How to be a freelancer
Freelancing and working remotely from home is becoming one of the most desirable ways to earn extra money these days. Hundreds of online job sites are now offering various types of jobs like data entry, audio/video transcription, proof reading and creative writing jobs and all can be done from the comforts of your own home. No need for daily corporate attire budget, no need to deal with the irritating rush hour traffic, no worries about coming home late due to mandatory overtime requirement. Yes, really. Now, do I have your attention?
If you want to know more on how to become a successful freelancer, below is the general step-by-step procedure being applied by majority of the top freelancing sites one has to undergo to start earning from home:
Register in reputable online job portals. The first thing you have to do is to conduct a research on the most reputable and trusted online freelancing sites. Check the site/company background of your top choices and read the reviews of some who are already members of the site. Examples of these online job portals are Upwork (previously Odesk and Elance), Freelancer, Guru and iFreelance, just to mention a few. Once you’ve decided on which ones you like, start your registration process.
Submit all needed documents for verification. Once done with the preliminary registration process, some sites will require you to submit/upload some documents to prove your identity, usually government issued IDs, to be reviewed within 24 to 48 hours.
While waiting for this process to be completed, make sure to review the terms and conditions of using the online job site including the FAQs.
Work on your Freelancer Profile and professional portfolio. Start working on your profile. It’s a must to add a professional looking photo and detail your work background with years of experience and expertise, your achievements and technical skills especially those where you have obtained a license or certification. Keep in mind to focus on your qualifications that would show you as most qualified to do the job.
You will be allowed to upload some samples of the items you have worked on before like a MS Powerpoint presentation, a Photoshop edited picture with “before and after” images or an MS Excel Chart and Analysis. Again, work on your portfolio based on your technical skills – things that you yourself have worked on - and the services you will be able to offer.
Complete some tests and skills certifications. Another way to highlight your skills and increase your chances of being hired is to complete some tests and certifications if available to be taken in your chosen online job site. Make sure to complete and pass first those related to your skills and offered services, to be displayed in your profile page.
Below are examples of these tests and certifications. Some can be general and common skills test and some can be very specific;
- UK/US English Basic Skills, Language Translation, Word Definition, Usage & Spelling tests
- Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint Certifications
- Call Center Skills, Customer Service, Computer Aptitude, Phone & Email Etiquette tests
- Data Interpretation, Analytical Skills tests
What do you think?
Consider the job categories and other details. There are various job categories and details you need to consider before sending out your applications. You will need to choose which job categories best fit your skills.
Some examples of job categories are as follows;
- Admin Support
- Customer Service
- Sales & Marketing
- Creative Writing
- Creative Design
- Data Analytics
- IT and Networking
Aside from the categories, most sites will require you to indicate your experience level; beginner, intermediate or expert.
Categorizing and adding your experience level will help narrow down the choices you will have displayed in your feed when looking for the right job as well as help clients in looking for the right freelancer. Furthermore, make sure to classify if you would like to apply to full time or part-time jobs, also if the job is hourly or project-based.
Start sending out your job applications. As soon as you have completed your checklist from registration to completing certifications, and of course, you have already received the approval of your identity check, it is time to send out your job applications. Bear in mind that clients do not rely only on your completed profile to decide if you are the perfect match to their job post, not even to be short-listed.
“First impressions last” – this is also applicable when applying to job postings. So submit your application with a professional and personalized cover letter. This would show the client that you actually read their job posting down to the bottom of the page. Some would even go above expectation by sending a video application link via YouTube. Whether you’ll send a video or a great cover letter, you are not prohibited to step up your game to increase your chances to advance to the next level.
Impress and make an impact during your interview/s. Most clients offering freelancing gigs and online jobs would usually conduct a preliminary exam and/or conduct an interview or series of interviews, usually via Skype. So once you get a Schedule for Interview proposal, and if you are all good with the preliminary terms and conditions and requirements, if there are any, then immediately respond to confirm your availability.
