The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing many of us to think differently about how we work. Remote working is becoming the new norm. That’s leading many people to consider a career as a freelancer.
In this article, we’ll look at how to start freelancing in 2020. We’ll start by asking whether you’re suited to freelancing. Then we’ll look at how you can stay focused while working from home.
Finally, we’ll explore some of the most popular career choices, and take a practical look at how to start a freelance business. Let’s get started…
Is Freelancing Right for Me?
Not everyone is suitable for freelancing. It’s a career choice that requires 5 main qualities:
1. Skill: You’ll need a talent that you can charge clients for. There’s more on this later, as we explore a range of the best freelance sectors.
2. Confidence: You’ll need the confidence to take the plunge, and the self-belief to sell yourself as a professional.
3. Self-Motivation: With no boss on your back, you’ll need enough self-motivation to keep going! We’ll explore this aspect later, as we look at how to stay focused as a freelancer.
4. Support: We all need a little support sometimes, and having positive people around is a huge bonus when you work for yourself.
5. Space: You’ll need somewhere quiet and distraction free to maximise your productivity.
How to Stay Focused as a Freelancer
One of the main advantages of freelancing is freedom. Unfortunately, too much freedom can also lead to low productivity. Here’s a quick look at how to stay focused as a freelancer:
1. Work to Targets
When starting a freelance business, it’s vital to have clear targets in mind. How much do you want to earn in your first month, quarter, or year? Always remember the old saying that time is money!
2. Set Clear Deadlines
When you take on a freelance project, set yourself a clear deadline for completion… Then stick to it! Ultimately, this is the only way to ensure that you’ll earn an acceptable rate per hour.
3. Create a Suitable Working Environment
One of the best ways to earn more as a freelancer is to create a better working environment. As a minimum, you’ll need a space that’s quiet and well lit. Ideally, this should be a dedicated space where you can leave your computer set up and ready to go.
4. Stay Healthy
Health and productivity go hand in hand. Maintaining good energy levels is especially important if you work long hours. Start by doing all those things your mum used to tell you: Eat well, stay hydrated, get regular exercise and aim for 8 hours of sleep a night!
5. Give Yourself a Break
Long hours can be one of the biggest disadvantages of freelancing. They can also be counterproductive. Many people find they work faster when they work less, and taking regular breaks can be the key to getting more done.
Now we’ve shown you how to stay focused as a freelancer, let’s move on to explore the kind of work that’s available.
The Best Freelance Sectors
It seems that everyone has their own opinion on the best freelance sectors. It’s a very personal choice, and it depends as much on your interests as the money that’s available.
However, there are some paths that are well established as the most popular freelance careers. Let’s explore a handful of these paths now, in no particular order…
Become a Freelance Photo Edit
Photo editing is one of the most popular freelance jobs. Professionals use software like Photoshop to manipulate images. Common tasks include background removal and photo retouching.
Become a Freelance Graphic Designer
Feeling creative? Freelance graphic designers spend their time creating flyers, business cards and logos. Graphic design is one of the most popular freelance careers – but it’s also one of the most competitive. Because of this, pay rates aren’t always the highest.
Become a Freelance Web Designer
Web design is one of those classic freelance career choices that’s remained popular through the years. The strongest demand is for WordPress designers, although it’s a competitive area. Meanwhile, those hard-core experts who can hand-code websites from scratch can charge a real premium!
Become a Freelance PA
Freelance PAs (aka virtual PAs) offer administrative services remotely. Common services include typing, transcribing audio/video files, data entry and research. Unlike a regular PA, you’ll work for a range of clients who just need occasional help on a flexible basis.
Become a Freelance Copywriter
Do you have a natural way with words? Copywriting is one of the most popular freelance career choices. Some writers specialise in specific niches – like tech, finance, or health. But most freelance writers accept a variety of projects, so an ability to research complex topics thoroughly is a must.
Become a Freelance Consultant
Instead of providing services, freelance consultants provide advice. Some freelance consultants are experts with years of experience and qualifications. But others simply tap into a natural talent. From entrepreneurism to life coaching, the possibilities are endless.
How to Start a Freelance Business
So, you’ve decided that you’re well suited to freelancing, and you’ve chosen your niche. Now it’s time to look at how to start a freelance business. There are actually 2 main options open to you:
Join a Freelancing Platform
If you work via a freelancing platform, you’ll have access to millions of potential clients. But it’s a competitive arena. Remember that you’ll be competing with professionals from developing countries, whose prices may be very low. This is especially true in areas like graphic design, where English language skills aren’t a priority.
Build Your Own Website
One of the biggest advantages of freelancing is freedom. One of the problems with freelancing platforms is that you’ll have to surrender a little bit of that freedom.
If you want total control over your freelance career, the alternative is to make your own website. This way, you can market yourself independently. True, it takes a bit more work, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy!
We’ve covered all the basics of how to start freelancing. The resources below will help you go further and succeed in your new career:
If you want to offer freelance services on your own website, then start with our guide to building your own website. If you want to promote your new business, then follow our guides to building a new online business, and starting SEO.
Want to explore another article full of freelancing advice? The marketing pros at HubSpot have written this great step-by-step guide covering how to start a freelance business…