As a freelance writer who has taken on gigs since 2017, I have since written for magazines, blogs and even done fiction writing in the form of story commissions. As such, I have accumulated lots of valuable experience when it comes to finding gigs, marketing myself, pricing my work, and scheduling my time.
Hence, I’d like to share my tips with you in this article! If you’re someone who’s plenty to dip their toes into the freelancing industry, this article is for you!
1. Find the right platform for your gig
There are various platforms out there on which you can offer your services! However, knowing which platform is best for you will take some research. To find your buyers, you simply have to head straight to where they will most likely be.
For example, if you’re an artist, uploading your art on Tumblr and Instagram would be natural to as your target demographics would likely stumble upon your art there. From there, you can make a note in your biography stating that you’re available for commissions.
Generally, people just starting freelancing will use Fiverr, Upwork, etc. This saves you the trouble of marketing yourself as you don’t have to generate traffic to your site. You can simply take advantage of the client base using these freelancing platforms and finding people to take on their gigs.
I find my work from Reddit and also make sure to leave my email on writer forums so that anyone looking for a writer can contact me there!
2. Know how to market yourself
However, if you’re in this for the long game, it is essential to know how to market yourself. This would start with creating a website with a unique domain name. The purpose is to showcase your work and let your site serve as a portfolio while projecting the image you want your clients to see.
Even if you don’t have your own site up yet, it’s still important to have a portfolio. Whether you’re a writer, photographer, or graphic designer, you should always upload your work onto Google Drive and send your prospective clients the link at the minimum! This is what I do.
Also, when you approach your customers, you should strive to tailor your reply to their needs when you pitch your services to them. This will set you apart from the other freelancers who send a generic template to every client without explaining what they can do and why they are the best fit!
3. Price yourself competitively
Because the barriers to entry for freelance work are so low, anyone with an Internet connection can message another person and offer their services to them. However, this does not always mean they can provide high-quality work!
Still, just knowing you many competitors in the industry can make you tempted to work for really low rates. It’s even more daunting when you see freelancers from developing countries offering meagre prices since the currency exchange rate will work out in their favour.
I used to take on any project at the beginning of my freelance writing career, regardless of how poorly it paid, because I was excited to get any amount of work. However, by doing so, I was depriving myself of the time I could have spent finding the right clients that valued my work enough to pay me well.
So, remember that your time and effort deserve fair compensation! If you price yourself lowly, it will also send a message that you believe your work isn’t worth paying much for. At the end of the day, do your best to avoid clients who lowball, and stick to those who respect the work you do!
4. Beware of burning out
Burnout is a very real phenomenon for freelancers. We must find our clients, communicate with them, finish the work, and then handle the payment all by ourselves! This one-man show can be tiring to keep up. It can even become hard to draw lines between your work life and your personal life since clients may contact you at all hours of the day.
My suggestion is to stick to a schedule you’ve set for yourself. You should also factor in other things you’d like to do, such as hanging out with your friends or watching that K-drama series you’ve yet to finish.
Strive to be aware of your limits so that you don’t end up compromising on the quality of your work in an attempt to stay productive when you’re no longer in your best state! While I tend to push myself as well, I always make sure to take breaks on the weekends.
While freelancing can be a very rewarding career that grants you freedom from stuffy offices and potentially overbearing bosses, it may not be for everyone! There’s a degree of risk and luck involved, after all.
Still, I encourage you to give freelancing a shot before your time at university ends! Even if you choose to take on a full-time job upon graduation, freelancing can still look good on your résumé. Not to mention, it’s a great way to learn and improve your skills when you get feedback from clients!