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5 Tips to Start Your Freelance Journey in 2021

Esther Agbaje
Front End Developer | Technical Writer | Developer Advocate | My posts are newbie friendly and easy to understand.
・2 min read

2020 has been a tough year for all of us. Covid19 showed up and changed the way a lot of things are being done. The definition of work has evolved. Companies no longer need ‘brick-and-mortar’ offices.

We now have the flexibility to work with whomever from wherever! Remote working & freelancing is now the way many of us work, and that’s amazing!

As a freelancer, you have the ability to choose your clients, offer the services you are good at and earn money from the comfort of your home.

It’s a new year in a couple of days. If you’re looking to become a freelancer in 2021, here are 5 tips to get you started:

1. Identify your skills

What skills have you been paid for in the past? If you’ve been paid to do some work, it’s very likely that you’re good at it or you’ve learned well on the job. Making a list of those skills is a crucial first step to effective freelancing.

2. Present your skills as a solution

The skills you have are a solution to a client’s problem. Identifying and articulating the problem your skills can solve is important because people pay for solutions and not skills. For example, if your skill is writing JavaScript code, the service you offer a client is “website development”.

3. Sign up on a freelance platform

There are a lot of freelance service sites that connect skilled professionals like you with local and remote employers. My top 3 platforms are Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal. You’ll need to create a compelling profile to attract the right clients.

4. Create a compelling Profile

Now you’ve signed up for any of these sites but the journey is just beginning.

The competition in the freelance world is pretty high given that they are many people who have the same skillset as you. There is a need to differentiate yourself and stand out from the crown to attract clients. To achieve this, you’ll need to craft a compelling profile.

Based on my experience, a compelling profile consists of a clear explanation of the service you offer (remember, this is not your skillset), the problems you can solve for the client, and a clear process of how they should work with you.

PS: Avoid spelling mistakes and typos, and keep your profile as concise as possible.

5. Prepare a proposal template to send to clients

Freelancers often have to write proposals in order to receive projects.

A proposal template is a document that has the structure and content for every proposal to be sent but can easily be tweaked and customized for each project.

Some things your proposal template should contain are:

  • Scope of service
  • The cost of the project
  • Timeframe
  • Personal recommendations
  • Pitch on why to pick you

Are you looking to start freelancing or have you started? What additional tips can you give someone looking to start freelancing in the coming year?

Discussion (5)

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aiyeola profile image
Victor Aiyeola

I'm looking to start freelancing in 2021, this article explains some things, can recommend more resources?

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estheragbaje profile image
Esther Agbaje Author

Hello Aiyeola, happy you'll be starting your freelance journey this year. You can check out my latest blog posts and look out for my tweets. I'll be releasing useful freelance tips on my Twitter page.

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otumianempire profile image
Otu Michael

Great article you have there.

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estheragbaje profile image
Esther Agbaje Author

Thank you, glad you found it useful.