Freelancing is a status that is attracting more and more in The United Kingdom and around the world. This status undoubtedly offers flexibility and great freedom. When we interview successful freelancers, we often hear the same sources of satisfaction …
I went to interview some freelancers among the 9,000 entrepreneurs trained by LiveMentor, to confirm this trend:
Lola: “After 15 years as a lawyer in The United Kingdom, I realized that I was not fulfilled. I decided to become self-employed, and start my own business: selling jewelry online. I am totally independent, I manage my time as I wish and sell via my e-commerce site from Buenos Aires in Argentina! ”
Frédéric: “I have been a Copywriter for 2 years now. I write articles for health and wellness blogs. It’s amazing, I only need my computer to work and that anywhere as long as I have wi-fi. I manage my working time myself. I realize that after 40 years of working as an employee, I have finally found the true meaning of the word freedom. ”
Mathieu: “I am passionate about photography and mountain hiking. Thanks to my blog, I can do both and make a living. I have time for myself and I have decided to become a nomad for 6 years now ”.
As you can see, the feeling of freedom comes up over and over again in the testimonials.
But how do you get started as a freelancer?
Independence also has its share of drawbacks:
- Treat yourself to a quality computer;
- Pay for your own health insurance;
- There is not yet a real unemployment insurance for the self-employed;
Becoming a freelancer requires a great deal of preparation and a great organization to be able to live off it in the long term.
If you want to take the first step to becoming a freelance, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.
This article discusses four steps to becoming a freelancer in 2021.
I) The right questions to ask yourself before starting as a freelance …
Who are you ?
Rest assured, this is not a psychoanalysis session!
It is nevertheless a fundamental exercise! To become a freelance, you need to ask yourself the right questions.
- Which freelancer would you like to be?
- Would you like to work full time? Part time ?
- Do you want to travel?
- What life do you want to lead?
These questions should help you see more clearly in your project. If it does not agree with you, with your vision, it will eventually explode in flight …
Write down your ideas, even if they are unrealistic, even if they are vague. We will clarify them little by little during the article.
What can you offer your client?
Being a freelancer means selling a skill, knowledge and experience.
Which one are yours ?
Do you have a passion that can sell?
Do you have a skill that you learned in your old career that you now want to deliver online?
The more precise your answer, the more successful your launch will be!
And according to our experience at Livementor, it will be much easier for you to create a reputation, and to convince first clients on a subject that fascinates you.
No matter what skill, knowledge or expertise you are selling, you have to specialize!
Not specializing is a fatal mistake …
Many entrepreneurs, when they go freelance, make this mistake by telling themselves that having a generalist status will allow them to reach a greater number of clients.
It’s wrong !
First, it is impossible to meet everyone’s needs when you are alone. You will end up doing things halfway and rushing the job.
Above all, specializing allows you to stand out from other freelancers on the market.
Specializing helps catch the eye of the customer.
Because he will have more confidence in someone who specializes in a single field rather than in someone who has a generalist profile.
Specialization is a guarantee of expertise.
Take the example of the photographer specializing in parties:
If you’re celebrating your birthday, will you have more confidence in a photographer with a generalist profile or a photographer specializing in parties?
At parties, taking a good photo is very complicated.
Adjusting the camera parameters (movements, low light) with precision requires a great knowledge of the photo and therefore the expertise of the photographer.
You will therefore tend to contact the specialist photographer and not the generalist photographer.
Finally, you will see that if you do not specialize, you will have more difficulty setting your price!
Specialization will allow you to capitalize on your particular know-how, unique to yourself and difficult to imitate.
Is a market available?
Knowing your skills was a first step, but it is not enough. You need to know if there is a market to be able to sell.
I advise you to make a table:
|What are you good at?||What are you passionate about?||Available markets|
Make a list.
In the “available market” column, either check or put a cross.
If the first and the last column match then your answer will be the basis of your freelance activity.
And if the 3 columns match, that’s even better!
What resources do you benefit from?
It’s time to think about what concrete tools you will need to start working.
- How are you going to settle down?
Buy what you need to make a home office, or find a coworking space that’s affordable and convenient.
If you’re like me, you’ll sometimes be working in bed in your pajamas, but that’s not a good habit and it sure won’t be your most productive time.
Check your mobile phone contract: will you have a good enough connection when you start working from home?
- Is your wifi network strong enough to work?
- Should you invest in a printer?
- Do you need shelving at home to store your work stuff?
If you don’t have the money to invest in these things, make a wish list, in order of priority, and buy them as soon as you have the money.
II) The organization of a freelance life
The autonomy and independence of a freelance life require in return an exemplary organization.
You have to see it clearly.
Your head should be as light as possible: write your ideas down on paper or on a phone.
Set up an electronic diary: it is by planning your tasks that your deadlines will be respected.
Do not panic !
There is a tool for this: Trello.
It allows you to manage several projects at the same time and to know where you are. Your ideas are organized in the form of tables that you can prioritize according to the priorities of the moment.
A freelance life allows you to work when you want. Perhaps now is the time to break with the structure of a classic day: 8 am-5pm with a lunch break: in short, the typical day of an employee.
Freelance life gives you the opportunity to ask yourself this question: What time of the day am I most productive? The morning the afternoon the evening ?
Better to work fewer hours during the day, but being fully efficient!
III) Mistakes not to be avoided when starting a freelance activity
Don’t accept all projects
Pick the ones that best match your skills and interests so that you can showcase your abilities and present yourself as an expert in certain projects.
Don’t price too low or too high
If you don’t price it enough, you won’t be taken seriously, and if you price it too high, your customers will choose someone with more reasonable rates. You will have to do some research to find the right balance.
I advise you to read this article which explains how to set your hourly rate.
Always follow up with a client
Ask if he has any other similar work for you, or suggest a similar project that could help his business.
You can get back in touch with him a few months later to see if he needs you for another project.
IV) Find your first clients as a freelance
The goal is to be as visible as possible on the appropriate platforms so that the customer comes to you and not the other way around!
What is the most relevant social network for your business?
At Livementor, we advise you to choose one and maximize your efforts on it rather than wanting to be active everywhere.
For example :
If you sell jewelry online through an e-commerce site, you will tend to favor Instagram to highlight the visual side.
On the other hand, if you are a copywriter, and you write articles for blogs, Linkedin will be a better ally.
Follow important people in your field and potential customers.
Do not hesitate to observe how your competitors are acting. This often gives inspiration to develop a strategy (content, tone to use) and attract your future customers.
Don’t be afraid to miss! Social networks are always difficult to understand.
Start now, so you can start growing your audience and finding your identity.
Owning your blog is also a great way to attract clients as a freelancer.
The blog is a gateway on the Internet to the services and products that you offer.
But in any case, here too, you have to ask yourself the right questions:
How are you going to manage your marketing?
Are you going to post every week on your blog?
Finally, I think that in order to be a freelance you have to be patient above all. Cultivate long-term relationships with your customers and share content, news, etc.
And now I would like to have your opinion!
What business do you want to start and how will you specialize?
Anyway, let me know by leaving a quick comment below. 👇
About the Author
Benjamin is a writer at Livementor while exercising his passion full time: the theater. He has always been interested in commerce and enjoys sharing content to help those who want to grow their business.