At this point in my life, I basically freelance full time. I also have a retail job (yay Lululemon) and a job working the front desk at a local barre studio (yay Barre3), but my main source of income is from freelancing jobs as a social media manager and blogger. Freelancing is something you can choose to do full time or you can use it as a side hustle. The beauty of it is you are able to choose what jobs you take on and how much time you devote to your freelancing ways. Right now, I have four clients and I would say they take up about 25ish (sometimes more) hours of my week. I am still taking on and looking for more clients (so if you need social media help, hit me up) and have started testing out ways to automate different parts of the job I do for each client to free up a little bit more of my time. Once I get a perfect system worked out there, I will let you in on all the tools I use (and the tools I don’t).
But in this post I wanted to take the time to help you get your freelance on!
First (and most importantly), you need to figure out what you are good at/enjoy doing. Are you great with social media? Do you have a knack for graphic design? Do you write great blogs? Can you create a working ebay or shopify store? Think about your skills and what you wouldn’t hate doing every day. If you are a great writer but hate writing, maybe don’t try to freelance based on that skill. If this is going to work for you, you have to enjoy it.
Once you have an idea of what skill/services you can provide, you need to figure out how much they are worth. This is where Google comes in handy!! See what people offering your service are charging and what people looking for your service are willing to pay. Price can get tricky because at the end of the day, this is your time we are talking about. You can absolutely never get it back, so don’t sell yourself short. I think when you are starting out, it is definitely okay to charge a little less as you gain experience and a client base, but set your limits on how little you will accept and stick to them.
Decide how much time you can give to your clients. If you only have an extra 5 hours a week and want to do some side hustling as a social media manager, don’t take on a ton of clients that you can’t really give your time to. I know that seems like common sense, but when you start looking for work, it is hard to remember how much time you actually have to give. Figure it out before you start your search. Really look at how much the clients you find need and then seriously ask yourself if you have the time to give it to them.
Get the necessary tools of your trade. Don’t hire yourself out as a photo editor if you don’t own a single photo editing software. All I needed to start my freelancing work was my cell phone and my laptop. Depending on what you decide to offer, you might need more than those things. Make sure you have what you need, but also don’t go crazy with buying gadgets and software and supplies before you start to gain clients. Get the bare minimum of what you need and then add to it once you have some money coming in from your work.
Make your intentions known!! If you have social media, make a post about what services you offer. Encourage your friends and family to share your post or at least let them know what type of work you are looking for so they can pass things your way. I know it can feel weird and embarrassing to put yourself out there in this way. It was one of the things I look forward to doing the absolute least. Buuuut it actually helped me get a client that I am so excited to be working with, so I’m thankful that I put my freelance status out into the world.
Start looking for work. There are so many ways to try and find work. For my social media business I literally message small businesses on facebook and offer my services to them. It feels weird at first, but it has actually helped me gain clients and make connections I never would have made if I had just waited for work to come to me. I also use UpWork to find work! Their platform allows you to search for the exact type of job you want and how much you want to get paid for it. Fiverr is similar to this. To be honest, I haven’t had any luck on Fiverr and would recommend UpWork over it any day, but maybe it will work for you! You can also look for jobs on Indeed or Linkedin.
Once you start getting some leads, offer to send proposals! This not only helps you get a good idea of the scope of work and the time it will take you, but it gives potential clients a better understanding of you and your services. It is also hella professional. I use Canva (it’s free) to make my proposals.
Don’t expect a yes from every proposal you send out. I would highly suggest taking the time to understand why a client said no. Were your prices too high? Were you not offering what they needed? Whatever it is, do your best to learn from it.
I hope these tips help you land your first freelancing gig! If you need more help or advice, please reach out to me! This is uncharted territory and it can feel really lonely at first, but I am definitely here if you have questions or just need someone to vent to.
Also, check out my top books for personal growth as you travel along this freelance journey! http://classyandconfused.com/2019/11/09/my-top-6-books-for-personal-growth/
Always Classy & Confused,