Freelance jobs allow you to earn some extra cash, gain experience working with clients and even explore different job fields. One of the best parts of being a freelancer is the ability to work as many or as few hours as you prefer. You’re completely in charge! Although business ownership may be challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding.
Not all freelancers aspire to ditch their current career and take on freelancing full time. And that’s totally okay! If you’re not looking to replace your 9-5, but want to begin freelancing, we’ve got you covered. Explore some tips to get started in your freelancing venture today.
Understand What Motivates You to Begin Freelancing
Once you put the proper systems in place to find freelance jobs and commit to work more efficiently, you’ll be freelancing like a boss in no time. Surprisingly, the part that’s much harder to figure out is learning what motivates you to freelance. Why do you want to take on a side hustle in addition to your current job?
By gaining a clear understanding of what’s driving you, you’ll be able to:
- Freelance in the field that you’re truly passionate about (versus what you have past job experience in, or what you’re good at).
- Work with the types of businesses and organizations you really care about.
- Network with other freelancers who share your similar interest, and continue to hone your professional skills.
If you’re looking to pick up freelance jobs in addition to your existing gig, it’s important you enjoy what you’re doing! Otherwise, you’ll start to resent your new work or worse, you’ll begin procrastinating and missing client deadlines.
Make a list of the following questions and commit to answering them honestly.
What motivates you to freelance?
- What comes to mind when you think about beginning your freelancing career? Is it additional income? Or the goal of eventually freelancing full-time?
- What is preventing you from starting your freelance gig today? It may be mindset beliefs or instead perceived financial obstacles.
- What assets would allow you to begin freelancing in the way you want to? Think specifics, like project management software or a new, more advanced laptop.
Exploring what freelance jobs are possible for you:
- What do I enjoy doing in my spare time (outside of my current job)?
- What jobs are possible within that field? For example, if you love animals, you could list jobs such as veterinarian technician, dog walker or pet sitter.
- Now, take it a step further and ask yourself what jobs are possible within the freelance field. For the pet lover, you could reach out to your local veterinarians and ask if they need any help with their digital marketing such as social media or a blog on their website. Chances are, there are more freelance jobs available in the industry you love than you may have realized.
Become Knowledgeable about the Basics of Business Ownership
It might come as a surprise to you that “freelancer” is synonymous with “business owner.” Don’t panic! It’s not as scary as it might seem if you take it step by step. Explore some of the basics of becoming a business owner today to get started:
- Consider setting up a separate business bank account to better manage your freelance financials.
- Gain an understanding of taxes related to your freelance business. Yes, even as a part time freelancer you will be required to pay taxes on your new income.
- Explore your options in terms of protecting your business by looking into forming an LLC, sole proprietorship, C Corporation or other type of business entity.
- Set business goals for yourself, both financially and from a workload perspective so you know what types of digital freelance platforms, project management software or other apps your work may require.
- Consider reaching out to other freelancers in your area as an exercise in networking. You never know where your next freelance jobs may come from, or when you simply need to vent about the challenges of business ownership!
If becoming a business owner freaks you out, look into some of the following online resources to gain some helpful information and point you in the right direction.
- Your local small business administration.
- An Adult Education network in your area that may offer insightful classes on business ownership and managing finances.
- Helpful blogs, message boards and Facebook groups filled with other hardworking freelancers like yourself.
Commit to a Better Schedule
Set yourself up for success by grabbing a hold of your schedule from the start. Juggling your current job, along with new freelance jobs will feel overwhelming if you don’t have a solid schedule mapped out. Whether you prefer an old-school paper planner, or more comprehensive scheduling and project management software, find what works for you to keep your upcoming deadlines super clear.
- Research digital freelance platforms that can make your life significantly more seamless when managing your new workload.
- Then, get even more specific tools to make various elements of your work easier. For example, social media management tools like Instagram schedulers.
- Map out when you’ll work on your freelance jobs during certain hours of the day and week. If you work best in the mornings, plan to block out the first several hours of your day for freelance work only. If weekends are the best option for you to get your new work done, reserve space on your calendar then to make it happen.
- Be sure to make your coworkers, friends and family members aware of your freelance working hours. This way, they’ll understand if you don’t immediately return their calls or emails. The more boundaries you set around balancing your working life with your personal life, the better.
- Start to prioritize your work items. By breaking out your tasks into subsets such as “very important,” “important” and “less important,” it becomes a lot easier to see what absolutely needs to get done each day. It also gives you a great place to dive in everyday when you’re trying to juggle multiple projects and clients.
Find (and Book) New Freelance Jobs More Easily
Spending an adequate amount of time perfecting a great resume and online portfolio is absolutely worth it when you’re going after new freelance jobs. Be sure you’re presenting your skills, past experience and testimonials in the best light to grab a prospective client’s attention right off the bat. Consider some of these pointers to nailing your portfolio:
- First and foremost, you need a clear, easy-to-use contact form so people can get ahold of you.
- Next, display at least 3-5 client testimonials on your online portfolio. If you haven’t had any paying clients yet, no worries. Offer your services complimentary to friends or family members in exchange for their testimonials. Remember, testimonials are a great way to get future freelance jobs.
- Think outside the box and add a fun element to your freelance portfolio, such as a video introduction or sample of your past work. This is a great way to stand out from the crowd of other freelancers.
- Research some of the freelancers and marketing professionals that you follow online. Make a list of 5-10 of your favorites, and then study their websites and portfolios (if they have them listed). The best way to get inspiration is to see what’s working well for others in your industry and then make the idea your own. Be sure you’re making your own online entities unique and not copying someone else’s!
- Consider reaching out to a mentor or someone in the industry you want to enter for advice. Chances are, people will be more than happy to point you in the right direction of what information to include that would catch their eye.
- Don’t be afraid to leverage your own, personal network! Make a list of all the friends and family members who have businesses or work for companies who are of interest to you. You never know who needs your help until you ask.
Explore How to Get Freelance Jobs While Working Your Current Job
Picking up freelance jobs can allow you to bring in more income and figure out what types of work you’re truly passionate about. Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to quit your fulltime job and dive in head first. Consider freelancing part-time to get a feel for being a business owner, first.
If your goal is to eventually freelance full-time, consider some of the following questions to reach your goal:
- How much money do I need in order to quit my current job and begin freelancing full-time?
- How many clients do I want to manage at once? Consider the number of hours you want to work per week and monthly in your freelance jobs.
- Am I confident that I have enough clients to go full-time? If so, where will I continue to find new clients if one of them doesn’t work out?
- Am I prepared to leave my current job on great terms? After all, you never know who you may end up working with again down the road, so this one’s important.
Consider exploring a comprehensive freelance platform and project management software to help you excel at your freelance jobs, month after month.