You may have heard the term freelancer and wondered what it means. A freelancer is someone who is self-employed and not committed to a particular employer or client long-term. People may also refer to freelancers as gig workers or independent contractors.
Examples of freelancers
Freelancing is common in creative industries such as writing, design, music, acting, and online media. Some examples of freelancers include:
- Graphic designer
- Web designer
- Makeup artist
- Video editor
- Audio editor
Some freelancers decide to pursue self-employment after working as an employee in their field, while others may start freelancing as a way to shift careers.
How freelancers get paid
Freelancers earn most of their revenue by billing clients for the work they do. They can also earn revenue from sponsorships, affiliate links and advertising on their website, coaching other freelancers, or by creating content such as ebooks or templates for purchase.
How to start freelancing
If you want to start freelancing, here are three important steps to get your first client:
1. Define your offers
Before you can pitch your services, you need to be clear on what it is you actually do. If you are a freelance writer, choose a topic or beat that you want to cover. If you are a freelance graphic designer, decide whether you want to create graphics for digital media, print books, or another medium. The more specific you can be, the better able you can find a client who needs your skills.
2. Define your ideal client
Once you know what kind of freelance work you want to do, you need to identify your ideal client. What kind of person or organization needs your services? An engaged couple looking for a wedding photographer has very different needs than an interior designer looking for an architectural photographer. Understanding your ideal client will help you market to them more effectively.
3. Reach out to potential clients offering your services
Finally, make a list of potential clients who might need your services. Don’t just tell people you’re freelancing. Offer a solution to their specific problem. For example:
- I can shoot and edit a video to help you sell your house more quickly.
- I can write a story that your readers are interested in.
- I can apply makeup for your wedding so you feel beautiful and confident.
Why freelancing is a good career option
Because freelancing can be inconsistent, you will need to have plans and processes to manage your finances and schedule. You also need support to stay organized and self-motivated to get work done without a boss checking on you all the time.
Freelancing offers a lot of flexibility in your schedule as well as the type of projects you work on. You can choose projects that fit your strengths and interests, and choose clients that respect your needs and expertise.
If you’d like to learn more about freelancing as a career option, check out our Spark 101 class!