The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, a place where he tackles financial issues and simplifies them so that you don’t have to stress about your money. If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me.
Are you sick of your job? Do you finally want to break free and do something that you enjoy? Are you ready for a lifestyle change?
All my friends tell me about how they want to get into freelancing. They all want to be self-employed and set their own schedules. They want to be in control. Yet nobody actually does anything. They just keep on reading marketing blogs and discussing various random strategies.
Today isn’t about waiting around and making excuses. I want you to start freelancing at the end of this article.
How can you start freelancing?
First you need to fill in the blanks and figure out what exactly you can do for money. What service can you provide? What can you teach others to do?
I will help [target market] with [problem you will solve or service you provide] for [price].
For example, when I got into freelance writing, my blanks were filled in as such.
I will help established bloggers with freshening up their content/adding new content for price specified by both parties.
The beauty of freelancing is that you can negotiate your rate. You can turn down gigs, find new gigs, and switch whenever you want. It might be a bit more difficult at your current job to just walk in and negotiate your rate. There’s usually a budget and salary structure set in stone.
You need to fill in those blanks before we go further. If not, we look at idea generation below.
How do you find an idea?
We all think that we have no skills or ideas at first. Then when we think about it, we realize that have more than enough ideas/skills. Even being able to speak basic English is a talent.
How can you look for ideas?
- Think of your talents. What are you good at? Do you have strong time management skills? Are you fast? Are you a decent guitar player?
- Think of what you do all of the time. How do you spend your free time? What do you do on a Saturday morning?
- Think of something people are willing to pay for. Okay, so what would people pay for? If you can’t see yourself or any human being paying for it, then it’s likely not a good idea.
Hopefully you’ve found an idea from this brainstorming.
Some important tips on freelancing for rookies.
In this section I wanted to throw out my best tips on freelancing for rookies. These are tips that I wish I had picked up when I was first just getting started.
Please don’t spend your life savings on any one idea. It’s 2013. I don’t want to see you on Dragon’s Den crying to the investors about how you put your life savings into a pizza box.
Don’t worry about business cards. Please don’t rush into business cards. This isn’t about being flashy. It’s about making money.
Don’t wait for the perfect idea. It just doesn’t exist. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just keep it spinning!
Launch something right now. Please don’t wait. Get your service out there. Make it count. Give others something to talk about.
Now it’s time to find someone to pay you.
Where do you look for clients?
I’ve heard before that advertising is like sex and only losers pay for it. Don’t be a loser. Don’t start blowing your money on advertising.
Where can you find your first client?
- Referrals. Your current network is likely all you need for clients. You can ask around, let your friends know about your new service, and see where this takes you. Just please make sure you do a good job because someone is going to stick their neck out on the line for you.
- Facebook. Yes, Facebook is for more than stalking. I’ve seen many of my friends use Facebook to start freelancing/promoting services. I’ve seen it from tattoo services to guitar lessons. And guess what? It worked. Post up some samples of your work and let the word spread.
- Kijiji. I’ve used Kijiji for freelancing and real estate. I’ve found all of my tenants on here and it’s super easy to use. Just remember to be specific and try not to come across like a con artist.
Don’t ask me why, but after you get started, clients will just come to you and you won’t even remember how you found them.
Find a client.
Yes, that’s your first task. Don’t worry about anything else. See if your freelancing idea has any legs to stand on. If you can’t find a client right away, maybe you’re looking in the wrong place or offering the wrong service. Figure out which one it is and adjust accordingly.
Once you find a client, you can ask for a referral or use that same process to find clients all over again. The toughest part is always finding your first client.