Tips to Grow a Career as an Online Freelancer

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Lots of people are working online for themselves as freelancers these days. There are tons of job opportunities on the Internet, but it can be difficult to start a career from scratch there. Most people don’t even know where to start.

If you’re looking to become an online freelancer, here are some of the best tips to help get you started and grow your business.

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Build a Portfolio

Do you know what kind of work you want to do? If so, you can start creating a portfolio for yourself. A graphic design artist should put together a few pieces of art in different styles. Someone who wants to be a freelance writer should write a few different pieces that cover a range of topics and writing styles. Someone looking to edit videos may want a demo reel to showcase their skills. What this does is give you something to show potential clients. As you start building a career online, you have to realize people won’t know who you are, and they’ll want some evidence that you know what you’re doing. Before you start looking for any work online, you should have built up at least a small portfolio.

Prepare to Start Small

There are a lot of opportunities for people who are trying to get work online, but you have to be willing to start at the bottom. You can try sites like Freelancer.com and Fiverr to get started. Just keep applying for every job opportunity on sites like these until you get a catch. You want to make sure that you keep your rates low so that clients are more likely to pick you over other options. You’re not looking to undersell yourself, but you also have to realize that you’re starting now at the bottom because you don’t have any clout yet. Taking small jobs here and there might not pay the bills for a while, but it’s a great way to build a reputation and get some excellent experience.

Try New Things

As a freelancer working online, one of the best things you can do is plan to say “yes” to just about any work that comes your way. You may not be thrilled about every job opportunity you get, but you’ll be gaining valuable experience that could help move you to another stage in your career. Many freelancers are surprised about the kind of work they get and how it starts them on a path to doing completely different types of work. If you have a mindset to say “yes” to most types of work, you can learn new skills and become a valuable asset to your clients. They can learn to count on you for all types of work. If you keep telling new clients that you don’t know how to do something or that you’re not willing to learn a new skill, they may find someone else who is.

Build Some Contacts

A big part of building a career online is creating connections. You’ll have to be willing to communicate with people, do a little idle chitchat, and develop relationships so that people enjoy working with you. You may even have to find partners for some jobs or a network of other people with similar skills to yours. This way, you can refer some of your clients to these other workers when you have too much work on your plate. Your freelancer friends may do the same for you later on. Don’t be afraid to take on new clients, because you never know where the work may lead. That small job that doesn’t seem worth your while may lead to a huge contract in the future. Think of every new contact as a possibly very important connection. Even if that contact may not be able to offer you a lot of work, they may know someone who can.

Put in the Time

It will take a lot of work to build up your career and start increasing your salary to where you can support yourself just through online freelancer work. You will have to dedicate a lot of time to this new career, and that may mean taking time off from other responsibilities. You may have to look for ways to cut costs or get some help in doing some of the daily tasks you’re used to doing. You might need to hire someone to watch your kids or pay a cleaning service to clean your house, if the freelancer work is keeping you really busy. As you build your career, you’ll be able to afford more and more services like these that free up your time for your work and help relegate your mundane chores and errands to someone else. It’s especially important in the early stages of building an online career that you put in a lot of time. You’re going to have to research and study and develop your skills. A lot of what you’ll be doing will be very new to you, and you want to get very good at it very quickly. You’ll find that the online space is very competitive, since there are a lot of people offering to do the same what you are doing.

Do Your Very Best Work

Not all the work you do as an online freelancer will inspire you and make you want to do your very best. However, it is important that you put your best effort into everything you do. Think of every job you get as a potential showcase for your work and think of each client as a potential reference further down the line. If you do that, you will have a lot of great work to pull from when someone asks for examples of what you can do. You will be more likely to get recommendations from some of your clients, and you never know where that might lead. If you have a mindset of doing your best work all the time, you become invaluable, and your clients may be willing to pay you more and wait for you to have time to work on their projects.

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