1. How can I find freelancing jobs online?
The easiest way to get work online is by joining a reputable freelancing platform. From Upwork to Guru to PeopleperHour, there are literally hundreds of websites that you can work from. Each has their own requirements: for example, you may need to submit your resume or finish a set trial period on another. This should not intimidate you, all these sites try to make it really easy for quality freelancers to join.
However, you have to be careful about the sites you join – this is the Internet after all! That is why it is so important to do your research first. The best way to do that is by looking for user reviews on the site you are interested in. Remember that all the good platforms are free to join. Make sure to join networks that have a large number of jobs available and a proven track record on payment.
2. How do I get paid?
There really is no set payment method that is common to every freelancing platform. For example, some pay after every five days while others only do so twice a month. Some may even pay you if you earn past a certain amount! Make sure that you read through the terms of your preferred site to find out exactly when they release funds.
The other important thing to note is that a lot of these freelancer websites charge you a service fee. After all, they are providing you with some really groundbreaking services. While some charge the client, most of them push these costs onto the freelancer. This works to make the site as attractive to clients as possible. The total service fee depends on the service and is automatically deducted before your payment is released.
3. How do I get my first client?
Getting your first client can be very hard and frustrating. Most clients have already been burned before and are unwilling to test drive a newbie. No one knows what you can do yet, and getting someone to offer you some slack can be incredibly challenging.
However, that does not mean you cannot hack it. Starting out can take a lot of time and effort, but it teaches you how to create a solid network of regular clients. First, fill out your profile completely. This involves all your qualifications, skills, and portfolio pieces. Do not forget to put up your photo as well! A great point here is to be very specific when listing your skills. You can say “SEO writer” instead of just “writer,” for example.
If there are proficiency tests available on the site, take them. Take time to build up your portfolio of projects by racking up the number of jobs you have completed and adding to your experience. Most importantly, make sure to do an awesome job so that your clients can leave glowing reviews on your profile.
4. What challenges will I face as a Freelancer?
It is important to repeat this, so we will: competition in online freelancing is fierce! There are more than 10 million registered freelancers on Upwork alone. Think about that. Therefore, you really do have to put your best foot forward every time to get a new client. Plus, no one said you could only join one freelancer network!
Another big challenge is that many freelancers are based in developing countries where the cost of living is lower. This means that they can afford to quote very low prices that you simply cannot afford to quote. On the other hand, clients are not shy about paying large fees if the work is of a superior quality.
Make sure to apply for jobs that jibe with your skills because you are more likely to impress the client that way. Use material that is well-written, accurate and follows all the instructions in each of your applications. Attaching a separate cover letter is generally advised because it shows that you took the time to understand the project.
5. I want to be paid on an hourly basis. How can I track my working hours for the client?
If the project is not too big or you only want to work between certain hours, quoting an hourly rate certainly makes more sense. Tracking your time is a breeze on sites like Upwork. However, you can also use the Hubstaff time tracker software that also gives you automatic invoices.
6. What are the Deadlines like?
Different deadlines are set for each job. However, keep in mind that you can communicate directly with your client through many of the freelancer sites. You can consult with them and hammer out a schedule that works for the both of you.
7. How do I succeed at online freelancing?
You have to be very disciplined and motivated to work as a freelancer. If you are more likely to binge on Netflix than finishing up tasks when working from home, then maybe freelancing is not for you. Learn how to set goals and work within a schedule. This discipline will save you a lot of stress down the line.
Clients also appreciate a good communicator. It sounds like a piece of cake, but communication is the number one bane of a freelancing career. This practice cuts down any confusion that could arise and helps you establish a great rapport with the client.
Most importantly, remember to follow up after the job is done and dusted. Sending out that invoice should not be the end of the project. Rather, try your best to maintain that working relationship so that the client will turn to you when they need something done. After all, freelancing is about building strong networks and relationships.