What is Freelancing and how to become a Freelancer?

What is Freelancing: A freelancer (from the English free lancer) is a “free spearman”, this is a hired specialist who takes on project work from various customers. A freelancer provides for himself, creates a job, bears responsibility for risks and receives income. By profession, a freelancer can be a programmer, copywriter, photographer, designer, or, in general, anyone, it’s not the job that matters, but the type of employment.
Nowadays, the popularity of freelancing is growing, and this is natural, because any remote work reminds of it. Now many traditional offices have switched to home mode. So why not get into freelancing and try to increase your income, or, in general, not find a dream job with a decent salary?

Next, we will analyze in detail the main issues of freelancing, so that it is easier for readers to decide.

Who benefits from freelancing?

Everyone and for their own reasons.

Freelancing is useful for employers because:

  • It is easy to find the right specialist;
  • No office and office equipment required;
  • No need to register a person, pay a fixed salary and taxes;
  • Work is paid after the task is completed;
  • The services of a “free spearman”, in general, are cheaper.

Freelancing is beneficial for job seekers because:

  • You can work anywhere (at home, in the country, at the mother-in-law on pancakes);
  • no need to go to work every day;
  • if you are tired, you can retrain;
  • there are no bosses, employees and other external stimuli (which is especially pleasant for introverts);
  • a person chooses for himself those projects that he is ready to implement.

These are far from all the pluses, because the freedom that this form of employment gives is not comparable to the daily office (industrial, agricultural …) duties that millions of those who do not yet know about freelancing bear.

How much does freelancing earn?

For many, this is a key issue, because there are radically opposite opinions on this matter. There is a prejudice that a freelancer is something like a low-level office plankton, so he earns a penny. Another opinion is that these are super hackers like Neo, who daily transfer bundles of bitcoins to offshore zones … The truth, as always, is individual.

It all depends on such factors:

  • Specialty and qualification;
  • The amount of time you are willing to spend;
  • Self-discipline;
  • Job search skills;
  • The ability to grow above yourself and promote your services.

Let’s understand in order.

What specialties are in demand for freelancing?

To answer this question, you don’t need to read tarot cards, let’s just open any freelance exchange and see what they have.

In the left column are general specializations, and there are many of them. The screenshot does not fit a detailed list of directions. Clicking on the “plus” opens a submenu, when pressed again, we go to individual projects.
I must say that there is enough work, and at the initial stages we recommend looking, starting from what you know how and want to do.

Popular destinations:

  • translations;
  • Graphic design and photography;
  • Video editing;
  • Copywriting, SMM;
  • Programming;
  • Setting up advertising in search engines and social networks.

A good translator is always and everywhere needed, and freelancing opens up great opportunities for a specialist. Unlike office work, here you can choose projects and decide what topics you want to work with. An important plus is that in freelancing, all the money goes to the project executor, the agency does not take a percentage.

Another point is the demand for languages. As it is not surprising, but in English “the world did not converge like a wedge”, only the lazy do not know it now. If you speak German, Dutch, Spanish or Romanian, you can earn more, and there is less competition.
Graphic design is the trend of the internet. A good freelance graphic designer will not sit idle. Illustrations, website interfaces, banners and brochures are what is in demand now and will be absolutely in demand tomorrow.

Photography, and everything related to image processing, is well implemented on the web. We are talking not only about portraits, interiors, landscapes and still lifes, but also about things that are not obvious to a non-professional. There is a direction in which people post photos of various textures, it can be wood, brick, linoleum, carpet surface, paper, clay, rocks, sand … The list is limited only by imagination. There are large photo stocks that specialize in photos.

Video editing is a serious science, and if you own it, then why haven’t you taken over the world yet and are you still reading this article? A bunch of English (intermediate level is enough), plus editing skills – this is a real chance to enter foreign projects and earn income in more or less stable currencies.

Copywriting and SMM is an easy entry into the world of freelancing (for those who can write). But there is something to learn here too, for example, in SMM, short and light texts with humor that are attractive to the target audience are in demand. Selling articles and content for landings is a separate science.

Programming is one of the most freelance areas. Writing code to order, lying on the beach of Bali or under the cherry blossoms of Yokohama, is the dream of many and, I must say, that it is quite feasible.

The most promising languages ​​are Java and Python. Today, there is a shortage of developers in the labor market. The income of a novice specialist is about $ 400. Professionals with average experience rarely earn less than $1,000.

Advertising customization is a promising direction, it concerns targeting in social networks and context in search engines. With the transition of trade to the Internet, the demand for advertising specialists is growing and will continue to grow.

How to become a freelancer and what is needed for this?

