COVID-19 has revitalized the gig economy where it had stagnated before. These days, more and more people are trying the freelance life for themselves, either as a full-time transition or just on the side.
If your job routine was disrupted from COVID-19 and you want to join the gig economy for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will break down how you can get started no matter what you want to do.
Pick Your Freelance Niche
For starters, choose a freelance niche in which to work. These days, you can pursue freelance work in just about any industry or field. Several easy examples include:
- Professional photo editing
- Video editing
- Website design
- Closed captioning
The list goes on. With so many choices, you’ll need to choose one that suits both your skills and your interests. The whole point of going into the freelance sector is to love your work more than if you clocked in from 9 to 5 at an office, right?
Determine Your Pricing Points/Costs
Your next step is to figure out your pricing points or rates. It’s an excellent idea to create a freelance contract template that you can use for all your new clients. Written freelance contracts allow you to specify the deliverables (i.e. the actual products you’ll deliver your clients), the due date for your deliverables, and how much your clients are required to pay you.
Written contracts are better than verbal agreements any day since they protect you from legal liability or accusations of lying. Furthermore, they allow you to take a client to court if they decide to not pay you for your work.
As a bonus, written contracts are easier to stick by when it comes to pricing. It’ll be harder for clients to try to haggle you down to cheaper prices if the cost is in ink before their eyes.
Learn to Avoid Common Client Scam and Fraud
You’ll also want to practice identifying and avoiding scams or fraudulent clients. There are tons of clients in every industry looking for new freelancers they can scam, such as by taking advantage of free trials or free work in exchange for promotions.
Practice a few key strategies to avoid untrustworthy clients:
- Do some research on their names and businesses before signing a contract with them
- Ask to speak to them over the phone or face-to-face – scammers will seldom agree to this
- Ask for a deposit upfront, such as a proportion of the total asking price. This prevents clients from trying to take some small amount of work from you and run without paying you a dime
Build a Network of Clients and Contacts
It’ll take time for your freelance business, whatever it is, to become profitable since you’ll need to build up a client list over time. This is especially true since there are more freelancers than ever to compete with. To do this, focus your first few months on building up a network of clients and contacts.
You can get these contacts from almost anywhere, including sites like LinkedIn or job boards like Upwork. You can also contact people in your local area, including friends and coworkers, to see if they need a freelancer of your skills.
The good news is that this unpaid work gradually becomes less and less important. You’ll eventually get a client list that you can rely on almost in perpetuity, especially since you’ll be referred to new clients from time to time by existing, satisfied clients.
Stick with It!
Last but not least, stick with your freelance business, even if it seems tough at first! This industry is among the most successful and rewarding, especially if you have the perseverance and skill to make it happen. COVID-19 has introduced so many more people to the freedom and joy of freelancing – take the opportunity that the pandemic has provided and run with it!