The freelancing industry has grown greatly in the last decade. The financial Times, UK edition highlighted a 12% growth in the number of freelances between 2008 and 2011 in UK.
This growth is evidenced by both the growth in the number of freelancers and freelance jobs available in various freelance broker sites.
For instance, the freelance broker site Elance, recorded an increase in the jobs posted form 200,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2012 to 300,000 job postings in the first quarter of 2013.
The impressive growth in the freelancing industry can be attributed to a more flexible work schedule.
Furthermore, a 2012 report in the Freelance Industry Report highlighted that 90% of freelancers claimed to be happier in their freelancing jobs and did not feel the impact of the economic downtown.
The prospects of the industry are expected to get even better in the coming decade.
Are you considering staring a freelancing career with no experience?
Well, it is understandable due to the enticing prospects. And yes, even without experience you can build on a rewarding career. Below are some tips you can follow to build a successful freelancing career.
- Choose your niche
The freelancing industry is wide which presents beginners with the advantage of many options to choose from.
These include writing, web development, graphics design, social media marketing, editing and proofreading, transcribing, data entry and news writing among others.
However, it can be confusing to choose when too many choices are available.
A common question that beginners ask experts in the industry is; what is the best area to venture in? Well, every area has it pros and cons, the best one depends on your specific skills and interests.
At the heart of a successful freelancing career is your skill. Which skills do you have already?
You could also have some undeveloped skills which you know that with focus you can become excellent at. Consider those skills when choosing your niche.
You resume can also act as a pointer to your skills.
Choose a niche that you will enjoy. Often times, many freelancers have multiple skills but then they have a main skill which they put their focus on.
Usually, their main skill is a skill they both enjoy and are also excellent at.
When starting out, it is possible to be preoccupied with the misconception that you do not have the skill.
Let than not paralyze you, you will be startled by how little of experience you need to start out. With a little confidence, you could go a long way.
- Build a personal brand
A strong personal brand will be essential for your success in the freelancing world as it sets you apart from your competition.
Create a unique and recognizable brand identity for yourself.
The online platform offers great tools for you to build your brand including a personal website, a blog, freelance broker sites and social media platforms.
Your brand should precisely describe you, your skills and your services.
It should have a unique selling point that makes you stand out from other freelancers while giving you a competitive edge.
Hence, narrow down your skills and services to a specific area. For instance, there are numerous freelance graphics designers.
You could narrow down to your brand to a graphics designer for digital startups branding.
Specialized branding will be attractive to specific prospective clients and increase your chances of success.
- Build your portfolio
In the freelancing world, many clients are less concerned with your qualifications and more concerned with your ability to deliver a required service appropriately.
This is unlike in the corporate world that is stringent on qualifications.
A portfolio is the most ideal way of presenting your experience and abilities to prospective clients.
It should entail samples of your work, personal details and a clear outline of your skills.
Ensure to also include testimonials from past clients. Testimonials are a crucial element in your portfolio.
However, beginners with no experience are faced with a challenge when creating their portfolio as they have no samples to show.
Most beginners end up doing low paying jobs to build o their experience.
However, a better way to go around this challenge is by offering your services to well paying clients for free.
Keep in mind that with high paying clients you must prove your worth hence ensure you deliver quality even with the small and free jobs.
The pro work you do is essential in building you samples and getting you testimonials.
Furthermore, a testimonial form an executive client can be of great value for you both in the short-term ad the long-term.
- Start pitching
Once you have built on a quality portfolio and have demonstrated your abilities, it is now time to seek paying clients. The surest way of getting good clients is through pitching.
Your personal brand determines the clients you will pitch to. As pointed out earlier, specialized branding will direct you to specific clients.
Due to a narrowed down niche, it should be easier for you to land contracts with appropriate clients.
You can find potential clients in different platforms in the internet including Google, social media platforms and freelance brokers’ sites.
Moreover, you could find clients by pitching to specific websites. Learn to write great pitches and cover letters and send them to prospective clients.
The secret with successful pitching is pitch! Pitch! Pitch! Pitch to as many prospective clients as possible.
You will find this tip valuable especially when you are starting out. Set a goal for the number of pitches to do in a day and follow through.
They will add up quickly over the weeks and end up forming a sustainable client base for you.
With reasonable skill and a quality brand, you will definitely succeed in the freelancing world. Come up with a strategy to build and maintain a client base.
This can be effectively done through consistent pitching. Freelancing is a game of numbers; the more you pitch the more clients you are likely to reach and the more work you are likely to get.
But before you even start pitching or building your portfolio, you need to invest in a great freelance writing mentorship or coaching program. It’s only then that you’ll be confident to start searching for new clients.