During the Covid-19 pandemic, the job market changed perhaps irreversibly. One of these changes was the instantaneous popularity of freelancing. Though some people had always freelanced on the side to make extra money, the volume of short-notice dismissals, furloughs, and redundancies led to people instantly having a large amount of free time and a sudden need for money. So, the freelancing market blew up.
Personally, I find freelancing is a great way to work a money-making venture around my full-time other commitments. And during our current pandemic situation, it’s a safe and easy way to make a lot of money, if you know how to do it well. Hopefully these 9 top tips will allow you to build a successful and lucrative freelancing business.
1: Identify your Niche and Target Market – Identifying your target market is incredibly crucial to developing a successful freelancing business in 2021. Figure out your ‘niche’, or what you have to offer clients that they will not just find on any other corner of the internet. For example, simply saying that you can write just will not do. However, if you have experience in proofreading, checking for plagiarism, or a degree in creative writing…these are things that will make you stand out. Your ‘niche’ will help you create a network of people who all benefit from your specific skillset, and they will (hopefully) recommend you to other people that they know in their network that could also use someone of your skillset.
2: Develop the Skills to Assist You in Your Niche – Sitting tight and hoping people come to you will not gain you freelancing work, and though it may seem like unnecessary work, this step is key in not only gaining new clients but maintaining existing ones. Show your market that you are developing your skillset, even as you work for them. Whether it is simply listening to a podcast on creative writing or marketing (whatever your skillset may be) or even taking an online course or programme; putting work into the services you are offering will show your clients that you are motivated and care about the work you do for them.
3: Develop Your Portfolio (Including Testimonials) – It is important to not only work for one client in developing your freelancing business. You need to ensure that you have a wide-ranging and ‘thick’ portfolio, including testimonials from previous clients. A developed portfolio will show potential clients that you are a serious freelancer, and that your work is not a hobby you will just drop at a moment’s notice. “As well as an impressive portfolio, client testimonials will give prospective client’s a level of confidence and increase their likelihood to choose you over another freelancer,” says Amanda Richson, a writer at Lia Help and OXEssays.
4: Finding Clients – As helpful as word of mouth from your current ‘solid’ network and friends and family can be, you need to go out of your way to develop your network in other ways. Helpful websites to join are freelance marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr, just two of the many platforms available for clients and freelancers to meet on the internet. On some platforms, the client will advertise their projects and accept applications; and on other platforms, freelancers advertise their skills and client’s get in contact with freelancer’s directly if their project fits into their wheelhouse. Put your business out there and you will discover new clients and ways to grow your network.
5: Utilise and Grow Your Network – Just like any business, network is key! Why do you think LinkedIn has become so popular in the business world? It is important to take care of your current clients, and make sure that repeat business is prioritised. Your returning clients should feel important because it is! Keep in touch with your repeat clients, ask if they need any help or have any new projects for you once you finish the current contract you are working on. This will in turn lead to the growth of your network. Happy clients will tell people they are happy! “Either through testimonials or simply through conversations within their own networks. Looking after your current clients will lead to growth in your network and improve your public profile and creditability in the freelancing world,” says Gill Palmer, a freelance editor at Boomessays and Essayroo.
6: Hustle!: Business does not seek freelancers out (usually, at least); we have to chase it! Apply for as many contracts as you can and be on every freelancing website that you can think of. Work will not find you if you do not chase it and spend a lot of time on it. Freelancers do not build a successful business by completing one contract and hoping that their client tells somebody about them. You cannot simply rely on word of mouth to grow your online profile and gain you potential new clients. Hustle is key to developing your freelance business.
7: Prioritise and Learn to Say No: As noted before, prioritisation is important. If you have a deadline of 2pm for one contract but you feel like you need to apply for some new contracts as well, the deadline for your current client takes more priority than gaining new ones; today at least. Know your limits too! You cannot feasibly take on 12 new contracts in a week where you have a massive amount of family commitments or need to complete a current online programme you are in the middle of. Learning to say no can be difficult for my Type A people (of which most freelancers are, by the way); but no successful freelancer will produce quality work on zero sleep.
8: Manage your Time Effectively – Similar to the aforementioned ‘prioritisation mantra’, time management is something that I had to learn very early on, as it did not come naturally to me. I found that setting alarms throughout the day on my phone (relevant to the tasks I had to complete that day) was helpful, as well as writing a ‘Day Plan’. There is no point in gathering dozens of clients and having multiple projects on the go at the same time unless you have a solid organisational plan. 3 happy clients with on-time submissions is much better for your business overall than 8 late submissions because of your lack of time management.
9: Efficient Communication with Clients: Communicate with your clients! When they send you a new project, acknowledge it and respond to every message. Clients will feel reassured with a simple and succinct string of replies to their messages. If you want to continue working with a client, tell them! At the end of every project, I would recommend ending the project by asking the client if they have any more projects that you could be a part of and if they would consider using you in the future.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, online freelancing has blown up in a way that no one really expected. The opportunity that freelance work presents for not only flexible working arrangements for the freelancer, but international collaboration for the client (and the opportunity to find the best in the field) is astounding. It is also proven to be an extremely lucrative field for those who have chosen to put the time and effort in to develop their freelancing profile and online presence. Hopefully these 9 top tips will allow you to develop a successful and lucrative online freelancing business during these interesting times.
About the Author:
Lauren Groff is both an article and creative writer, as well as an entrepreneur at Research paper writing service and Do my coursework. She enjoys reading and writing different articles in many separate fields. Lauren loves reading and writing about everyday subjects and helping people in their day-to-day lives with what she writes. She also writes for Essay writing service.