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What Is Freelancing And How Can You Get Started In 2024?

How to get started freelancing in 2024- blog cover
Get started freelaning in 2024

Introduction

What secrets does freelancing hold for those seeking financial independence in 2024 and success for themselves? 

Unlike conventional employment, freelancers navigate a landscape of autonomy, setting their own rates and shaping their own income. 

In this article, we’ll delve deep into the complexities of the evolving landscape in Nigeria- and the rest of the world,  and give you all you need to get started freelancing in 2024.

What Is Freelancing

Freelancing is a work arrangement in which you as an individual provide services to clients on a per-project or per-task basis, rather than being employed full-time by a single company. 

As someone who is a freelance marketer myself, some of the responsibilities are that you are self-employed..

and you are responsible for your taxes, health insurance, and other benefits that would normally come with working for a company.

However, some of the key advantages of being a freelancer include the following:

Major Advantages of Being A Freelancer

1. Self-employment: If you are a freelancer, you are an independent contractor, not an employee. 

That means you are responsible for managing your businesses, providing internet, tech gadgets and work assets,

But most importantly, you get to set your rates.

2. Project-based or Task-based work: You can work on a project-by-project basis, or you may be hired to complete specific tasks. 

Some businesses however may choose to retain you to work on an intermittent basis- I’ve had a few clients do this with me in the past.

3. Flexibility On Time: One other advantage to being self-employed is that you have the flexibility to set your own work hours 

and you can choose to work from anywhere. 

This can be a major advantage if you seek to have a more balanced lifestyle or you like to travel for work.

4. Varied work: Freelancers work on a variety of different projects and with a variety of different clients. 

One of the key advantages to this is that you have no dull moment, as working on diverse projects can keep things interesting.

But freelancing is not a bed of roses, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of freelancing.

Some Of The Challenges You Will Face As A Freelancer:

 1. Inconsistent income: You will experience inconsistent income, as projects will often vary in terms of size 

and also, how often you get work to do depends totally on you.

2. Self-discipline: As a freelancer, you need to be self-disciplined. Most freelancers will tell you the truth that, we all struggle with self-discipline.

You must learn to manage your time and meet deadlines.

3.  Marketing: This is where most freelancers struggle, you need to be able to market yourself and in the process, find new clients to consistently patronize your business.

4. Health insurance: Freelancers are responsible for their health insurance- which typically would have accompanied employee-based roles.

5. Taxes: In countries like the USA, Freelancers need to file their taxes and pay estimated taxes quarterly.

In Nigeria, if you registered your freelancing service as a business, you may also need to do this by yourself- or else, it simply falls under the indirect tax.

Overall, freelancing can be a rewarding and lucrative career choice for people who are self-motivated, organized, and have the skills and expertise that clients are looking for.

If you can do that, then let’s get into the steps for becoming a freelancer in 2024.

How To Become A Freelancer in 2024– in 7 Steps

We are going to divide the steps to become a freelancer in 2024 into 7 major Steps.

Step 1: Choose A Service To Offer And Build An Offer Around It
Step 2: Research Your Target Audience and Ideal Customer
Step 3: Decide How You’ll Charge Customers/Clients
Step 4: Build A Compelling Portfolio
Step 5: Find Clients; Set Up A Profile On Freelancing Platforms:
Step 6: Try To Write A Great Proposal (or Create Templates For Your Proposals)
Step 7: Build Relationships For Repeat Business

Step 1: Choose A Service To Offer And Build An Offer Around It

Before you can start freelancing, you need to decide what services you will offer. 

Usually, this is dependent on

  • What you are good at.
  • What skills do you have?
  • What you are passionate about.

But in all honestly, I often advise that people pick a high-income skill

“High-income skills are specialized expertise or abilities that are in high demand- which in turn results in them commanding a high compensation due to their value in the work marketplace”

In a nutshell, if there’s a high demand for a skill and there’s a low supply of people who can offer the skill- the money that’s offered to people who have the skill becomes higher!

For example, I’m very passionate about marketing- hence my role as a marketing professional- however, I learnt that digital marketing is a high-income skill- which made me opt in to learn the ropes and offer digital marketing services.

Your main aim should be to have a good understanding of your skills and interests, then narrow down your niche or what part of it you are offering. 

For example, if you’re a good writer- like me-, you could specialize in writing blog posts, articles, or website content- which are all part of the marketing process. 

If you’re a graphic designer, you could specialize in designing logos, brochures, or websites.

It’s important to choose a niche that you’re both good at and passionate about but most importantly, is in high demand. 

This will make it easier to market yourself to potential clients and it will also make your work more enjoyable.

Step 2: Research Your Target Audience and Ideal Customer

The major mistake of most freelancers after choosing what services to offer is,

 “Not identifying their target audience”

This is the group of people who are most likely to need your services 

And the more defined these people are, the faster you get the client-to-freelancer match.

To identify your target audience, you need to consider a few factors, such as:

  • Industry: Who are you trying to reach? Are you targeting businesses, individuals, or both?
  • Location: Where are your potential clients located?
  • Demographics: What are the age, gender, and income level of your potential clients?
  • Needs: What are the pain points and challenges of your potential clients?

Once you have a good understanding of your target audience or ideal customer, you can start to develop marketing materials, write your elevator pitches, research social media platforms that they are on 

And build social media profiles for your service, that will resonate with them.

