Freelancing is a dream opportunity for any writer and most other professionals. You’ll get to set your own hours, choose your own clients, and have the thrill of potentially unlimited income. But starting a freelancing career from scratch is intimidating – especially if you’ve never done it before.
While working, you might be entirely self-reliant, but that doesn’t mean you have to build your freelance business alone. In fact, it’s better for you to rely on external resources for writers that can help you overcome your initial apprehensions and build the best possible career for yourself.
The Most Common Apprehensions
Ultimately, to start freelancing, you’ll need help in the following four areas:
- Skill. If you’re new to your chosen art, you’ll need time, practice, and exposure to industry influencers to build up your skills.
- Competition. Most freelance opportunities are flush with competition – especially writing since it’s such a popular form of work.
- Management. Freelancing isn’t just about performing your core services. You also need to manage your time, your clients, and your income.
- Growth. Finally, you’ll need to find ways to grow your freelance career from a side hustle to a full-time business (if that’s your goal).
Resources to Help You
So which resources can help you improve in those areas? These are some of the best:
- E-books. First, look for e-books. These are typically digital collections of information written to help freelancers get started or help them understand a specific topic in their field of expertise. Spera, for example, offers multiple e-books created to help freelancers get started in a new independent career. In many cases, e-books are free and offer in-depth guides and advice perfect for newcomers.
- Bloggers. You should also spend some time perusing blogs written by or for people freelancing in your niche. Make a Living Writing is one popular example. You’ll want to look for blogs that have a huge archive of past materials and are regularly updated with new articles. You’ll also want to look for authors who have had at least some experience in the freelance world, and for those with existing communities, you may be able to consult with further questions.
- Entrepreneurs. Freelancing makes you an independent contractor, but remember, this is still a business. Accordingly, you can look to other entrepreneurs for pointers and advice on how to get started. You could attend networking events to find other business owners and chat with them about the challenges of starting a new company, or tap resources intended for entrepreneurs – such as the Small Business Administration – for more information.
- Other freelancers. While you’re at those networking events, see if you can find at least one freelancer in your niche who has more experience than you do. While other freelancers may, on some level, represent the competition, they’ll probably be willing to give you some key pieces of advice to get started. They may even have spillover work they can send your way on occasion, so it’s never bad to have more freelancers like you in your network.
- Job boards. Remember to peruse job boards regularly (like Freelance Writing Gigs). You’ll probably find some interesting opportunities that will help you build your skill set. And even if you don’t, you’ll get some valuable information about the types of people and companies looking for workers. You can use that information to tailor your resume and portfolio and target your search in the future.
- Social media. Get on social media often. Here, you can look for influencers in your industry. They will serve as guides to develop your skills and improve your client targeting. You can also follow news leaders to get more information and closely monitor users who fall within your target demographics to get a better understanding of that audience. In the later stages of your freelance career’s development, you might be able to find new clients this way.
- Any paying client. Speaking of clients – you should get one as early as possible. You might be nervous to start, but the best way to learn anything is by doing it. Ask around your current network of contacts, and offer a discount on your services for new clients. Take any paying job you can get; it’s a chance to build your portfolio, develop your skills, and get used to managing the work.
If you tap these resources and are willing to commit to a long-term career, you’ll be able to turn your dream of freelancing into a sustainable profession. It won’t make you wealthy overnight, and you’ll probably face more challenges than you currently expect, but every mistake you make and challenge you face will ultimately make you a better freelancer – and set you up for a brighter future.