Nextfreelancer's Blog

How to find freelancers and how to be a freelancer.

How to start as a freelancer?

Tips to start working as a freelancer on the net.

Tips to start working as a freelancer on the net.

Get connected

  It is not about just finding the client. A lot of projects fail or the client is dissatisfied because of a lack of communication.
  Even if you are a perfect pro, the client could not be the best presenter. He could think that he had explained what he/she has in mind, but could do it in a manner that enlightens himself only. If you get it wrong and show a result he does not expect, he/she will blame you for not delivering the expected. No matter whose fault it is. You need the money for your time and efforts which is best achieved trough happy customers. Things could get even harder if you and the client are from different cultures or don’t share a native language.
  Discuss the project as often as possible, send milestones of the done till the moment, ask for comments and discuss the next steps.

  • Phone might be the traditional way to stay in touch but it could be not the best. At least it is hard to send a file or a link to a webpage in order to show what you mean. It gets worse if you and your client are in different timezones and he cheerfully calls you to share an idea at 4a.m. Last of all the vocal conversation needs all of attention, and you are unable to focus on work. Some people are quite talkative and this could be an issue if you miss the deadline because of the endless chats. Not the last, you’d have to stop the music player/TV or get out of the bathroom.
  • Emails are better. You can send and receive links and files so essential in the netage. You chose when to read  and answer them. You have the chance to think and try before you give promises  (or have an idea before declining something as impossible). Keep the shortcut to your email client at a handy place. The major flaw is that you could have e problem with spam-filters and lose emails (which is also the most stupid but popular way to lose a client). If at the beginning of a project somebody is slow to answer, try to check the things by phone, PM or IM. At high traffic web-based email services could slow the emails, sometimes for hours.
  • Instant Messangers services like MSN/Live, Skype, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber and other protocols are at the middle and combine the best from the phone and emails. You can have a conversation in real time, you can exchange files and links, you can speak if you need to, don’t require all of your attention and you can see when the other person is available. Maybe the best option to use. The only problem is that the protocols are several. Different people use different ones and in fact you as a service provider must stay connected to several of them in order to get reached. I suggest using a program that could handle multiple IMs like Pidgin or Trillian.

Get seen

  In addition of creating a portfolio you would need every possible potential client to see what you can offer. Some people would like your work, some not. The more people see it, the more would wish to hire you. Create a profile anywhere you can. Targeted directories are best as most of their visitors would be interested, but you could use social networks, blogs and forums as well. No matter the kind, as long as you can somehow post a link to your portfolio. Casual people are easier to impress, easier to negotiate with and if eventually some of them (or their friends) need a service of yours, your nickname  would be the first to pop. This could pay your bills too.

Get to business

  As you are still reading this, I suggest you are not overloaded of projects at present. The portfolio and profiles could bring you clients but meanwhile you can’t rely on this doing nothing. Be active and find some clients.

  • Chat with your friends, colleagues, alumni and family and see if something would pop up. Don’t press them or look desperate or you could lose their trust. A lot of projects come by “I know a guy…”, so the most important part here is to let them know that you are available. Some ex-employers could bring you work when they feel short or need an expert in a particular area as they know what you can do. Let’s hope you’ve broke well with them.
  • Offer your services in social and low-budget campaigns. AIDS prevention, anti-violence, anti-global heating, anti-racialism, anti-homophobia… something. Even if you receive some cash it most probably won’t be much, but you’ll build the shiny image of the nice passionate person who cares apart of the great job you can do. Often in the eyes of people that have some other business and good connections. Eventually the cause could become popular and well-funded (to read – plenty of money for doing almost nothing). Try to stay away of the political ones trough, don’t breed yourself foes when the winds change.
  • Get used to the online job boards and project trackers. You could find many buyers there and you can chose (or be chosen which is the worse part). Check out the healthy list of the worthy ones this site has to offer.

April 1, 2009 Posted by | Start as a freelancer | Leave a comment