Transition To Freelancing: A Step-By-Step Plan

You have definitely decided that you want to work for yourself and at the same time are confident in your skills – you have undergone some kind of training and you can solve problems for clients, even the simplest ones. After reading our article How To Freelance As A Web Developer. Then you can switch to freelancing.

Step 1: organizing the workplace

Often this step is neglected or postponed until later. However, you will need a properly organized workspace in any case, so it is best to organize it just before looking for clients. Ideally, make yourself a separate office, but this is not always possible. At a minimum, allocate your own corner where you put the computer. Try to make the workspace comfortable, but at the same time not distracting.

This step is important as many fail to discipline themselves to work from home, getting distracted too often in the process. As a result, the working day stretches for an indefinite time, plus, you constantly do not have time for anything. An organized workplace is certainly not a panacea, but it can help build discipline.

Step 2: put together a portfolio

We wrote in detail about the collection of a portfolio and its presentation here. In short, projects need to be drawn up in the form of a case, where you need to describe in detail:

What is the project about, what is it for, what tasks does the user and the client solve, and what kind of participation did you make in its implementation. You do not need to attach a detailed technical task, just briefly describe what was required of you and what kind of project.

Choose projects with readable code if you are going to demonstrate it in a case. Also, don’t forget to comment code blocks.

Work on the visual design of each case in the portfolio. Even if you are only writing code, you still need to work on the design. No one requires any unusual solutions – a neat and understandable visual design of the project is enough. So, it will at least be pleasing to the eye, therefore, it will be opened and familiarized with it with a greater probability.

Step 3: Tell us about yourself

A detailed resume is optional, but you need to indicate: your experience, skills, contacts, a link to a portfolio, write a little about yourself. The list of posted information and its design depend on the platform on which it is hosted. Some freelance exchanges ask you to simply fill in the “About Me” column and nothing more. The same is true for social networks. Other platforms may have multiple blocks that must be completed separately.

We have an article about writing a resume for an IT specialist. Some tips from it will also be relevant for a freelancer, for example, take a good photo, describe relevant work experience, skills. The only thing is that on most platforms this needs to be done in a condensed form – few people will read text on several A4 pages. True, here you can be “creative” using a non-standard story about yourself, the main thing is that it gives a detailed idea of \u200b\u200byou as a specialist.

With “creative” when talking about yourself, you need to be more careful. An interesting and non-standard text, if presented correctly, can set you apart from other freelancers and, therefore, give you additional clients. However, if the “creative” does not enter, then there is a risk of losing some of the customers. If you are not sure, then it is better to get by with standard information about yourself by looking at how other freelancers do it.

Step 4: See what others have

You are not in a vacuum and you will see profiles of other freelancers more or less successful than you. Study them. You will be able to highlight the mistakes of a particular person or vice versa successful cases and use them when designing your profiles. Just don’t blatantly plagiarize. Yes, not everyone is punished for this, but if they find out about it, then an unpleasant situation may arise.

Step 5: Be active on multiple platforms

The most difficult thing for a beginner freelancer is to find the first clients. The chances of success increase if you use several platforms at once. At a minimum, it is recommended to create accounts on the largest sites. Complete your profile for them and start responding to orders. At first, you will have to spend most of the day on responses and correspondence with customers. If you have good works in your portfolio, a clear description of yourself as a specialist, then the first clients can be found quickly enough.

Don’t forget about social networks. Even if you plan to look for clients on freelance exchanges, it’s better not to abandon social networks and not expose anything compromising there. In general, it is better to create a separate work account through which you promote your services, communicate in professional communities. This profile should become your “visiting card” on social networks. A personal profile that is not intended for work is best made private, if possible.

Step 6: Take advantage of the platform

Some freelance sites offer additional features that will be useful for beginners. Often, they come for an additional fee: PRO-account, advanced verification of personal data, professional tests. Use them as actively as possible. They are relatively inexpensive, but will allow you to slightly highlight your profile in the list of applications for projects.

Pay special attention to professional tests. Somewhere they can be rented for free, and somewhere for a small fee. Passing them will allow you to get an additional rating on the site, plus a special badge on the profile that this or that skill is confirmed. This way you can show potential customers that despite the lack of reviews, you know how to work with this or that technology, therefore, you can be useful.

Step 7: Submit your applications

On freelance sites, you can often find responses to projects like “I’ll take it to work!” or some standard long copy-paste about great experience. Such applications do not carry much informational benefit for the client, and often look like spam, and therefore scare off a potential customer. Only profiles with a very high rating and the number of positive reviews can afford such “standard unsubscribes”. A beginner will not be able to take an order to work for so long.

There is only one advice – write a relevant response to the task, without the standard copy-paste about rich experience. Briefly describe to the client how you will work on his project, mention if you have already done something similar and provide a link to the project. This way you will greatly increase your chances of getting the first project even despite the lack of reviews.

Step 8: Start building your personal brand

Having received at least some positive reputation and the first more or less regular customers, it is strongly recommended to think about positioning yourself as a brand. Keep your blog on social networks, where you will talk about your everyday life and share interesting solutions to popular customer problems. This blog doesn’t have to be big. For the first time, a small number of subscribers will suffice. A weighty argument will be that you regularly publish content in it, therefore, value your reputation and “not just decided to try it”, but this greatly increases the trust of potential customers.

Step 9: Launch an ad campaign

This is an optional step if you have enough of those orders that you can collect for free on freelance sites, on social networks, or based on recommendations from other clients. To launch advertising, you will need to “tidy up” the advertised profiles so that they look attractive in the eyes of a potential customer.

You can advertise using the tools built into the platform. They are in any social network. On freelance sites, this is more difficult, since advertising is not everywhere, and what they offer to buy as advertising is some kind of dedicated profile location in project applications.

If you have your own website, then you can advertise through search engines. To do this, you will first have to assemble a relevant semantic core, on the basis of which the campaign will be built. This solution is usually used by more established freelancers, since this advertisement requires more investment in terms of time and finances, but it also provides a good return.

Navid Anjum

Full-stack web developer and founder of Laravelaura. He makes his tutorials as simple as humanly possible and focuses on getting the students to the point where they can build projects independently. https://github.com/NavidAnjum

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