12 Steps To Make Money Online With Freelancing For Beginners
1. Pick a Niche :
If your goal is to start freelancing, you may feel ready to take on any paid job at Fiverr or Upwork. But as you delve deeper into your freelance career, you’ll need to begin to be more strategic about the types of work you do and the clients you do.
You may be thinking: How can choosing my freelance work help me earn more money?
When you specialize in a set of skills, you become an expert in a particular field and experts may charge more for their specialized services (Upwork and Fiverr also have specialized and professional categories).
In my opinion, the age-old debate about whether you should be an expert or a generalist (opens in a new tab) when starting your freelance career isn’t worth thinking twice about.
If you are a potential customer and need someone to fix your email marketing so that people actually sign up, write ads that encourage people to buy, or simply update your old website, would you rather hire someone who has a socket for all trades? Someone who is an expert at doing something and doing it well? I will choose the expert every time.
In my own experience, choosing to specialize as a content marketing consultant rather than a general digital marketer was the best decision I’ve ever made for my freelance business.
I have been able to come to the top of my niche in a relatively short amount of time, as I have built a solid reputation among clients as a talented content marketer over the past few years and get involved a lot in content marketing content across various social media channels. your time. Along with my blog and existing customer referrals, the next most consistent source for new business owners seeking personalized expert help, came through Google and social search.
To extend this example to other areas, imagine you’re just starting out as a web developer – you might end up in a niche like moving blogging to WordPress. This means that when someone searches for “help migrate a blog to WordPress” they will be able to find you. This also applies to graphic designers: you can design graphics specifically for WordPress.
If you pick the right niche, the decision to major and put some effort into promoting yourself as an expert in your field can really pay off for years to come.
2. Be Clear About Your Service Offerings :
An important decision that you need to make early in your freelance career is what to do and what not to do.
The more specific you are about the services you provide, the better. Not only will it help your brand, it will allow you to control how potential customers perceive you, and it will give you the opportunity to continue building your portfolio in the direction you want to move forward.
If you want to focus on being an in-demand and high-paid Ruby on Rails developer, you shouldn’t even consider contract offers for customizing WordPress themes or designing the user experience of an upcoming app.
While the short-term benefits of regular work are tempting (and sometimes necessary), doing projects that don’t bring you closer to your ultimate goal of being the best in your field will only distract and delay you from making meaningful progress.
3. Define What Your Ideal Client Looks Like :
Before you go out and start looking for clients, you need to develop a clear picture of who you will work with best. Do you want to build websites for small business owners, make a name for yourself by blogging as a professional blogger, work as a copywriter, get into developing new features for high-growth tech startups, or enter into long-term contracts with enterprise-size companies? ? Comp? Or you may want to work specifically with brands and customers who have values that align with yours.
Making these clear distinctions between who you target and the type of business will be critical to effectively delivering your services.
To determine exactly who your ideal freelance client should be (and how to start finding them), ask yourself these questions:
What kind of work do I have problems that I solve with my services?
Can the business I want to work in employ me?
What demographic trends can I identify about decision makers in the types of businesses I target? Think: age, gender, geographic location, favorite locations, and personal interests.
Knowing that I would be more interactive and productive with smaller startup teams working on projects I could relate to personally, I chose to proactively narrow down my lead. By working with similar start-up teams, new potential clients I target in my niche can contact me immediately and have the confidence that I can replicate my results for their business as well.
4. Create a High Quality Portfolio Site :
Needless to say, one of the best ways to show off your technical skills is to have your own awesome portfolio site (opens in a new tab). If you want to be taken seriously as a new freelancer, you will need a website:
Displays your expertise.
It highlights relevant past experiences.
It shows who you are.
It includes your contact information so potential clients can find you easily.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience or references to prove that you know your job, an excellent portfolio of business can really help you. (Read more about it here: 11 Highly Paying Technology Jobs—No Experience Required.)
The purpose of your portfolio is to educate potential clients, spark interest, and convince them that they want to choose you for their technical needs. That’s why before you start looking for new projects, it pays to take the time to decide what to include in your portfolio and how to view it.
Once your portfolio site is ready, start adding a link to the site in your email signature and social profiles.
5. Start Freelancing Before Your Quit Your Day Job :
I’m a big fan of starting a freelance business while keeping your day job (or working part-time) instead of being self-employed right away.
In addition to the fact that building a quality portfolio website, building your personal brand, and adding to your portfolio naturally takes a lot of time, it’s a good idea to have a few stable freelancers on your staff before you undermine your base. source of income.
Depending on your risk tolerance, I recommend increasing your additional income to at least 50-75% of your current gross income before leaving your full-time job.
Managing a tight schedule, a heavy workload (including projects that require self-employment), and being responsible for delivering clients with limited time resources will teach you what it’s like to run your own business.
Another great benefit of getting freelance clients while still working full time is that you can be selective. You probably don’t need the money at all. This puts you in a position to either turn down jobs that don’t pay you enough to justify investing time or that you don’t really care about.
These are the two points you should keep in mind when it comes to whether you want to be happy when you start freelancing full time.
