This post is a follow up to the previous post – Freelancing in India 101, Part 1 where we talk about branding, self discipline and the first few steps to take.
CREATE YOUR PORTFOLIO
As discussed in the previous post, a portfolio is a must. Whether you are a writer, a photographer, or a VA, your portfolio is your key selling point.
Think about it – Wouldn’t you rather get your website built from a developer who has a swanky website herself vs someone who “claims” to be web developer.
Your potential clients too will view you with the same lens.
Ideally, a portfolio consists of the clients and references you have worked with previously and some of your best work samples. The format differs as per your services.
If you are wondering how to build the portfolio without any prior experience, start out by contacting the brands you would like on your portfolio and offer your services for low prices initially. Once you have a stronger portfolio, you can increases your rates. You can also make up clients and create a portfolio with them in mind. Be sure to state it clearly that it’s not a real client but a representation of your vision.
So how do we go about displaying your portfolio? The easiest way is to create an online portfolio in the form of a website. GoDaddy has some wonderful discounts for first time users and you can use wordpress to build your own website. There are various YouTube tutorials available for the same too. But if you don’t want to spend time at it, you can always get the website made by someone.
Here are some more tools that will help you with your portfolio:
REACH OUT TO THE RIGHT CLIENTS
One of the most important aspects of freelancing is knowing the difference between good and bad clients. Bad clients are very easy to get. They pay very little for a lot of work, and usually you do not get any long term benefits from them. Good clients on the other hand will pay you the right worth of your services and enhance your portfolio. Some may even be happy to give you testimonials.
So how do you find these clients? Freelancing platforms like WorkSera, InstaTaskers, Upwork and Freelancer are full of jobs – both low and high paying. Therefore you have to venture out on your own. There are several Facebook groups that offer job board services for freelancers. You can check out some here:
There are many more such groups that you can find as per your niche. In addition to this, you can research some businesses that might require your services, and get in touch with them over the phone or by Email.
BE LEGALLY SOUND – AGREEMENTS & DOCUMENTATION
We have covered the importance of the Agreements and documentation. So here are some samples that you can use for your gigs:
CREATE A CALENDAR
Last but not the least, a Calendar will be your freelance career life force. You can stick to Google Calendar or pick from one of the many available on the internet. A calendar will help you align your process with your client’s requirements and work together with ease. Here are a few quick tips:
Make notes instead of events
Share the Calendar with your client
Remember to update it at the end of every day.
Track progress through the calendar.
How to stay afloat once you have begun….
I’ve got a couple of extra tips for you. They’re going to be really crucial for your success.
STAY AWAY FROM CHEAP JOBS
So now that you have ventured into the world of freelancing, it is very important to say no to some clients. Initially, you will be overwhelmed by new clients and will want to take up every new offer. But doing so will not only affect your productivity, but also your portfolio. Take up jobs that offer you real value. In terms of money, as well as experience.
HOW TO HANDLE DELAYED PAYMENTS
As a freelancer, delayed payments will be one of your biggest headaches. You will pull out your hair in anticipation as we are not used to intermittent payments in regular jobs. Unfortunately, at least for a year initially, you will not have fixed payments. And there will be certain clients who will delay their payments. So what do you do?
Well I say, Start strong! If you have proper documentation in place, the chances of delays or frauds are minimal. You can also use Escrow services in order to ensure that the payments are not delayed. PayPal is one of the most easily available solutions for the same.
In case of delay or absconsion still, you can always approach the cyber cell if the amount is hefty. But as a freelancer, it is always better to be safe than sorry!
THE GROWTH CURVE OF A FREELANCER
Once you achieve your financial targets, you will start moving towards work that interests you and you will be picky with your jobs. This is a good sign, as it means you are upgrading your career. Ensure that you have clear objectives of what you want from this job and update your growth periodically.
THE TEMPTATION OF A FIXED INCOME
There will be times when the lure of a fixed income will be heavy. You will wonder why you ever gave up on the prospects of a job. But you have to remember the reasons you picked freelancing and not give in to these moments of weakness.
Tip: refer back to the list you had made to identify your why.
It’s important to hang in there!
Given time, you will be earning much more than in a regular job. But every reward has its own struggle.
Here are my favourite 11 Mantras to take charge of your life and to prevent a burn out.
As a freelancer, you will not be privy to the regular training and updating that you get in a job. So it is important that you keep learning. There are various online courses that are absolutely free on sites like Coursera and Udemy. Keep learning new trends and skills, and your clients will be impressed by your commitment and knowledge of the field.
KEEP BUILDING YOUR PORTFOLIO
Most freelancers make a website once and never update it. It is the worst thing that you can do to your portfolio. An updated portfolio not only looks professional but will also rank higher in the search. Keep looking out for clients that can help build your brand and ensure that you keep updating your work on your website.
STRIKING A BALANCE
Most people will not believe this, but freelancers don’t have more time on their hands than regular employees. They just find the right balance. If you do not plan your schedule, you will be up at 4 AM trying to make a deadline in vain. And that beats the entire point of why most people turn to freelancing. If you want this to give you more time with your loved ones or more freedom to travel, you have to create a routine for yourself and stick to it.
A successful freelance career- what does it look like?
So does earning some money make you a successful freelancer? If that is what you want! The best bit about freelancing is that you can define your own success. If going to park with your kid on a weekday is your definition of success, it is possible, but so is earning three times as much as you used to.
Define your goals, and work hard, success with freelancing is right around the corner!
Remember building a meaningful life and career is totally within your reach!
If you are starting out and have any questions, please feel free to write to me in the comments below.