7 Steps to Kick-start Your Freelance Career

Freelance career

1. Choose a skill

If you wish to start a business or even work for one, you must first identify your unique skill set. Are you a problem solver? Do you enjoy creating digital content and engaging with others? Do you like to manage projects and people? Knowing what you’re skilled in and passionate about can help you determine the type of work and services you can offer as a freelancer.  Learning new skills and tools can also be beneficial to starting a freelance career. If you know your ideal role or industry, find free or low-cost online classes or training programs that will help you improve or upskill.  There are a lot of easy-to-learn skills that an individual can make the most of in the freelancing world. A few in-demand skills include copywriting, SEO search, project management, and machine learning. Learning is a lifelong process that will help you grow in your personal and professional life.

2. Identify your target clients

After mastering the skill of your choice and understanding all aspects that come with it, now is the time to select a target client who requires your unique skills. There is always demand present in the market if you have the right skill set. Understanding that not all clients are created equal, look for companies or entrepreneurs whose mission and values align with yours. Create a list of ideal audiences you would like to work for and use it as a baseline as you begin searching for gigs. When approached by clients, do your homework and ask questions to determine if you’d be a good match. This will help you assess your needs and wants in a client. Once you’ve identified your ideal client, it’s time to market yourself.

3. Use social media

Establishing an online profile is vital to building a freelance career. Social media is a valuable tool that can connect you with like-minded professionals as well as potential clients. When identifying a reputable freelancer, clients want to quickly access information about a talent. This can include your bio, services, testimonials, and a link to your portfolio. Leveraging platforms aimed at your target audience will increase your visibility, network, and access to opportunities.

Once you’ve determined which social media platforms fit your personal brand and professional market, you should create content that highlights who you are and what you offer.

4. Define your goals

Why do you want to start freelancing? This is an important question to ask yourself before you get started. Freelancing takes discipline, time management, and interpersonal skills. When you identify your whys, you can then define your goals. Do you want to make a certain amount of money each month? Do you want to work no more than 30 hours a week? Are you looking to secure five clients by the end of the year? It’s important to have personal goals in every aspect of your life. When freelancing, setting goals will help you achieve success. Keep track of your progress so that you can celebrate the wins, learn from the challenges, and even reassess your goals as you go. 

5. Create a portfolio

A portfolio is a common ask from prospective clients. Showcasing your talents and experience goes beyond your resume. The good thing is, in today’s workforce, a portfolio can be anything from a physical binder to a PDF, website, or landing page. Be sure to compile your best work that’s relevant to your services and role. Most portfolio-hosting platforms or websites are free or minimally priced and easy to set up using pre-built templates. Be sure to include a link to your portfolio on your social media account, personal or professional website, and resume or talent profile. By going through your portfolio, the client would be able to assess the quality of your work and determine if you are a great fit for each other.

6. Make use of your current network

While you are starting off freelancing, it’s best to make the most out of existing contacts. Use your friends, family, schoolmates, and co-workers to ensure that your services have a client base. By leveraging your community, you can get the starting push that you need to find success. If you have completed quality and relevant work for someone you know, ask them to write a testimonial, which will serve as a reference, or even endorse your skills on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Oftentimes, your freelance career is built from word-of-mouth referrals.  Additionally, if no one in your network is hiring, they may have leads on opportunities. Networking is crucial in any business, but when it comes to freelancing, it is extremely important and can lead to many clients and gigs. 

7. Choose a talent platform

There are many platforms on the internet through which you can find people who are in need of your services. In growing regions of the world, such as Africa, freelancing has grown considerably. Over 10% of the world’s freelancers are from Africa. Make sure that the platform you choose is authentic, those that ask you to submit or deposit a security amount should always be avoided. Seek talent platforms that are free, reputable, and transparent. Keep in mind, that some platforms require freelancers to bid on projects. If you want to easily find clients and projects, research platforms that fit your preferences. 

The Bottom Line

The world of freelancing is on the rise across the globe. In growing regions of the globe, such as Africa, many people are freelancing on platforms such as Gebeya. Talents can easily find jobs, and companies can seamlessly access pre-vetted, skilled, and professional freelancers. Freelancers continue to transform the global workforce, and that’s why our platform is designed to match the right talent with the right client every time.

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