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6 Steps to Becoming a Successful Freelancer

Freelancing allows you to work at your own pace and widen your professional network.

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Freelancing is not easy. In fact, for as many people who’ve found success in the field, there are just as many people who have failed tremendously. There are a lot of benefits to enjoy with freelancing. Not only does it allow you to work at your own pace, but it also exposes you to a lot of companies, businesses and professionals, widening your social connections.

A lot of freelance platforms are available online, like Upwork. Although the website traffic matters in terms of you getting hired, in the end, it all boils down to how you "sell" yourself to employers. 

So how exactly can you effectively be a freelancer and attract more clients? Here are the six most important steps. 

1. Join a freelance platform

The first thing is to sell your service in a place full of people who need it. Create profiles on different freelance platforms to widen your connections and get your name out there. This way, companies and professionals will know where to find you, and you’re surrounded by nothing but potential clients.

For instance, you can create a professional profile on Upwork. You input all your skill sets, experience, education, portfolio and other basic information. This way, potential clients can go over your profile and decide whether you’re fit for the job they want to be done. Through platforms like this, clients may also ask extra questions to get to know you better before they decide to hire you.

Related: Here are the Advantages of Working as a Freelancer

2. Publicize your services

Next is to not rely on the platforms you’ve joined. Connect with your social circles and make your services known to those whom you know personally. This way, your acquaintances, relatives, friends and maybe even your friends’ friends become potential clients as well. 

What’s great about this is that these potential clients will have little to no doubt about your skills and output since they themselves are aware of your capabilities. Never underestimate the connections you have with direct family and friends, as they can be very helpful in bringing you more clients through recommendations and suggestions.

3. Specify your niche

Now a common mistake a lot of freelancers make is being too broad when it comes to their skills. For example, placing only "writer" or "graphic artist" is not very attractive to clients, as the majority of them are looking for freelancers who can perform a specific job endlessly. You will not be working on a vague job. 

Hence, instead of generalizing your skills, try to sell within your niche specifically. So, if you’re a writer, you could go for "children’s blog writing" or "informative article writing."

4. Be active and responsive

You cannot just create an account, then leave it until you get a client. If you’re new and inexperienced, then there’s a high possibility that clients will stray away from you because of this. In this case, you’ll need to do the pursuing yourself and apply for freelance gigs. There should be a lot of work you can apply to on the same platform you’re using.

Also, you may want to consider having a lower hourly rate if you’re new. However, you can’t have it too low. Otherwise, your clients may think you only produce subpar work. Make it reasonable, yet lower than most freelancers. 

Furthermore, remember to be as responsive as possible — answer whatever queries clients have as soon as you receive them and always be professional and polite. If you get hired, then make sure to give updates frequently to assure your client that the project is done quickly and delivered on time. 

Related: 11 Best Websites for Freelancers to Find Jobs and Make Money

5. Be open for new work from the same client

If you’ve successfully gained a client, then you need to make sure that you meet or go beyond his or her expectations. This way, as soon as you deliver your work, you can tell that client that you are open to working for him or her again in the future. 

Remember that this won’t work if you’ve done badly on a job, so make sure to always produce only high-standard work. If you’ve noticed that clients' projects need more work than they specified at first, then try creating a new project with new objectives. If they’re thoroughly impressed with your previous work, then the chances of them trusting you on the work that follows are high. 

6. Don’t hesitate to work with others

Don’t be too overconfident and overwork yourself. If someone hired you for a big project that you’re unable to do alone, then inform the client that you will need to work with someone else for this. Do not take the credit yourself, as this will backfire. 

Clients highly value honesty and transparency. So, suppose you believe that you’re only able to finish the project excellently with the help of certain individuals. In that case, there’s no reason for the client to decline as it shows no hesitation on your end, only commitment to producing high-quality work.

As simple as these points may seem, these will really help in your journey as a freelancer and assist you in attracting more clients. Eventually, you will become self-sufficient and may even have enough means to create your own platform or company, where you can showcase and sell your services and skills to potential clients.

Success is not achieved overnight. If you want to delve into the freelance industry, then you can’t simply wait for a miracle to happen. Instead, you need to work with what you have and actively pursue your goals one step at a time.

Related: What Is a Freelance Agency, and How Can I Build One?

Ross Jenkins

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Ross Jenkins is the founder and CEO of DigitalME, a data-driven digital agency focused on growth.