We have all read an article, seen a photograph, tinkered around with some software, or visited a website that was designed by some type of freelancer.
The chances are that at some point or another we have all wanted to go out on our own – away from our current jobs – and start a new career path as a freelancer in our field of specialization.
But why don’t we?
What holds so much of us back from going out and doing what it is that we want to do with our lives?
Why do we allow ourselves to be tied to our employer as if some invisible shackles enslave us?
What types of skills do we need to finally break free from the nine to five shifts and start out on our own as a freelancer?
You should ask yourself all of these questions before you even think about quitting your current occupation in pursuit of a freelance job.
Every year, far too many people believe that they can simply quit their jobs and pursue a career as a freelancer in whatever their specific field may be – and far too many of them fail, only to go crawling back to their previous employer in hopes that he will give the destitute freelancer his former job back.
This unfortunate circumstance happens for one reason and one reason alone – the person who wanted to branch out on his own as a freelancer had no idea what to expect.
People told him that he could be free, have as many days off as he wanted and retain all of the profits from his work.
But nobody ever told him that he might have to work long and hard to meet deadlines, manage his finances himself, and compete with thousands of others for the same clients.
Before you begin any ventures into the world of freelancing, you should know that it is not all fun and games – a lot of serious thought must go into your actions if you are to be successful.
Now that you have thought it over and you are entirely sure that freelancing is right for you, it is time to set foot into your new career path and start looking for some work.
Whatever you do, do not quit your current job right now, as you will not have a livable source of income for at least a few months while you search for well-paying projects.
Quitting your job will come in due time, but only after you have managed to net a few illustrious contracts first.
With your passion and desire in hand, the first step of your new life as a freelancer should be to log onto your computer, pull open your web browser of choice, head over to one of the top three search engines, and look for work.
Use specific keywords that can describe what you want to do with your life and sooner or later you will wind up with a massive database of different websites that cater to the freelance community in your specific field.
Once you have constructed a list of the top websites in your field where you think you will be able to find clients, visit the sites daily (or subscribe to their RSS feeds) to find projects that would not only be interesting to you but will also pay the bills.
The chances are that when you start out down the road of a freelancer in any field, you will find that you can only get small time, low pay contracts and projects that do not require much skill at all.
This is because you are new and relatively unknown to the freelance community.
As time passes though, and you get client after client, more and more people will start to know who you are and the kind of work you will do.
You can then net the higher paying projects that will allow you to start supplementing your income greatly.
Eventually, you may even find that some potential clients may start coming to you with their work, hearing how much you can accomplish or how good you are at meeting deadlines from the people who hired you previously.
Upon becoming a freelancer for the first time, it is also vital that you create a mass of different items that can show off the kind of work you do.
Making this portfolio may be one of the most important things you can do if you want to succeed as a freelancer, as it will help you move up in the world of freelance work.
Only include projects that you have all of the rights to, as if someone thinks that you may have stolen pieces of your portfolio from others, the word may get out, and you risk not being hired for freelance work by anyone – ever.
Furthermore, only add items to your portfolio that make you look good in whatever particular field you are trying to find freelance work in.
Sure, if you are looking for freelance work as a web designer you could include an article you wrote on chemistry, but why would someone looking for a skilled web designer care about something you wrote for a chemistry website – unless your client was also hiring you to write his web copy.
Finally, your competition from around the globe will be another major barrier in your pursuit to become a self-sufficient freelancer.
People from all walks of life and just about every country in the world will be competing for the same projects as you, so you had better be prepared to offer something that other people just cannot compete with.
For example, if you are a freelance writer or editor, the best way to compete is to explain to your clients that you are a native English speaker.
Graphic and web designers, as well as software programmers, should take plenty of extra college courses to show how well they are educated in their craft.
Finally, no matter field you are freelancing in, you should always take some time as an unpaid worker to create some examples for your portfolio that highlight your strong points.
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