By now, you may have made up your mind whether freelancing is something that you'd do part-time or full-time. There may seem like a lot of things of which you'd need to take care of to get your career started. Let's break them down one step at a time.
Success as a freelancer requires skills in six areas -- marketing, communications, negotiating, legal, bookkeeping, and finances. You don't have to pressure yourself to master all areas at once. As a beginner, or "newbie," concentrate on "being visible" first, which means that you have to let people know about the kinds of services you offer.
Decide on a maximum of three competencies that you could use, either to get people to "outsource" jobs to you, or to help people meet their goals in business.
Arm yourself with the right materials so you can reach your target clientele. Most home computers have built-in publishing software, and if you want a cost-effective way of making yourself known, you can make your own brochures or flyers. Provide brief yet concise details about the nature of your work, and make sure that your contact information is accurate.
The next step would be to seek out clients. Ask yourself, "How can I get myself out there? Where can I find the kind of people who may need the services I'm offering?"
If you want to write advertising copy for small-scale enterprises, make yourself familiar with the kinds of small businesses that are steadily generating profit, even if they're not competing with larger or better known enterprises. If you're interested in handicrafts, visit bazaars in your community, get to know the owners, and give them one of your flyers.
If you're an artist seeking jobs in illustration or design, make sure that you have a portfolio handy. Potential clients demand that they see proof of your work before they consider giving you a project.
If web content is your expertise, get in touch with people who may need the touch of a professional in order to drive more traffic into their websites.
Check back soon, because in my next few articles, I'll discuss several ways to talk and negotiate with clients should they find you fit for the freelance job.