Making the decision to jump into the world of freelance work isn’t an easy one. Giving up the relative security of a full-time job (and all of those perks!) can be a risky move, but one with very high rewards if you’re willing to put in the work to make your business a success.
Ditching the cubicle, working from anywhere in the world, and cherry picking your projects is a tantalizing idea, and one that more and more people are chasing these days.
Whether you are making that leap or just using Gigs to moonlight and make some extra cash, here are some tips to help you get started.
Develop your Brand
When you are a freelancer, your brand is you. Being talented and experienced in your field isn’t always enough, you’ve got to align your online presence with how you want yourself to be perceived. Here’s a good starting point:
- Carefully curate your online portfolio(s). Put your best foot forward and showcase the work that you’re the most proud of. Be sure to link all relevant work to your profile.
- Leverage your your social media accounts. Be sure to view them as if you were a potential client. If you haven’t already hidden your old college party pictures, now is the time. Be mindful of the language you’re using and try to avoid posting about polarizing topics (unless it’s Windows vs Linux). Link your social accounts to show off your Experts Exchange contributions.
- Encourage feedback and ratings from everyone you work with. It looks great on your profiles, and there’s nothing like a great review to make a client feel more secure in their choice to hire you. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to take the time to write something about you, you can even offer to write them one in return.
Ditch your cubicle and get started freelancing today!
Keep in mind that when you are selling your services in the world of freelance, you are selling yourself. It’s your job to align your skills with the client’s expectations, and make them trust that you are the right person for the project. Managing your online presence is a step in that direction, but it doesn’t stop there.
- Fill out your profile. Simple things like adding professional certifications, a friendly profile picture, and a descriptive biography can give you a leg up on the competition. Contributing in the community boosts your credibility and showcases your communication skills.
- Write a killer proposal. First impressions are everything, and this is the first glimpse into your work that a client will get. Take your time, address their concerns and make it count.
- Maintain a positive and professional attitude. Even if you don’t end up working together, a client should never walk away from an interaction with a bad taste in their mouth, you never know where you might connect with each other in the future.
Find Success on Gigs
- Chase the experience, not the dollar. If you’re new to freelance work, consider taking on smaller projects to help build up your portfolio and your credibility. There are times when the contacts and references that come from a project are more valuable than the paycheck.
- Do your homework. Be sure to research the client to familiarize yourself before submitting a proposal. It’s a good idea to scope out your competition as well. Take the time to identify the top freelancers in your area of expertise and check out their profile, reviews, and portfolios.
- Be responsive. This cannot be stressed enough. Answer any clarifying questions in a timely manner in the initial proposal process, and stay in touch while you’re working on a project that you’ve been hired for.
- Connect your PayPal account to get paid. This step is required in order to collect payment from a client for your hard work and to ensure timely payouts for freelancers. You will not be charged when you connect your account.
Use the Built-in Features to Your Advantage
- Set up saved searches. These let you receive alerts as new projects are posted. Simply type your query into the search bar and click “Save this Search” to get started.
- Monitor your previous proposals. This dashboard provides a quick place to track the status of projects you have participated in, making it easy to manage your workload and client communication.
- Track your earnings. Our earnings dashboard helps you keep track of the pending payouts, and your entire history of money earned on the site.
With a little hustle, and the convenience of Gigs by Experts Exchange, the freedom and flexibility of freelancing is within your reach. Ditch your cubicle and get started today!