6. Level Up Your Skills :
Best way to justify higher hourly wages? Make sure you have great skills that are in high demand.
Practice using your new skills by creating the kinds of projects you eventually want to get paid to work on. Be it WordPress websites, mobile apps, graphic design, copywriting, etc. Be something else entirely, the more you can differentiate yourself in a sea of competition with great side projects and examples that will attract potential clients, the better.
And while highly educated freelancers can get a lot more money for their work, keep in mind that you don’t have to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree in computer science to get on the train. Taking online courses like the Skillcrush Front End Development course can put you on the right track and keep you accountable for your education.
Note – If you are looking to start or develop a career in technology, Skillcrush can help you get there! Our Break In Tech course is a comprehensive program designed to help tech novices start a new and fulfilling career.
7. Build Your Credibility :
There are many ways to build your credibility in your industry.
In addition to creating high-quality blog content and collaborating with prominent influencers in your field, you can write an e-book, create an online course, and organize conversational posts to start increasing your visibility in your niche.
You can also build your portfolio on freelance work platforms and websites, working for a slightly lower hourly wage to start and increasing as you gain more experience.
These credibility boosters can help you add to your list of accomplishments that you can highlight in your portfolio and prove you know for more potential clients to see at the same time. The more widely you broadcast your message, the more impact you will have in your niche.
8. Determine Your Pricing :
While deciding how much to pay for freelance services is an important step in determining your perceived value, you need to make sure you have enough money to live a sustainable and comfortable life.
Most clients will not hesitate to pay higher fees for a freelancer who makes an amazing first impression and sells for the ability to deliver quality results.
As long as I continue to provide consistent value (exceeding their expectations) to my clients, I have no problem setting and maintaining high prices for my services.
Before determining the minimum rate you should charge for your financial needs, consider the true value you will create for your potential customers and make sure you don’t leave money on the table.
You can always increase your prices in the future and hope your customer will stay on board, but if you start at a price point that you are already excited about, you are more likely to oversupply and continue to increase the value. additional.
9. Leverage Your Network for Introductions :
One of the most effective ways to find better quality, better pay freelance work is to take advantage of your existing networks. Whether it’s referring good friends and former colleagues for freelance help, or using their connections to offer hot promotions to companies you want to work with, this is a great alternative to cold calling with potential clients.
Whenever I find a freelance opportunity that I would like to pursue on Angel.co (opens in new tab), CloudPeeps (opens in new tab), or anywhere else, I give myself 10-15 minutes to research the company, and find my ideal niche And do some homework about whether I have a cross-contact on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook before communicating with a cold email.
If I had a reciprocal connection, I would reach out to my friend (only if I was really friends with him) and ask if it would be OK to send an introductory email on my behalf.
This approach, where my first impression is backed by a recommendation from someone my potential client already knows, has consistently earned me higher response and close rates.
10. Perfect Your Pitching :
There is the art and science of offering your freelance services to new clients.
Gaining new clients is not just about crafting a great offer for freelance work. Your success depends on how you choose new jobs, how you set up your value proposition, and how much research you do beforehand.
I gained new business because I obviously spent more time and effort researching the company, identifying their needs, and providing tremendous value introduction in the form of comprehensive recommendations before even discussing payment. In the world of freelancing, much of your success (and your ability to make money online) depends on the strength of your relationships with clients and how well you are able to form meaningful partnerships.
11. Blog Frequently :
The purpose of having a website that showcases your skills is to attract and convert new customers. What better way than creating quality blog content that positions you as a leading expert in your field?
First of all, aim to create one or two detailed blog posts per month to provide really helpful solutions that your potential customers might be looking for. Note: This means that you are writing for an audience of your clients, not for others in your industry.
Once they discover your content and get some free value from you, you will naturally be on their mind if they are willing to hire for more in-depth help.
I started most of the freelance contracts I signed last year by mentioning a company in a successful blog post on my website. After posting my in-depth post about the best side business ideas (it opens in a new tab), I spent a lot of time reaching out and asking if I had cited a handpicked person in every online brand or tool I referenced. correct in the article.
The majority wrote to agree or make a recommendation, which gave me the opportunity to make a guest post, ask them to share my content with their audience on social media, or open the door for potential marketing engagement.
My blog has become by far the highest paying marketing channel for my freelance business.
12. Guest Post on Relevant Industry Blogs & Publications :
When you have a website that showcases your talents and clearly advertises that you offer freelance services, one of the most effective ways to increase your online visibility is to publish content on blogs and publications where your potential customers spend the most time.
Marketing expert and consultant Neil Patel posts frequently (opens in a new tab) about the big contracts he makes for his company, and posts more than 100 guest posts annually.
While you’ll start out on a much smaller scale, don’t underestimate the direct benefit of having your content appear on blogs and posts that can attract hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to your website.
In less than a year, I’ve been able to create extremely high-quality content and leverage my sales speaking skills to post my posts on Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider, HubSpot, and dozens of others. This increased visibility has had a direct and positive impact on my work.