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How to Start Your Online Freelance Career

Updated on March 19, 2019
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Jaco is a research addict who has dabbled in digital art, and freelance work.

If you're reading this article then you're probably more or less aware of what freelancing is, but for those that are not so sure, here's a quick description. Freelancing is when you offer to do any type of work for clients, but at your own rate and pace. You're basically working for yourself. Freelancing can be a great way to earn some extra income, or even supplement your full-time job if you're successful. Some examples of online freelance work are:

  • Writing: This can be anything from writing articles to even writing essays for people.
  • Digital Graphic Designs: This involves logo designs, digital art, illustrations, and basically anything that requires you to design original graphics.
  • SEO(Search Engine Optimization): This falls into the marketing category, and is a very popular line of work. There are always clients looking for freelancers that can help them with SEO.

Remember that these are only three types of work that an individual can offer to clients. There are other work available such as translating, virtual assisting and much more.

The Process

The first thing to consider is what exactly you're going to offer to your future clients. I would suggest doing something you're passionate about, and wouldn't mind doing for a living. The last thing you'd want to do is doing something you don't really want to. The lack of passion will not only show in yoir work, but will also affect how much time and effort you put into marketing yourself(we'll get to that a bit later), which is a very important aspect when you're just getting started.

After you've chosen the line of work you'd like to work in, you can go ahead and set up an account at one of the many online freelance platforms. I would definitely suggest Fiverr for people that's just getting started, but other platforms include Upwork, Indeed, Craigslist(you can advertise your work on Craigslist), and many more. The reason I suggest using Fiverr is that I personally use it for my freelancing gigs. It's easy to sign up, and you can create your first gig(advert for your work) right after you've signed up. The best part is that A LOT of people use Fiverr to get their work done, so landing your first sale within a month shouldn't be a problem.

Different Types of Work on Fiverr
Different Types of Work on Fiverr

Once you've got your account up and running you need to create your first gig. The gig will act as a type of advertisement for the work you have to offer. Just follow the easy onscreen steps and you should be good. Remember that you need to upload samples of your work for potential clients to look at, so you need pre-made samples available to upload while creating your gig. Use only your best work as samples, since your potential clients will be looking at them to get a better understanding of what you have to offer. Also, remember to be as descriptive as possible, and be professional. While you'll be working for yourself, you should still come of as being professional, otherwise buyers will look at someone else to do the work

By now you should have an account on a platform with an active gig. The next step is to promote your gig to make people aware of what you have to offer. There are many ways to go about this, but the easiest, and most effective way would be to promote your gig on social media. Post your gig on Facebook so that your friends know what you do, and ask them to share it with their friends. The further it goes on the web, the better. You can also promote your gig on Instagram. Promoting yourself across various platforms will greatly increase your chance to get more sales. I mentioned earlier that you should have a passion for what you do, and I meant it. The reason for this is that after you've created your gig, you have nothing more to do other than promoting your work. You'll have to promote your work on a continuous basis if you want to freelance full-time. You will get sales without promoting yourself, but it will be less than when you're actively promoting.

The last thing you'll need is a PayPal account. PayPal will allow you to receive payments from any online freelance platform. You can also use PayPal to get payments from clients you work with directly. Sometimes clients will contact you through email, and will want to do payments directly to you. PayPal will help you with this. You can then withdraw the money from PayPal to your bank account.

Hopefully this guide has given you more insight into becoming a online freelancer. The most important points are to be professional, and honest about what you have to offer. Also, remember to have patience. It will take time to build up a good reputation, but it's definitely worth the wait.

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