How to Get Started Freelancing

The craziness of the pandemic has taught everyone a lot. It’s gotten people to really focus on what matters in life. It also helped businesses realize they don’t have to have everyone in an office all the time.

When you put those two things together, you realize that people love being able to work from home because they can truly put their time where it matters most to them. 

Now, I’ve been freelancing for a while now because I am a flight attendant. I got my degree in English, then fell into aviation and realized I loved it. It didn’t take long for me to decide I want to be a pilot and begin training for that. 

But I missed my reading and writing, so I started a few different blogs before I realized I can have multiple topics on my blog. I finally settled on what I’ve got going here: aviation articles, travel articles, and freelance writing articles. Aviation and Freelancing is to help people get into those topics and travel articles are really just because I think I get into funny situations and want to write about them.

Basically, I want to show people that you can do freelance writing from literally anywhere. I use a ton of free wifi locations to do my writing for myself and others. I do a lot of writing on my phone too. When I’m out and about but come upon an idea, I just write it in my phone and can expand on it later.

The Pandemic proved that this lifestyle is more sustainable than ever. You can work from anywhere: inside a Starbucks or airport, and from a parking lot if you can get the wifi connection.

But the big issue people ALWAYS have is, “how do I start freelancing?”

Here is a broadscale approach. I’ll dig in deeper with more in depth articles later. I pinky promise.

Making the Decision

The first step in anything you do is to actually make the decision to start. This is especially prevalent when it comes to doing something big like starting a new way to make money. 

I mean, what will all my friends and family say?

To be honest, it doesn’t matter. 

If you want something, you have to do what it takes to make it happen. The perfect example is if you want to be healthy and fit; you want those six pack abs – you have to do the work. You have to eat healthy and you have to workout. 

It’s been said so many times, but you have to know why you want this new goal. 

Viktor Frankl is the author of Man’s Search For Meaning where he writes about how he survived a concentration camp in the holocaust. In this book he has what might be the greatest quote ever written: “When you know your ‘why,’ you can endure any ‘how.’”

It’s really just a matter of reframing and knowing what your goal is and how to get there. 

Once you make the decision, you must start the action for it to come true.

Getting Your First Job

I’m going to give the example of being a freelance writer because that is what I do. It’s the one I have the best experience in, but it’s applicable to any freelancing gig you do.

Getting the first freelancing gig is one of the most difficult tasks, in my opinion, because of your lack of experience. 

There are two schools of thought for this here: Gary Vee’s route and DaVinci’s route.

Gary Vee says you should go to people you want to work for and ask them what you can do to help them and not ask for anything in return. Then you are building relationships and it works out for you long term that way.

DaVinci had a different idea of charging for everything you do. His belief when he was hired for his first painting was that he had it in his blood to be great, so he charged double what the current “best in the city” offered. He thought he was that much better than his competition.

Both offer their own benefits and both are effective. I just think they both are slow because of the different ideas of the spectrum. 

My personal belief is to accept a lower paying job, despite you knowing the value you can give, you have to prove yourself. I just don’t think you really need to offer free work. 

I did the free work route, but I didn’t do it right because I accepted a free writing role with a company that had no clout. It didn’t really help much or add to my portfolio. 

So, I say hop on ALL the job sites and start searching for a gig in your field. I promise there will be someone searching for someone like you online. The internet is the end all be all to advertising. 

For writers: hop on Indeed, Craigslist, or any of the other sites you can think of and find an entry level job. There’s also the other idea of getting on Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com, or any of the other websites that are free to join and create a profile specifically for freelance writing.

Send out as many offers as you can. Dedicate serious time to that. It will help you land that first client.

Building a Portfolio

Now, you’ve got your first gig. But it’s only a single job. It’s not a sustainable career. How do you get more? How can you start charging more? 

Prove your value as a freelancer with a portfolio.

You need to create your own website to show off your work. Get some people you have written for to write something nice about you and throw it down there as a testimonial. Make yourself look as good as possible. 

There are a few different options here. I would suggest starting by creating a free website on Wix or WordPress.com, but keep in mind this won’t be your forever site. You need something to host a portfolio initially, but the goal is to really own your own website instead of using a free one because it looks cleaner and people will take you more seriously. 

You want to be in charge of what shows up when people search your name. So, you need a good website that shows off the excellent work you produce to help get more clients. 

Get a pretty site and build a portfolio to start getting people to come to you for your services.

Don’t ignore the value that can come from social media too though. Make your profiles pretty and demonstrate your skill to get as many clients to want you as possible. 

Now, Fly Into It

Remember, this is just a basic primer. It’s not super in depth. There is so much out there to read on each topic I just briefly covered. I had to hold myself up to not make this a million word post myself.

Each topic will get broken down further on here in due time. The key is to make sure you plan it out and actually go into it. If you hit it hard, it will work out for you. Remember what Viktor Frankl said and know your “why.”

So, without further adieu, go fly into it.

5 thoughts on “How to Get Started Freelancing

    • They definitely can be. But when you’re getting started it’s nice to have a platform to kind of feel your way through getting clients.

      As for your second question: I see a blog post in the future! But a quick answer would be that it can work. It going to depend on the style of writing you do. If someone wants short copy, a blog might come off as a bit wordy. There’s tons of freelancers out there that do use their blog as their primary portfolio. Take a look at Elma Cain as a great example.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I’ll be interested in reading that post.

        I pointed out the online freelance platform bit mostly because a lot of people act as if they could do no wrong. So I thought I should definitely point that out, even though you most likely know that already, as you proved by your reply.

        Apart from that, I’m very interested to live off my writing skills if possible. And I already have a regularly updating blog. So I thought it could prove to be advantageous for me in the future.

        Thanks for clarifying it for me.

        Like

  1. Great tips. A portfolio is so key, because that saves time showcasing your work, and you also get to prove how much you love your craft. As a fellow freelance writer, I’d also add that word of mouth is one of the most high-percentage ways of getting clients. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Like

    • Oh, absolutely! You tell you mom and she will tell everyone she knows. A few weeks later you get a call from some person in Utah saying he heard from a friend of a friend that you were good at freelancing. It works great. Starbucks doesn’t even have commercials and they get talked about ALL the time.

      Like

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