Prior to the interview, conduct your own research about the company and work on the other things you usually do when preparing for an on-site job interview. If not specified, politely ask if it’s going to be “voice only” or if with camera. Wear appropriate attire based on how it’s going to be done.
Once hired, make it a self-commitment to always deliver a stellar service. For new freelancers, it might take a while to get hired since most of the reputable clients would usually hire intermediate or expert freelancers. The starting project fees could also be lower compare to the standard rate especially if you don’t have enough satisfactory credentials and client feedback in your profile page to prove you are the best freelancer for the job.
Fact is it is not going to be easy. So the moment you get your first job contract, breathe and celebrate for a bit, then give it your best and provide a stellar service. Keep in mind, an outstanding job outcome mean a satisfied client, a satisfied client means a continuous flow of projects. If you happen to land on a full time job, paying hourly, that could go on for months on your first contract, you are lucky than most.
Continue learning and completing skills certifications. As a freelancer, you will have the chance to apply to different per project job postings. If you are up for it, being a freelancer can be adventurous and exciting. Hence continuous learning and technical training is encouraged.
The more skills and knowledge you equip yourself with, the more chances of you getting hired, the more job you get signed on, the more you improve your skills, improved skills mean great output and/or service, great output and/or service is equivalent to happy and satisfied clients, happy clients mean an increased possibility of rehire.
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
— Michael Jordan
Starting out as a freelancer is not going to be a walk in the park. You will need a lot of patience, determination and perseverance. But just like the thousands worldwide who are already earning from home as freelancers, finding success at the same time, having more time with your family from the comforts of your home is not impossible. You just have to really want it and work hard enough to get it.
Share your thoughts!
© 2015 Sheila Navio-Pornan
Sheila Navio-Pornan (author) from Manila, Philippines on November 09, 2020:
Hi Cziarinna! Thanks for sharing!
Cziarinna Samson on November 02, 2020:
Thank you for this information. For more tips please visit https://www.fvaconsultancy.com/growing-your-freela...
Romina Tuazon from Philippines on October 31, 2020:
Thank you for sharing this information. Please check: https://rominatuazon94.wixsite.com/virtualrt
Rafael Jr Navera on October 10, 2020:
Thank you for sharing these Wonderful and helpful tips.
Hi there I'm Rafael Jr. Navera from the Philippines. I hope you can visit my website also. Thank You.
Sheila Navio-Pornan (author) from Manila, Philippines on October 10, 2020:
Thanks for your time and for sharing your page, too.
Margie Maningo from Mati, Davao Oriental, Philippines on October 06, 2020:
Thank you for sharing this, it's a great insight especially for someone new in freelancing.
Hope this would help too.
ghiequiniano on September 30, 2020:
Thanks for sharing! Hope that this would help too.
Sheila Navio-Pornan (author) from Manila, Philippines on September 03, 2020:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Cockinie03. Glad I could help.
Cockinie03 on September 03, 2020:
This article is very informative. Your ideas help a lot of those beginners in the industry like me. Hoping soon I can share my knowledge and coming experiences.
Tere Rodelas on July 04, 2020:
This is a very inspiring and informative article that can help a freelancing newbie like me. In this time of the Covid19 pandemic, many people decided to work at home. Keep inspiring and sharing your knowledge with freelancing aspirants.
Sheila Navio-Pornan (author) from Manila, Philippines on October 10, 2015:
Hi Lipnancy! It is similar is most ways esp. during the hiring process. Probably the most significant differences are being able to do it all at home and being your own boss, that is directly dealing with your client and not having to go through anyone else.
At the end of the day, whatever the result is, you directly answer to your client instead of worrying about a low score in your performance scorecard which could possibly lead to unemployment. So if you don't get any more future projects/jobs due to poor performance, you only have yourself to blame.
Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on October 10, 2015:
It sounds like a real job to become a freelancer. But if that is what it takes, it is well worth the effort.