Are you looking for a side hustle that could earn you money online? If yes, you might have come across freelancing as you typed “earn money online” on your search bar. Well, you are not alone!
What is freelance?
The word freelance was first used in a historical novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott which was published in 1820 and set in 12th century England. It was used to refer to a medieval mercenary who would fight for whoever or whichever nation that paid them the most. Freelance today means a person is self-employed and not attached to any single company while getting paid on a per-job or per-task basis. Freelancing today is made easier with the internet as freelancers can work in the comfort of their homes or anywhere while serving clients worldwide.
How much can you earn through freelancing?
There are a lot of factors that would affect average hourly rates for freelancers such as location, level of experience, industry, gender and ratings. Roughly the average hourly rates for freelancers ranges around $25 to $65 per hour. As a freelancer, you get to set your own rates with your clients to which you are given the freedom to put your price for what you are worth.
How to start?
As easy as it is for us to Google our way to start something, it is not as easy when it comes to application. It would take time for you to prepare yourself for freelancing especially when you have no experience, thus it is recommended for you to keep your 9-5 job first while starting your freelancing career. This also will help you to learn to manage your time wisely by juggling between tasks. If you are not employed yet? Great! More time for you to work on building your portfolio and gain as much experience as you could to build trust with your clients. So, what comes first?
1. Find your niche.
Freelance space is very wide and there are lots of available opportunities for you to get in. Sure getting in on any tasks offered on freelance sites such as Upwork or Fiverr sounds like a good plan, however, if you want to go for a long term freelance plan, it is better to find and choose your niche. Preferably something that resonates with you. For example, if you like going on social media, maybe you can go for social media marketing. If you love writing, maybe you can choose copywriting. No experience? No worries, we’ll get there.
The idea behind finding your niche is so that you can focus on the skill set that you have. You will get to improve and grow more experience as you specialize in a skill set, giving you a higher chance in getting clients compared to having your freelance tasks scattered all around. Not to mention, as your expertise grows, you’ll get to increase your rate as well!
2. Build a portfolio.
For those who have little to no experience, creating a portfolio is one way to go in your freelance career. As a start, you may do volunteer work for start-up companies or potential clients. It’s like marketing a product. You provide samples and let your potential customers try it first. The same strategy works for freelancing as you are marketing your skills instead of products. Have a website or page to compile all your works so you can showcase your skills to your clients. Make sure to provide your contact details on your portfolio page so it is easy for clients to get in touch with you.
3. Create a persona for your client(s).
Set your target client before you start marketing your skills out there. This will also help you to identify the specific service that you want to provide to your clients so you’d know better what you do and what you don’t do. Setting a persona doesn’t require you to reach personally to potential clients, instead, you only need to create a character of what your potential client might be. Ask yourself these questions as you create the persona of your clients:
- What type of business will require my skill set to solve their problems?
- What kind of problems would these clients be facing? How can I solve these problems with my skills?
- How much will I set my rate for this client? Will they be able to pay me for the rate I offer?
- Where do my clients come from? List their possible age, gender, location, interests and any relevant information.
Getting yourself ready with what your potential clients might be will make it easier for you to pitch your service and give you more clarity on the type of business that you want to work with.
4. Upgrade your skills.
As you move on with your freelance career, it is important for you to keep upgrading your skills. The more expert you are in your specialized field, the higher your rate will be. It doesn’t hurt to learn new knowledge in your specialized field as it helps with your career growth. Be irreplaceable.
There are various online courses that you can take through websites such as Udemy, Coursera and so on. Find what interests you most and the skills that you feel would be beneficial for your freelancing career.
5. Set your rate.
When thinking about setting your rate, consider factors such as your time spent for the task, utilities used and so on. Do market research to help yourself in determining your price. Advisably, decide your rate based on the hours you would spend for the task. Clients wouldn’t mind paying you higher if you are able to provide them with exceptional results.
You may set to increase your rate over time as your skills improve and your value appreciates. Make sure that the rate you set for yourself is enough to sustain your lifestyle and a comfortable living.
“Value your time at an hourly rate, and ruthlessly spend to save time at that rate. You’ll never be worth more than you think you’re worth.” – Naval Ravikant.
6. Pitch yourself.
Imagine this as you are selling your products to your clients, except that the product now is your service and skills. Doing research on your potential clients and the problems they may face that would need your expertise is one way to land your clients. In this case, the client’s persona that you have created earlier would be helpful for you to pitch your service to the clients that match the persona. By doing this, you will be able to build rapport with your clients as well as understanding their pain points.
Having a good relationship with your clients will contribute to your journey in the freelancing space. It could be that they will continue to use your service in the future and also recommend you to other prospects. Words of mouth is also a good strategy to market your service.
Is freelancing worth it?
It depends. While freelancing offers benefits in terms of the flexibility of your schedule and time, it doesn’t cover for your financial and health benefits. It also requires more effort on your part to be accountable on yourself as well as to continuously grow your skills in order to provide a high quality service for your clients. On the other hand, a daily 9 to 5 job will provide more stability in income, but slower increment of rate per hour. It also comes with stagnant growth at some point. Whether or not freelancing is worth it for you, you decide based on your goals and what you want to achieve.
So, is freelancing worth it for you? Share your thoughts!