Freelancing is ‘the’ thing, especially since the pandemic struck the world and left millions jobless in the US and around the world. As per a recent report by Upwork, freelancing alone contributes a whopping $1.2 Trillion to the nation’s economy. And this number is all set to increase in the coming years. More than one-third of the entire United States is freelancing one way or the other according to recent surveys. So, what’s the main reason behind this drastic increase in freelancers over the years? The answer is: people are adapting more to the ongoing changes and are more skilled than their previous generations. This knowledge and the power of the internet helps freelancers find more projects and make money. If you haven’t tried freelancing yet, this is your sign to start now. Have trouble starting? Or don’t know where to find freelancing gigs? We’ve got you covered! In this article, we will talk about how, as a freelancer, you can find more projects, and add extra bucks to your bank balance.But, before that, it is obvious to define the term ‘freelancer’ and how this term came into existence.
According to Investopedia, “A freelancer is an individual who earns money on a per-job or per-task basis, usually for short-term work. A freelancer is not an employee of a firm and may therefore be at liberty to complete different jobs concurrently by various individuals or firms unless contractually committed to working exclusively until a particular project is completed.
Conventional Ways of Getting Projects as A Freelancer
Freelancers existed and thrived before the internet era too, but they were less in number. Finding success in freelancing was purely a game of chance and mostly dependent on the professional contacts of the person. Freelancing used to be an insider thing; those who knew how and where to get clients flourished their freelance business.
Over the decades, freelancing has come a long way. Most of the old methods of finding clients are dying. Let’s take a look at some of these conventional methods that freelancers used or have been using to find clients.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth has been the single best way of finding high-profile clients. Beginners, as well as experienced freelancers, have been dependent on the word of mouth technique to get projects since time immemorial. To be honest, word of mouth works wonders for talented freelancers only. Initially, it takes time to establish authority as a freelancer but once people start appreciating your work, most of them recommend your name when a requirement pops in. Word of mouth has no limits and it works like a miracle in some instances.
Print advertisement/ Business cards
This is another way of finding clients that have been used by freelancers before, as well as after the internet arrived. Business cards are a commonplace thing for professionals hailing from all walks of life. Businessmen, entrepreneurs, CEOs, corporate workers, freelancers, you name it, all use business cards to expand their professional network.
Another conventional way of finding clients is print advertisements. Although the use has been minimized and has been non-existent after the internet, many freelancers still prefer to offer their services via a print advertisement that shows their contact and details along with the services they offer.
Website ads also play a pivotal role for freelancers when it comes to finding clients on the internet. There are several websites where freelancers post their services, like Craigslist, LinkedIn (discussed later in this ebook), classified websites, and almost every other website that deals with freelancers.
Freelance agencies serve the role of a middleman and help freelancers in finding high-paying clients. Since the beginning of freelancing, there have been thousands of such agencies that establish or deal with a network of freelancers.
Cold emailing is the process where freelancers pitch their services to potential clients via email. This technique became popular after the email was introduced. Nowadays, cold email has become a commonplace thing and has become saturated. Nonetheless, it is an effective process. Cold emailing has come a long way, and freelancers keep on experimenting with the techniques-some of them work and some don’t.
Modern ways of finding projects as a freelancer
Now that we have discussed the conventional ways of finding clients, let’s discuss some of the modern ways that have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to the internet and social media in particular.
Social media network
Social media has drastically changed the freelance industry. The impact of social media on freelancing is in itself a huge topic. Billions of people already use social media and the number is set to increase in the coming years. This makes social media a great place to start as a freelancer in modern times. Social media has a huge potential as these platforms are frequently used by clients looking for freelancers. Some of the best social media platforms for freelancers are-
These platforms have a slew of audiences from various backgrounds and age groups. More people use these platforms, therefore, the chances of finding a client are higher.
Facebook has the highest number of users than any other social media platform. Freelancers can make their page and advertise their services. Work specific groups are also there that help in group discussions and finding gigs.
