1) Define your service & offeringTurning your skills into a service is the first step to becoming a freelancer. To do this, you’ll need to understand how your skills can help a prospective client. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client. What problems do they have, and how can your skills be used to resolve the issue?
It’s essential to recognize that clients are looking for a solution to a problem. To be a successful freelancer, you need to understand the client’s situation and use your service to address their issue. The answer to these questions will be the foundation of how you package your skills as a service. Now it’s time to come up with a brief description of the service that helps you sell your freelance service to companies. Try to concisely explain what you can do, how you do it, and for what type of business/client. Don’t worry about the price yet; we’ll get to that in the later steps.
2) Find your target audienceNow that you have a freelance service to offer, you’ll need to find a target audience. Start by identifying the type of clients that will be a good fit for your service. Do these clients have a shared problem and common characteristics? Are they in a specific industry?
As a new freelancer, merely being great at what you do is not enough to automatically have clients seeking you out. It’s crucial to position yourself in front of your potential clients so they can learn about your services. You’ll need to take an active role in finding potential clients. For most freelancers, there are three ways to acquire clients:
- Freelance job posting platforms
- Leverage existing connections and networking
- Marketing, advertising, and outreach
3) Develop a pricing structureOnce you have clearly defined your service and your target market, it’s time to set your price. The goal is to maximize the amount you’re paid without losing out on potential jobs. So, start by looking at your competitors in the market. What are they charging for similar freelancing services?
In reality, there is no perfect formula for pricing your freelancer services. Many variables can impact the amount that clients will be willing to pay:
- Project duration
- Project complexity
- Client’s geographic location
4) Create your portfolio with past jobsCreating a compelling portfolio is an integral step to becoming a successful freelancer. As a freelancer, your portfolio establishes your work quality by showcasing your accomplishments and past projects. This is your opportunity to show—not just tell—clients what you are capable of doing and the value of your expertise.
Your portfolio should highlight your best work related to your service offering. Each piece in your portfolio should paint a clear picture of your contributions and how that project benefited the client. Some of the things that a strong portfolio could include are case studies, testimonials, data-driven results, images, charts, work samples, and mock-ups. It’s important to receive permission from your past clients before incorporating their project materials into your portfolio.
5) Write a great proposalTo ensure a successful start as a freelancer, your first project should closely match your work experience and capabilities. When you find a project that you’re confident that you can provide excellent service for, it’s time to submit a proposal.
The right proposal can mean the difference between securing a job or not, so it’s critical to have a proposal that works for you.
6) Create a relationship with your clientAs a freelancer, your clients are your business. While it may seem obvious, it’s important to develop a positive working relationship with your clients. Successful freelancers establish relationships with clients rather than thinking of the work as a one-and-done deal. Building a long-term partnership can lead to repeat business and new client referrals. Here are some key points to keep in mind when creating a relationship with your clients:
- Do excellent work: High-quality work is necessary for client satisfaction. You need to provide value and solve the client’s problem to have a chance to build a long-term relationship with the client.
- Communicate with the client: Effective client communication creates a stronger business relationship and encourages clients to continue to work with you for future projects.
- Build trust through consistency: By consistently completing your work on time and providing accurate deliverables, you can build trust and show that your client can depend on you in the future.
- Find opportunities to provide more value: By taking the initiative, identifying new solutions, and taking on additional responsibilities, you demonstrate your potential value to the client and open up new ways to work together.
7) Continue developing your skillsFreelancers are hired for the service and skills that they offer to their clients. As a result, it’s crucial for freelancers to consistently improve their skills, adapt to changes, and expand their knowledge. Keeping up with current trends is also essential to providing your clients the highest service level. Online learning resources such as Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and even YouTube are great starting points for ensuring that your skills are always up to date.