Have you ever thought about what your life could be like if you became a digital freelancer?
Actually, scratch that. Do you travel to work every day with a sense of dread when you think about what your day is going to entail?
Although so-called ‘digital nomads’ might have you believe otherwise, digital freelancing is not all about cocktails on the beach at lunchtime while occasionally checking your emails. But becoming a digital freelancer can be a huge breath of fresh air for those who feel like the world of employment is slowly squeezing them to death.
Becoming a digital freelancer allows you to live where you want, create your own schedule, be your own boss, choose the projects you want to work on and spend zero, that’s absolutely none of your time, commuting!
But before you make the leap to becoming a freelancer, there are a few important things you must do to give you the very best chance of success in your new role.
How to become a freelancer
- Think seriously about how you’ll find work
Becoming a freelancer and leaving the safety and security of employment requires you to take a leap of faith. No matter how well prepared you are, there is a chance it won’t work out, so it’s essential you take every step you can to minimise the risks. One thing you absolutely must do is think seriously about where your work is going to come from. Are you going to look for contract work that’ll keep you busy for several months at a time, or will you build up a portfolio of clients that you’ll do work for on a day-to-day basis?
Whatever sort of work you plan to do, there are a number of platforms you can use to find those all-important first few clients:
- People Per Hour
- ClearVoice Marketplace
- The Dots
- LinkedIn Jobs
- Media Bistro
Whichever site you choose to use, take the time to create a profile that includes a detailed description of your work, a clear profile picture and link your profile to your website or portfolio if you have one. It’s well worth creating a profile on a few platforms before you leave employment as they do take to build.
- Invest in freelance training
Filling skills gaps you may have by completing freelance training courses can be invaluable in helping you prepare for the world of self-employment. As a freelancer, you are responsible for all the tasks involved in running a small business. That includes everything from maintaining accounts and completing your own tax returns to marketing your business and building your online presence. If there’s one aspect of life as a freelancer you feel you’re not prepared for, it’s well worth investing in some freelance training now, as you may not have the money or time to do so once your new career has begun.
Being able to market yourself to clients is an incredibly important skill. If you’re not familiar with digital marketing or would like to improve your skills, digital marketing training could be one of the best investments you make. Equally, if you’re going to work as a freelance digital marketer, completing relevant high-level courses and having the relevant certificates to show for it will give clients confidence in your work.
- Calculate the income you’ll need to generate and price your services accordingly
Unless you have a pre-established client base that you’ll receive work from immediately, it’s likely your income will initially fall. That’s completely normal and absolutely nothing to worry about. However, it is important you account for this likely drop in earnings and think about how much you’ll need to charge for your services to cover your essential outgoings over the short-term. That includes costs like rent, food, utility bills, travel, etc.
This freelance calculator is a good, albeit quite simplistic, place to start. It will give you an idea of the hourly rate you must charge to earn the desired level of income. Over the longer term, you might find your prices are too high or too low for the type of clients you’re trying to target. In that case, changing your pricing strategy or the clients you pitch your services to will ensure you’re selling the services your clients need at a price they are willing to pay.
- Build a simple brochure website
In this day and age, having an online presence can be a huge benefit when you’re starting out as a freelancer. Rather than having to compete on price for jobs available on some of the freelancing platforms listed above, having your own website will bring clients to you and allow you to dictate the terms.
The good news is that with so many simple website builders out there, it’s actually much easier to create your own website than you might think. Alternatively, you could contact a freelance website designer and pay for a simple site. To effectively sell your services, you need a site that:
- Communicates the services you offer and explains why you’re the best person for the job
- Provides examples of your work
- Gives prospective clients a number of different ways to contact you
- Includes testimonials from previous clients you’ve worked with
- Is updated regularly to show your evolution and maintain your position in the search results
Digital training to help you take your first steps as a freelance professional
Not sure how to become a freelancer? Worried about your lack of digital marketing skills? At Digital Kitchen, we offer a range of beginner and advanced digital marketing courses to help you take your first steps as a freelancer with confidence. Take a look at our SEO, PPC, Social Media and CRO courses and get in touch today.