As a first-time freelancer, it can be a bit confusing and frustrating navigating the process alone, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Becoming a freelancer and working remotely has many benefits, such as being able to set your own hours, be your own boss, manage your freelance rate and last but not least, the ability to work from just about anywhere.Working as a Freelancer at Fiverr: 7 Tips & Tricks
Now you’re thinking to yourself, great, how do I get started and how do I turn my business into a success?
Here, we’ll cover top tips and best practices on how to get started as a freelancer and how to stand out in an ever-growing marketplace.
1. Make Sure to Have a Safety Net
Freelance content marketing writer, Maddie, shared that if you’re just starting out as a freelancer, it’s crucial to have some sort of stable income before you go ahead and jump into the water. Making a living as a freelancer requires being very selective about the work you pick up, so it’s always a good idea to have some savings on the side to ensure you can still pay the bills while looking for the right gig.
Whether you’re working a full-time or part-time job, having income on the side for at least the first five months of your new freelancing career will give you the confidence to be able to build a business from scratch. Diving into freelancing for the first time certainly does not guarantee that you’ll receive gigs right away or that you’ll see positive results. Give yourself the ability to learn and even make mistakes but do so only if you’re not broke.
2. Learn How to Say No
It may be easier said than done, but when first starting out as a freelancer, learn how to say NO! For example, if you come across a specific project that doesn’t seem like a good fit or if you lack the skill set that is required, you’ll have to learn to reject. At the very beginning of your freelance career, just as in any other business, you most likely are going to feel the eager need of accepting every client or gig that comes through, but in order to succeed and thrive, you’ll truly have to learn to say no to work that either offers you zero value or lack of interest.
Instead, focus on the type of work you’ll enjoy and that’s best for you, that way you can build your business and a healthy/professional relationship with the clients YOU want to work for.
3. Know When to Raise Your Rate
Over the years, you’ll notice that your workload will increase, even more than you can handle so it’s recommended to gradually implement price increases. In the beginning, rookie freelancers tend to fear that if they charge a significantly high amount for their services, they’ll quickly lose their clients. However, that’s certainly not always the case. In fact, if you establish good relationships with your clients and provide them with the quality work they requested, they’ll be happy to keep you onboard, even if you increase your rate.
Don’t be afraid to start out with a price quote that you feel you deserve. Work your way consistently towards the goal you want to reach and embrace price increases when you really need them.
4. Determine Your Niche
Do you have any expertise in a particular area? With freelance marketplaces overflooding with a plethora of talented freelancers, it’s important that you claim the whitespace within your niche. Carry out some research and find out who exactly is your target audience and concentrate your efforts on them. Whether you’re a content writer or a video editor, emphasize to potential clients the specialties you offer and how you differ from others in your field.
5. Price Your Work Based on the Value You Provide Your Client
When starting out, try to avoid charging per the hour or offering a flat rate. Instead, adapt value-based pricing. What’s that you ask? Value-based pricing means that you associate your price with your deliverables and not by the amount of time it takes to complete the project. Top freelancers or PRO sellers (how Fiverr refers to top rated freelancers), will price their work by the value they provide to their clients, while others will price by the hour.
Ask as many questions as possible and try to understand what your client’s goal is once the project is completed. What is your work worth to them, and will they be using it to achieve complex goals of their own? Don’t undervalue your effort and instead, set your cost according to your buyer’s needs. Focus on the value of your work rather than just the price.
6. Create a Comfortable Workspace
Frank goes on to share that if you’re gradually switching from the traditional 9-to-5 office environment to freelancing, you’re going to come across one of the more challenging aspects of starting out as a new freelancer, the transition from collaborating with teammates face-to-face to working on your own.
Whether it be your bedroom or a co-working space, find somewhere you feel is quiet and free from distractions, a space in which you see yourself being as productive as possible. A simple desk set up with all the tools you need, will do. In addition, freelancing enables you to be more flexible during your day-to-day, meaning that you can integrate a more balanced workday depending on what type of environment you choose to work from. Meet up with a friend for coffee before you start working on gigs or have a swim if you live near the beach to help you recharge for your day’s workload.
Perhaps you can try the famous Pomodoro Technique for enhanced productivity. This time-management method encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. How does it work? Break up your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as Pomodoros and after four Pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes. This technique helps you recharge periodically and avoids burnouts.
7. Don’t Forget to Network
With so many talented freelancers seeking new business opportunities via online marketplaces, how can you stand out from the crowd, especially if you’re new to the scene? By networking and creating relationships with your contacts and potential clients of course. Based on your specialty, join forums or groups and connect with people who could possibly refer you to clients seeking freelancers.
Maddie shares that you should spread the word to your friends who know others who are looking for help in your area. By establishing a network of contacts, you can quickly build reviews on your marketplace. The more positive reviews you receive, the more attractive you’ll be for companies seeking your talent.
Both Maddie and Frank conclude our session by stating that if you’re committed to your work and to your clients, and you enjoy what you specialize in, you’ll thrive as a freelancer quicker than you might think! Making a living via freelancing does exist and for those who are willing to put the time and effort, freelancing can offer both a flexible and lucrative lifestyle.
Understand that starting out as a freelancer is a process and it’s okay to make mistakes and fail. Even if the market is extremely saturated, you can definitely find your space. At the end of the day, growing your business is all up to you and the mindset you adapt.