The COVID-19 pandemic has once again shown the weakness of relying on a single stream of income. While being a freelancer is not for the faint-hearted, it has proved more resilient in the face of the pandemic. Most people have been forced into freelancing by the loss of full-time jobs.
A freelancer has full responsibility for the success or failure of the business; pitching to new clients, bookkeeping, and financial management. What useful tips can help with starting in freelancing?
Polishing Up on Skills
Coding is one of the most dynamic fields today. Picking a field of specialization also helps e.g. choosing to do data visualization. This is because it is easier to sell excellent skills in one field rather than average skills in different fields.
Polishing up soft skills is also very important. Communication skills, in particular, are vital in marketing yourself. If you are required to write white papers, polish up your skills, for example, how to restate a thesis. These soft skills can make a difference in your success rates at pitching for jobs.
Make an Impressive Portfolio
The freelancing world is highly competitive, more so now that millions are seeing the benefits of freelancing. It is getting harder to catch the eye of new clients. New freelancers are finding the market very hard to penetrate the market.
Failing to put together a portfolio is one mistake that many freelancers make. It may be because one feels that there are not sufficient jobs to show off. Whatever small jobs that you have handled should be detailed.
A portfolio website is easy to put up and costs less than $50. A blog is also a big plus when marketing your skills. It shows you have depth and understanding of the industry. A LinkedIn profile should complete the picture of a competent professional.
Knowing My Rates
Many new freelancers are tempted to sell themselves short to become attractively priced. This is the wrong move in the long term. It is never a guarantee that asking for less will snag new clients. The opposite might happen, where new clients shy away because cheap is expensive.
It is also hard to convince a client that you have suddenly realized you are worth more and need to hike prices. The better approach is to market what you can do and let your work speak for itself. Clients are willing to hire good skills for a little bit extra.
Marketing Across Platforms
Focusing on one platform is another mistake that even old freelancers make. There are many platforms today. While it is not possible to market yourself effectively on all of them, you should choose at least 5 for listing your skills.
More exposure translates to higher chances that someone will see a good match in what you are offering. Take the time to create an impressive portfolio on each platform. The extra effort you put in will be rewarded with more inquiries.
Take Time to Network
Freelancing is usually seen as a job for loners. This is a false narrative. Networking with people in the industry helps put your name out there. Join social media groups and participate actively. Opportunities come to those who actively seek them.
What would I have done differently before becoming a python freelancer? I would have focused on the above tips to avoid the pitfalls that discourage most new freelancers. The good thing is that even older freelancers can put them to use.
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