Starting your freelance journey
Everyone has to start somewhere.
One of the reasons that motivated us to build Flair was to make it really easy for everyone to start listing skills and find a side hustle.
Nevertheless, we understood that taking the first leap of faith to freelancing can be daunting for new freelancers.
It’s certainly not easy, but everyone goes through the same process. Some of the most famous artists, photographers, teachers, craftsmen, writers, and inventors out there went through extremely difficult and arduous circumstances.
Here are some tips based on our research, plus combined years of freelancing experience from the team at Flair, and our friends in the freelancing community.
But a word of caution: to use these tips, you have to be brutally honest with yourself.
Tip number #1 - Understand the market
Many freelancers ask:
What services are in demand? Can I do those services that are in demand?
How do I know if my skill sets are in demand?
The answer to that question, is that you first need to do some research on what’s in demand in your community. You can ask your friends and family, consult friends in the workforce, or do your own research into industry trends. We promise to tell you if we know!
It could be bakers, cooks, tutors, writers, etc. Anything. Write that down.
Tip number #2 - Find out what you can do
Now, you have to find a market for yourself.
Everyone has a skill which can be monetised (how much money that translates to is another question which we will address some time in the near future).
From your list of skills that are in demand, you’ve got to ask yourself these few questions. And be as honest as possible with yourself.
Do I know how to do it? (yes/ no)
Have I done it before? (yes/ no)
Do I love doing it? (yes/ no)
Has anyone ever validated that I’m good at it? (yes/ no)
You can base your responses on your experiences in the recent past. Whether or not you’re paid for that is irrelevant.
Tip number #3- Decide on a niche
Now, with the list that you’ve made, tabulate the scores! Those in which you have scored the most YESes for, are probably the areas where you can find a market for yourself.
Think about how the skills which you are good at will help someone else solve a problem. Come up with a list of the problems that you can help solve. For example...
I’m good at writing — I can help with writing copy for a website, proofreading, helping someone to write a blog, etc.
I’m good with mathematics and I can explain the concepts — That’s easy, I can be a tutor.
I do great job of cleaning, waxing, and polishing my car — I can provide a mobile car cleaning and mobile service.
My makeup skills are out of this world — I can be a makeup artist.
I am a certified electrician — Be an electrician.
Tip number #4- Market yourself
In the past, you could get away by just building a better mousetrap. Nowadays, the reality is very much different.
You need to get out there and market yourself so that the world knows that you exist, and that you have some skills which they can benefit from.
So there are two parts to this
The best way to tell people about yourself is to make use of visuals (photos or images, illustrations, and even videos) showing yourself in action. If you’ve got an end product to show, that’s great too, but many people finding services online would like to see you in action so that they now that it’s you who’s actually doing it. And it’s a good way to showcase how good you are! So if you don’t have any visuals yet, start making them!
Write a short ‘elevator pitch’ for yourself. It shouldn’t take more than 5 seconds for someone to read and comprehend it. Hence, keep it short, simple, and descriptive. Don’t write an essay nor keep it too generic. Some good examples include: I’m an MOE teacher and I’ve been teaching primary school maths for 10 years; I’m an electrician, I offer 24 hour service, islandwide; I design logos for people who want a distinctive and memorable brand; I write sales letters that show a 90% conversion record; I am a wedding photographer, been in it for 5 years, here are the photos I’ve taken. Bad examples include: I’m a teacher. I’m an electrician. I am a designer. These bad examples offer no information on the value that you can provide and how you can help someone solve a problem with your skills.
While there are different avenues you could use to put the photos, videos, and elevator pitch that you’ve just written, we’d recommend that you use our product. It’s possibly the easiest app out there which allows you to do all of these things.
Tip number #5- How do I put a value on my time and effort?
There are hairstylists that charge $10, and some that charge $1000. The key determinant which determines how in-demand your skills are (and accordingly, how much you get paid) is how good you are and that’s something you’ll need to prove over a period of time. Consistent effort and persistence is required. There’s no short cut to success.
If you’re new to the work, start with a lower price. If you’ve got more experience and have ‘evidence’ to back-up your claims, charge higher, and support your demand with evidence of why you’re worth more.
Don’t worry if you are new to the work. You can drive up the value of your time and effort by getting your customers to provide a review after you’ve completed a piece of work or service for them.
So, to start with, just quote the price you are valuing yourself at. Then wait and see the responses you get.
Tip number #6 - Be as responsive as possible when replying to potential customers
No one likes to wait. Customers may send you messages over multiple channels (depending on the channel that you’ve listed) such as Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, email, SMS, or via our messaging platform on the Flair app.
Make sure that you keep your notifications on.
Check your messages regularly.
And respond to each and every message.
Not all conversations result in deals, but some will. It will be difficult at first, but it’ll get increasingly easier over time. I personally know many freelancers who are so busy that they’ve got to turn away jobs.
It takes time to build-up such a traction but don’t fret too much and just start doing it!
The earlier you start, the more time you’ve got to build the freelance career that you’ve always envisioned.