How to carve a freelance career out of what you love to do
Carving a freelance career out of what you love to do and are equally good at can be an excellent way to have greater balance in your life.
Like all careers, just because you love to do something does not mean it will always be a walk in the park. It will though help you be more determined to make it work. Setting up and sustaining a freelance business requires dedication, long hours at times, and a strategy that sets you apart from the competition. Here are a few steps to get you started.
If money was not an option, what activity would you love to do?
Identifying your passions and skills could lead to a variety of options. Consider your hobbies, interests, and talents, as well as any specialised knowledge you may have but have never thought to commercialise.
Once you have honed in on what you want to do, you have to see what the competition is doing and then tweak it. What could you offer that they are not? What skills do they have that you don’t? Is there freelance work and demand for what you are hoping to do? Consider rates you would change and whether that is per project or hour and vision of who your ideal client is. Start building a business around that ideal customer.
Build a portfolio to showcase your work
If you already have examples of your work, then you can start building your portfolio. If you do not have anything yet, then now is the time to start. Can you video what you do? Write about it? Think of ways that you can “showcase” your skills and abilities. Back this up with examples of your work, testimonials from satisfied clients, and a bio that highlights your experience and qualifications.
Once you have material create a website or social media presence to promote your services and showcase your portfolio. Use targeted advertising, word-of-mouth referrals, and other marketing tactics to reach potential clients.
Find your tribe
Start networking with others in your industry, including other freelancers, potential clients, and industry influencers. Join online communities, attend conferences, and participate in social media groups to connect with others in your field.
Just responding with comments on social media to illustrate your interest and knowledge can gather new followers to your social media sites.
If you are stumped about how much to charge in the beginning, make sure you do your homework. Do not undercut yourself, yet do not be so expensive you cannot gain traction. Be realistic and flexible, and don’t hesitate to negotiate with clients. You are a business now.
You can give a taster of what you do in a video. Illustrate what clients or customers will get and the time that they will save because of it; the knowledge they will gain; or other benefits that buying your products or services will help them achieve. Remember, it’s all about them.
Being persistent and motivated is always easier when you are doing something you love. You may have to tweak your offering; how much time you do something yourself and how much you may need to delegate to another supplier or even an apprentice or fellow freelancer. Success may not happen overnight, but with persistence and hard work, you can carve a successful freelance career out of what you love to do.