Twitter is a microblogging website that has millions of active users that post their ideas and feelings via a tweet. The audience on Twitter is mostly made of working professionals. This platform is a great place for freelancers to build their fan following and find potential clients.
LinkedIn is a social networking platform that focuses on showcasing the professional side. This makes it a perfect platform for freelancers to enlist their professional experiences, achievements, and build a professional network. Finding clients on LinkedIn is easier as freelancers can indirectly look for the credentials of potential clients and decide if they want to go ahead with them or not.
Similarly, clients also reach out to freelancers they want to work with via LinkedIn. Therefore, a LinkedIn account is highly recommended for freelancers.
Instagram has come a long way and is now more than just a photo-sharing app. It has the highest number of active users in the US, therefore, a great place for freelancers to stop by and explore its potential. Freelancers can make excellent use of carousels, IGTV video, and Instagram Reels to reach out to potential clients.
Niche platforms are specific to a certain profession, like Behance is a social media network where artists and designers can showcase their portfolios. Some of these niche-specific social media platforms are-
Both of them are platforms for designers, artists, graphic designers, interior decorators, architects, etc.
Medium is a blogging platform for writers all around the world. Freelance writers can use Medium to publish their sample articles and get leads in return.
GitHub is a platform for programmers and is an excellent platform where people find website designers and android developers for their brand.
Online ads/ social media ads
Recently, several top freelancers have started running ads on the internet and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach a wider audience. Running ads may sound pricey but the results actually pay off, if the ads are executed properly. Running ads requires research and countless hours of planning. Also, social media ads work best for already established freelancers.
The Internet is full of websites that provide gigs to millions of freelancers around the world. These websites host clients and freelancers bid for projects. It is not an easy task, but it takes courage and patience to play the long game. Many freelancers start their journey from these platforms. Some of the most popular freelancing platforms around the world include-
- People per hour
Everything that people do on the internet plays a huge role in their personal branding. When it comes to freelancers, personal branding is the first and the last impression. Therefore, freelancers around the world are dedicating more time to establishing and improving their personal brands.
It isn’t just about showing the lavish life you’re living or the number of hours you are spending per day freelancing, personal branding is more about the relationship you have with the audience along with the work ethic.
Nowadays, more and more freelancers are maintaining their own websites. Having a website is comparatively cheaper than before and gives more freedom to freelancers. Therefore, if you are a freelancer and don’t have a website yet, consider making one. It will amplify your authority and set you apart from the pool of other freelancers.
How much money can you make as a freelancer?
There’s no limit to what a freelancer can make in a day, month, or year. It all depends on the capability of the freelancers and the number of clients he/she is dealing with. However, roughly speaking, freelancers do make an estimated amount of money per month or year.
According to one of the most popular freelancing platforms Upwork.com, here are the earning trends of freelancers in the United States.
- As of 2020, an average freelancer’s hourly rate in the US is $20.
- Of all the people who have quit their full-time jobs to become freelancers, 60% of them earn more than their previous jobs.
- Freelancers with more experience earn double the amount made by a regular freelancer.
The total money a freelancer can make in a month depends upon the skill set, the role, the expertise, and personal branding. Here is the average annual income of freelancers from various fields, according to Upwork.
- Editors- $40,000
- Writers- $42,000
- Programmers- $120,000
- Designers- $90,000
- Transcribers- $32,000
- Developers- $100,000
- Photographers- $42,000
- Online marketers- $100,000
- Data analysts- $100,000
Finding new projects as a new freelancer might sound challenging to beginners at present. In the beginning, there is cluelessness and chaos regarding everything. If you stand at the same place, you need to analyze the surroundings first, in this case, the internet. Once this is done, you can take the first step and start looking for clients. At the same time, if you are an already established freelancer and find it hard to keep pace with the changing work environment, then this is your high time to adapt to these changes and start afresh with a new approach.