I’m a freelance web designer and I do web designing for companies and individuals. At start (on June 2009) I started off doing it from odesk and it’s a great platform for freelancers like us to get started and find work. Now days I get offers directly through email and my new clients are being referred by my older clients. I still receive emails, messages and question asking how do I get started in freelancing? So here’s an article which will help you prepare yourself to get started on freelancing online.

1 Have a good schedule

It’s up to you whenever you want to do the work, but you have to come up with a regular time and schedule; such as you will work from Monday to Friday, that’s cool or you can also choose to work only in Saturday and Sundays. At the same time you have to come up with working hours too. Your clients who will provide the work, they have to understand about your working hours so they can be able to find you in that time.

2 Have your tools ready!

Working online requires a computer and internet connection. Make sure you have a good computer, compatible enough to handle your work load. If you are doing data entry/ virtual assistant jobs, then having a minimal PC is okay but if you are doing web/ graphics design or photo editing, then you have to buy and expensive one. You have to need 24 hours or internet access or at-least when your working hours are.

3 Softwares for your job

Depending on your work, choose the most appropriate softwares you need. You only need a word processor when you are dealing with writing. As a web designer I use plenty of applications such as photo editor, web design software, flash application and many more online. You have to make sure you have access, plus knowledge over what application you are using and it’s a popular one.

4 Find a good outsourcing marketplace

As a beginner, nobody knows about your skills and what you can do so it’s best to get associated with one of the marketplaces you like. I highly recommend odesk, and it has given me a carrier. There are plenty more out there like Guru, RentACoder, ScriptLance, Elance etc but make sure you focus on one marketplace than having your face on all of them. I had success in odesk just because I was into it until I got my first job and never lost hope.

5 Build an online portfolio

Nothing works best than having an online portfolio; take a look at my portfolio here: blogkori.com/hire-me now the idea came to me when most of my clients wanted to see my portfolio. I have portfolio in odesk but the problem is nothing is organized properly. So when I created a portfolio here at my blog, I started to get more clients over time. Even great, I had this portfolio rank well in google for “Thesis Theme Design” and having a google page rank of 3. People started to find my portfolio through google. You should create your own portfolio by building a website/ blog.. trust me, it will pay off!

6 Socialize yourself

Don’t just sit there and spend all the time working on projects. Use facebook to expand your network. The more contacts you have, then more the chances you will get for future projects. I’m using facebook from 2007 and that time I connected with few different people online including Courtney Engle. We are great friends and always chat about things here and there. Last year she hired me to help in her social media business and that’s a great example of getting work from social media. Till now I’m connected with her and more work is about to come from her side. As the same way you can use linkedin, twitter and other social media networks.

7 Have most ways to connect with you

You need to have the most ways to get connected such as email, yahoo messenger, google talk, msn, irc, icq etc. Skype is the most popular among buyers around the world and it helps you to make free pc to pc calls. The more options you provide, the more chances you have to get a job.

8 Start a blog

There’s no such social media better than blogging. The number one benefit to blogging is, it’s super SEO friendy. Write your experiences, how you achieved different things and how you solved a problem. People will start to read your blog and soon they will convert into buyers. Start blogging.

9 Learn new skills and stay updated

Internet changes everyday and so does the job market. Don’t just stay there with you basic word processing knowledge. Learn new things and apply them. The more you learn, the more you are valuable as a provider. Stay updated with latest trends and technology.

10 Be detail oriented and professional

What ever you do, try to see it as the buyer -if you were the one taking this, would you like this finished product? Be detail oriented and perfectionist. It will take more time to complete but is worth the time. One of my client Mark Wright helped me to learn this valuable lesson. One of my other client said: “People who provide much more detail, get paid more.”

Bonus! Be helpful and give something they didn’t expected

Even if you have completed the assignment, your buyer may still need some last minute tweaks. Be helpful to provide the service free of charge. And try to solve their problem. Don’t act like that you have a hurry and need to end the assignment, ask them if there’s anything more you can help them out with. In this way, you will have a good reputation and it will help you get more work in the long term.

Have your say

  • Are you working as a freelancer?
  • How do you handle your clients?
  • Do you have anything more to add here?