Freelancing is an excellent opportunity for anyone with a marketable skill and some extra time on their hands. If you’ve got a day job that isn’t what you hoped it would be, or you’d like to do something else at a professional level that you haven’t had the opportunity to do, there’s no better time than right now to make that opportunity for yourself.
Finding the time is hard enough, and knowing where to start only complicates things more. Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to start your freelance career off in only five hours a week—one hour every day of the week. Five hours a week really adds up quickly over time, and if you follow these steps you’ll be happily diversifying your income in no time.
Starting Off: Fortify Your Personal Brand
For starters, you’re going to want to focus on yourself first and foremost. You can’t market yourself to potential clients if you don’t have any material to show them once you land a contact opportunity. That’s why freelancers should often consider their first client themselves: you have to treat yourself to the same quality of work you would provide employers.
Spend an hour each day building your social profiles first and foremost, especially if you’re going to be doing marketing or website development. If one of your skills is managing social media campaigns or developing business blog content for clients, you’d better make it clear to your clients that you understand the social networks and blog publishing techniques you’re offering them.
LinkedIn is also a high priority for anyone looking to get hired: more companies are doing their hiring and talent scouting directly through this professional social network. Take a look at Inc.com’s list of things most people do wrong on LinkedIn and learn from these mistakes!
From Construction to Content Writing Services, There’s Work For Everyone
Once you’ve established your personal brand, you need to start scoping out work. It’s best to start locally and develop good word of mouth for your services. If local business isn’t enough, or you just want to branch out into more opportunities, there are tons of websites that offer job listing and job hunting services for freelancers.
FreelanceSwitch.com has a popular list of over 150 different websites that offer freelance jobs for any skillset, for example. You’ll be sure to find plenty of other resources on your own as you search around.
Once you find a few jobs that you like, put a bid on them or contact the business and get in touch with them personally. Reaching out beyond the traditional method of bidding or taking jobs shows employers you’re serious about wanting to work for them.
Sticking To Your Deadlines: How To Schedule Freelance Work
All of these tips are great, but what about the timeframe for applying them all? Here’s a good idea of how you should spend your time each week and each day, and how to best apply these tips and techniques to your future freelancing career.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday should be Development days. If you have work, you should devote these days to doing nothing but that work. If you don’t have any client work to keep yourself busy with, find something you can do to improve your personal brand. This will ensure that your own personal branding doesn’t become too dated over time.
Tuesday and Thursday should be “Job Hunt” days—when you need them. The freelance landscape changes daily, and new jobs are added all the time. If you’re completely out of anything to do, every day ought to be a freelance job hunting day! Even if you’ve found some client work, you should try to spend at least a little time browsing listings every other day or so. This way you have new jobs waiting in the wings when you finish one up. Constantly searching through new listings is a great way to burn yourself out on the whole process, though, so having a set day and time to look for work is the best idea.
Before You Know It, You Can Call Yourself A Freelancer
After you’ve spent time developing your brand and doing a little client work, you’ll slowly get the hang of the freelance routine. You’ll understand how the system works better, and you’ll finish projects much faster with the added experience. As your freelance career grows, you can start to add more time to your work schedule, and expand to eight, ten, even fifteen hours a week if you feel like it. Freelancing can be an excellent choice for financial security and success, and you may one day be able to replace your day job with your freelance work.
If you want a prime example of successful freelancing, look no further than us. Content Equals Money started as a self-employed freelance content writing service using strategies just like these. These tips aren’t something we’ve grown out of either: we’re constantly developing our capabilities to provide more valuable services to our clients.
So from all of us to all you future freelance hopefuls out there: good luck! If you want to see what success can look like, or your business needs some of our experience, check us out!
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