Posted by on April 11, 2017

Were you ever bewildered by a co-worker’s nastiness, blindsided by an employer’s dishonesty, or miserably chained to your desk at work?

Working for an employer is not for everyone. Trust me, I know. I struggled with that very same structure for almost 20 years when I knew I could be more productive elsewhere. And it wasn’t until long ago where I realized that the money I was earning sitting at a desk was irrelevant. I was wasting time – mine and the employer’s – it was maddening.

My freelancing career started with what was then known as oDesk (now Upwork), but I was constantly striking out. It wasn’t until I had a golden opportunity to live expenses-free for several months that I was really able to gain traction out of it.

Can you imagine my chagrin when I realized I hadn’t needed to do that at all?

So for this article, I’d like to share how I was able to break into freelancing. This could be especially helpful for people who are feeling burned out from their office desks, in a life that became a mere routine – for simply those who want change.

  • BUILD YOUR PROFILE

    We all need to start somewhere. If you’re serious about this then you have to spend time building your own profile. The competition out there is thriving so make your profile STAND OUT from the rest. There is no other way to let potential clients notice you – virtually.

    Start by completely fleshing out your skills and abilities. Going through some of your relevant experiences are also a plus! It doesn’t have to be lengthy at all – go for brief yet concise. Why? Well, think about the fact that clients want to see what they need to see. *wink*

  • SUBMIT “KILLER” PROPOSALS

    Aside from your profile, you should also spend equal (or even more) amount of time to tailor your proposals. One mistake freelancers often make is submitting the same content to clients without even bothering to redo it. Here are some guide questions when submitting a winning proposal:

    What does your client need?

    Did you even have the slightest grasp of the client’s problem?

    What problem/s are you solving for your potential client?

    What kind of service/s can you provide for the specific client?

    Which among your skills comes handy for the job?

    Try to address the client’s problem and align it with their goals. You can lightly touch on the process details, but don’t give away your “secret sauce”. Your potential client doesn’t need to know about that, only your competitors do. However, should ‘potential client X’ ask you about it, then you definitely need to answer the question.

    Another great tip is to let this potential client know that you understand their position. A great way to do this is to incorporate their need into your capability statement. A great example would be – ‘Our team has successfully migrated two clients from QuickBooks to ZohoBooks in the last year’ – that kind of thing.

    More than your profile, these clients want to know how well you understand the situation or even close to it. Remember, clients need an action plan, a project timeline, something tangible and quantifiable that can (perhaps) solve their problem.

  • POSITIVE ATTITUDE

    Okay, so let’s say your profile was shortlisted for a one-on-one Skype interview. How will you prepare for it then?

    Well, just like any other job interview – NAIL IT! You can start by showing a positive and professional attitude. Your potential client is clearly trusting his/her instincts here so feed them with the details they need to hear.

    Opt to stick with what’s on your profile and ‘killer’ proposal. Seize this chance to let your client know that you have a feasible plan and a definite timeframe to address their needs.

    Also, don’t be discouraged when they start pointing out on your weakness. If they ask you about a software you’ve never heard about – then tell them upfront. Being honest doesn’t hurt (at all) – oftentimes, they’ll appreciate it.

  • INVEST IN LEARNING

    Online courses, articles, tip sheets, and even webinars are widely available over the Internet. Simply key in what you want to learn in the search engine and you’ll have it. Truly, everything is at your fingertips!

    Don’t know much about bookkeeping? Then get a basic course online! Wondering how you can let your credential stand out from the rest? Get a certificate!

    We are in the age of technology so it’s only imperative to leverage on that. You may have to spend a little fortune on some of these courses but know that it’ll be all worth it in the long run.

    So, never hesitate to invest in yourself – in a career you want to achieve, on what you think will make you happy. Invest in knowledge and time. There’s no other way in getting better on your chosen craft other than to constantly learn and practice it.

Just like any kind of job, freelancing also needs time and commitment. Yes, freelancing has its own perks (like working at your own desk or sipping a cup of latte in a nearby coffee shop), but it’s not for everyone too.

And so, if you’re looking for tips on how you can break into freelancing, then I hope this article helps. If you think that freelancing can help you achieve your personal goals, then go for it! You just need to start moving and actually do something about it.