The very first thing is to decide what you will do. Because leaving a job without skills, abilities and a vision of prospects is not the wisest idea. If you know everything and know how, it will be easier, you just change the external (office) boss to a more pleasant one, that is, the internal one (yourself). If you want to start a new business, you will have to find and complete courses. We have a separate article on this topic.

The second is to figure out if you have what you need for work. For example, you dream of taking photos, but is there a camera that will be enough for the tasks you perform? This is an important point, because some freelancing areas require serious technical support.

But in this place it is necessary not to overdo it, because there are people who do not take up work because they do not have top-end office equipment. The equipment should be sufficient to perform basic tasks.

The third is the planning of existence for the near future. Freelancing does not guarantee stable income right today or even in a week, so before leaving work, calculate whether you have enough home stocks of pasta, stew and soap before the first fees.

Well, making sure that the “rear is covered”, you can proceed to practice.

What will be required?

  • Work mail;
  • Working messengers and skype;
  • Profiles in social networks,
  • it is very desirable – Facebook and LinkedIn;
  • Portfolio and resume;
  • Credit cards for money transfers.

If all this is there, you can start searching for the first orders. The question that all freelancers face is where to get clients, and especially the first ones. Why should people trust you if you have no experience?

To remove objections, it is very desirable that there be a portfolio. Depending on the profession, these can be examples of texts, code snippets, photographs or translations. To show them to a client, you can use the functionality of freelance exchanges, your own business card website, social network or Google Docs. There are a lot of options, we recommend doing as is customary in your field.

What if there is no work experience and portfolio?

Take the time to make a small portfolio of typical assignments in your industry. Write some texts, make a dozen pictures, an anime style calculator or HelloWorld! Show your imagination, make a small product, please yourself and a potential employer, and along the way get rid of the impostor complex.

Another useful factor is certificates. It is clear that, by and large, no one needs them, except for those who take money for extradition, but many employers love them. It is believed that if a person has the patience to complete the courses and get a paper, then he will cope with the work. So show certificates anytime, anywhere.

The best freelance websites:

  • Fiverr
  • Toptal
  • Jooble
  • Freelancer.com
  • Upwork
  • Flexjobs
  • SimplyHired
  • Guru
  • LinkedIn
  • Behance
  • 99designs
  • Dribbble
  • People Per Hour
  • ServiceScape
  • DesignHill
  • TaskRabbit

When registering on the exchange, pay attention to the rules of work, as well as how and in what form payment and withdrawal of funds are made. In addition to exchanges, it makes sense to watch projects in freelance mode on job search sites.

Well, the search for orders in social networks has proven itself well. For example, LinkedIn is positioned as a network of professionals and is specifically designed for work contacts.

It is imperative to monitor and understand how much services in the chosen area cost. At the first stage, we do not recommend overestimating the price tag, but you should not desperately dump.

Also understand and write down what is valuable for customers, and what you can give from this. What are your benefits as a specialist? It can be:

  • Work on time;
  • Bonuses (for example, the 3rd picture is free);
  • If you don’t like it – 3 editions for free.

All this will be needed when contacting customers.

Word of mouth

Even now, in the 1920s, personal contacts and word of mouth are powerful business drivers. It’s good if friends help you find the first orders. And it’s just great if customers begin to recommend you to friends.

After you complete the first freelance order and receive money, you can assume that you have taken place in a new role, open the champagne, but do not forget that this is only the beginning.

Freelancing career

There are at least two ways to develop a freelancer:

  1. Professional, that is, the development of one’s own skills and abilities.
  2. Social – the transformation of a lone “free spearman” into a gang. That is the creation of an agency.

High-class pros earn very well and are responsible only for themselves. The agency is suitable for those who love communication, management and system. Each of these paths has pros and cons, everyone chooses what they like.

How not to be blown away, and what else you need to know about freelancing

Discipline and hard work is what it takes to not run back to the office when you run out of stew and condensed milk.

I am writing this because there are unofficial statistics that a huge percentage of freelancers quit because they cannot force themselves to work and organize their working day productively. And this usually happens in the first year.

It’s not easy to sit at home when the sun is shining and the weather whispers that it’s time to go fishing, or to finish the project at 6,7,8… o’clock in the evening, because tomorrow is DeadLine. Those who have a captain inside survive, or there is nowhere to go at all.

Therefore, decide that for this year you have enlisted and go into the army of hired spearmen. Yachts and the coast of Bali – everything later, now hard work and the search for new orders are relevant. Every day, from morning to its logical conclusion, without being distracted by TV shows, YouTube, a cat and pets … Work and only work.

The more disciplined and effective you act right now, the closer success will be. And the more useful skills you can learn along the way, the better.

We wish you success and the realization of the best dreams!

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