How to Get Your Start as a Freelancer

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If you’ve got the skills, then use them for all they’re worth!

With both startup companies and gig businesses very much in vogue these days, it’s a pretty great time to be a freelancer. The internet has made it far easier not only to connect with people looking for workers, but to easily converse with them and get paid. While being a freelancer can be a bit of an intimidating prospect, since it lacks some of the usual safety nets of the nine-to-five, there’s also a distinct freedom to it. If you’ve got the skills and the time, you too can be a freelancer.

Before you go making an Upwork account, consider first what your niche is. Some freelancers are Jacks-of-all-trades, but you know what they say: “jack of all trades, master of none.” The really steady business is found in the niche markets. Instead of having ten things that you’re just okay at, you gotta find one thing that you’re absolutely phenomenal at. It doesn’t even matter what it is; as long as you’re good at it, you can find good-paying work.

Speaking of pay, a major part in establishing your personal brand as a freelancer is determining how much your services are worth. Do some research to find out what freelancers in the same or similar fields are being paid, and use that to create an information aggregate that can serve as your jumping off point. You might need to dial down your rates a bit when you’re starting out just to get your foot in the door, but once you’ve got an established presence, you should try not to go below your preferred payment threshold too often.

When you’ve got the skills and know what they’re worth, then it’s just a matter of finding clients. As I mentioned, sites like Upwork are a great way to connect with clients, and they’ll help to streamline all the boring contract stuff. Though, boring as it is, you should always endeavor to get the terms of your work in writing. Part of being a freelancer is learning to separate good clients from bad ones, so don’t let anyone take advantage of you.

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