work in the future.
2 – Go direct
Reach out directly to people by email, phone, or even in person. DON’T send generic emails! Take your time to do the research and focus on the benefits that your service would provide to that particular person or business.
If you have contacts, people with whom you already have credibility, use them first and you’re likely to find work faster. Start networking; expand the group of people who know, like and trust you with the idea that you may be able to help them in future.
Making more money
The idea of becoming a freelancer does not mean that you spend the rest of your life working for $3 an hour on Upwork, or even $10 or £20. The idea is to build this as a business. The way you earn more money is by becoming an expert.
Concentrate on one skill that you have, one service you can provide. Practice. Learn everything you can and get really good at it.
When you become an expert you’ll be in the enviable position of being able to charge a lot more money and, when you’re recognized as an expert, people will come looking for you, wanting you to work for them and happy to pay your higher prices.
Where to next?
If you’ve reached expert level, are happy with your income and are still enjoying the work, you might not want to move on. But, if you want to create more free time, as opposed to just having the freedom to choose your own hours, here’s your next step.
Create a business where you’re no longer trading your time for money.
Sell products. Sell other people’s services; outsource the actual work. Teach others to do what you’re doing with an information product or online course. You have many options.
The beauty of building your own freelance business is the security it gives you. Even when you’ve moved on to the stage of creating a largely hands-free business, if you ever need some extra cash you can always go back to freelancing.
Once you have a skill you can always sell it, and in that you have the keys to both time freedom and financial security.
What you should do now
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