Step 3: Decide How You’ll Charge Customers/Clients

This is a difficult aspect to handle for us freelancers especially if we’re new to the business

The main issue is

You don’t want to create a pricing method that chases customer away and you also need to make sure you balance it with good income that helps you to grow 

Here are a few factors that you can consider when you are putting a price on your services:

  • Consider Your Level Of Experience: The more experience you have, the more you can charge.
  • The complexity of the project: More complex projects will require more time and effort, so you should charge accordingly.
  • The value of your services: How much value will your services provide to your clients?

Once you have considered these factors, you can start to develop a pricing structure that works for you. 

Also, there might be certain scenarios where a client wants a project done faster than its normal duration- such scenarios present an opportunity for you to charge more

Step 4: Build A Compelling Portfolio

Your portfolio is your calling card, so it’s important to make a good impression with it. 

Your portfolio should showcase your best work (not all of your work) and it should demonstrate your skills and experience.

Here are a few tips for creating a great portfolio:

  • Keep it concise: Only include your best work in your portfolio- in case you have a large portfolio, send projects within your portfolio that best match what the client seeks.
  • Use high-quality images: Make sure your portfolio is visually appealing. 

Clients take their experience of your portfolio seriously.

  • Easy to navigate: Make sure your portfolio is easy to navigate for clients and they can easily find the information they’re looking for.

One of the major portfolio mistakes I’ve seen with copywriters who write website copy is that- they present their copy on a Google Doc file.

graphic designers use mockups to present their works, and if you wrote a good website copy- it would be best presented on a well-designed website.

Step 5: Find Clients; Set Up A Profile On Freelancing Platforms:

There are several ways to find freelance clients, including joining popular freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr.

Customize your profile by researching keywords or keyphrases that help clients to find you more easily on these platforms, set competitive rates, and actively send bid on projects.

Other client acquisition methods include: 

  • Networking: By attending industry events and connecting with potential clients on LinkedIn.
  • Word-of-mouth: Let your friends, family, and former colleagues know that you’re freelancing.
  • Cold calling and emailing: This is a more time-consuming approach, but it can be effective if you target the right clients with the right offer- and you have a copywriter help you structure your email proposals

You can also take advantage of social media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter for the client acquisition process.

Step 6: Try To Write A Great Proposal (or Create Templates For Your Proposal)

When you’re applying for freelance projects, you’ll need to write a proposal that outlines your approach to the project and your qualifications or experience.

Here are a few tips for writing a great proposal for jobs.

  • Read the project description carefully: Make sure you understand the client’s needs and expectations.
  • Tailor your proposal to the project: Don’t just send out a generic proposal.
  • Highlight your relevant experience and skills: Show the client why you’re the best person for the job.
  • Be clear and concise: Get to the point and don’t use jargon.
  • Proofread carefully: Make sure your proposal is free of errors.

Step 7:  Build Relationships For Repeat Business

The foundation of building strong client relationships lies in consistently delivering high-quality work that exceeds expectations. 

This means meeting deadlines, exceeding project requirements, and providing value that goes beyond the agreed-upon scope of work. 

When clients are consistently impressed with your work ethic, expertise, and ability to deliver exceptional results, they are more likely to return for future projects and recommend your services to others.

Other ways to ensure repeat business include:

Prioritizing effective communication and transparency  

Seek and value feedback continuously from the clients and 

Nurture your client-freelancer relationships beyond project deliverables

With that being said, what freelancing platforms can you set up on as someone looking to start freelancing in 2024

5 Best Freelancing Sites: For Nigerians & Everyone Else!

1. Upwork: 

Upwork is the largest freelance platform in the world, with over 12 million freelancers and 5 million clients. 

It is a good all-around platform for freelancers of all skill levels and experience. 

2. Fiverr: 

Fiverr is a platform where freelancers sell their services in “gigs” for a fixed price. 

The major difference between Fiverr and Upwork is that, while Fiverr allows freelancers to list their gigs and clients buy these gigs, Upwork allows clients to list their jobs and freelancers bid for it.

Fiverr is a good platform for freelancers who want to offer simple, standardized services. 

3. Freelancer.com: 

Freelancer is another large freelance platform with over 32 million users. 

It is a good platform for freelancers who want to bid on projects and negotiate their rates. 

4. Guru: 

Guru is a platform where freelancers can find projects and clients. 

It is a good platform for freelancers who have a proven track record of success in the specific niche or industry they’re serving. 

5. Toptal: 

Toptal is a platform that focuses on connecting businesses with high-quality freelancers.

It is a good platform for freelancers who are experts in their field and as such has a good vetting process. 

Tips To Get Your First Client As A Freelancer- From Temitayo 

Tip 1: Create An Offer

Tip 2: Use Linkedin Boolean Search 

Conclusion

Although the ability to set one’s rates, work on diverse projects, and enjoy flexible schedules are enticing advantages of freelancing. 

Freelancing is not without its disadvantages such as income fluctuations, self-discipline demands, and the ongoing need for effective marketing. 

Success in freelancing hinges on honing your high-income skills, cultivating a strong online presence, and navigating the complexities of client acquisition and relationship-building. 

Aspiring freelancers in 2024 can capitalize on these dynamics by strategically choosing their niche, understanding their target audience, and adopting effective pricing and marketing strategies. 

Also, adaptability, continuous learning, and a proactive approach are key to thriving in the world of freelancing.

Temitayo Michael

Clients and customers acquisition expert. Digital Marketing Freelancer and copywriter. Lover of Christ and a fan of Lhasa Apsos

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