Becoming a freelancer is a fantastic way to build up your resume, gain experience, and create a portfolio while boosting your monthly income. No matter what industry you specialize in, there are almost always areas of your professional life that you can capitalize on as a freelancer. Whether you like photography, graphic design, writing, or coding, potential clients could be interested in hiring you to help them with different aspects of their business.

Follow these five simple steps to get a jumpstart on your freelance career as you prepare to begin your new side hustle.

1. Research the Current Market

Before you start advertising your freelancing skills for hire, you should take the time to assess the current demand in your area. If no one in the industry is looking for your services, you will have difficulty finding freelance work. To ensure that you will be able to find future clients, you need to confirm that there will be people eager to pay for your skillset.

Start by browsing through local businesses’ social media accounts and job listings. Are they looking for someone to help them with a specific task? Do they have any job listings for freelancers? Do they need a part-time or full-time freelancer? If you gather more information on the local market, you’ll have a better view of potential client demand.

Researching will also help you decide what services you should offer to future customers. If several businesses are looking for help with web development, there’s a possibility there are more in your community that would also be interested in the same services. This gives you the added benefit of seeing if you should learn any new skills that would make you more marketable.

2. Find a Mentor

Getting started as a freelance worker can be challenging, especially if you don’t have someone that can guide you and answer questions as you begin your career. While it might seem intimidating to invite a fellow freelancer to be your mentor, it can make a huge difference when it comes to being successful in the field.

When you have a hard time getting clients, advertising your services, or just need some general advice, finding a mentor can help you create solutions to your freelancing struggles. They can also help you learn how to improve your skills and manage your time more efficiently. Even if you need some moral support, a mentor is a person who you can go to for guidance and encouragement. Just make sure your mentor is an experienced freelancer that isn’t your direct competitor; otherwise, there could be a conflict of interest.

3. Set Up Your Finances

As you start looking for clients, you will need to decide on your services’ price and how you will be paid. Being a new freelancer, you might be scared to ask your clients to spend a significant amount for your services, but if you have made some price comparisons beforehand, you will able to better justify the rates you are charging. Once you start to get some returning clients, you can offer a discount to promote customer satisfaction and loyalty.

After setting your prices, you can then decide how you want your clients to pay their bills. Will you have them pay through an online platform or with cash and check? This answer depends on how quickly you want to receive payments, and what will be most convenient for your clients.

If you want a fast payment, you should consider setting up a checking account for your freelancing work. Clients can wire their payments directly into your bank account once you have provided them with the necessary account information. This method will be quicker than waiting for a credit card payment or cashing a check, and lets you avoid transaction fees. An online financial management app for your checking account will also help you track what you are earning from your freelancing job and which invoices have been paid. This tool can make it easier to send out monthly statements to your customers as well.

4. Network Within the Community

After launching your side hustle, you should let everyone know that you are looking for clients. That means talking to all of your friends, colleagues, former employers, and even family members. Networking is one of the most effective ways to look for prospective clients. By using word-of-mouth, you have the opportunity to find customers that are actively looking for a freelancer but haven’t posted their listing on a job board. This means less competition as you won’t have to outbid another job seeker for the potential project.

5. Do Some Job Searching

Like networking, job-hunting plays a crucial role in finding customers. Without any referrals to build your customer base, you will need to do some digging to find new clients. The easiest way to do this is through a freelancing website. All you need to do is create an account and fill out the profile online. From there, you can upload a digital portfolio of your recent work and showcase your skills.

You can quickly look for freelance jobs that fit your skillset and bid on projects you want to work on. Online platforms are great for fledgling freelancers as they’re easy to use and don’t require much time to set up. You can even set up job alerts to notify you whenever a business has posted new freelancing assignments.

Final Thoughts

Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but any professional can become one with enough self-discipline and motivation. Researching the market, finding a mentor, networking, and job searching will give you the best chance of success. Even if you can’t find clients immediately, don’t feel discouraged. It will take time for you to establish enough business connections to find a potential customer and start earning a freelance income.

Featured image credit: Unsplash.com

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MP Staff Writer

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