Want to become self-employed? In this article, I am going to reveal some of my secrets to how you indeed can become self-employed, work at your own rate and build a great clientship.
Whether you have been working for yourself or are just looking for some insights into the freelancer world, this article might help you achieve a career in freelancing.
You can earn money in many different ways, either through a website, blog or freelance platform. Today it is so easy to sign up to any platform and begin your journey to becoming your own boss. However, though it may seem easy, the brutal truth is that very few will win over the first months – unless you have a good plan and the mind in the right places.
My Journey To Become Self-Employed
How I first started
One evening in 2014 I decided to check out this website called Upwork, little did I know it would become one of my greatest platforms to build new clientships and most importantly, a place where I could show off my writing skills.
I was one of the first freelancers that signed up to the freelancer platform before it attracted millions of users according to today’s statistics. When signing up for this platform you have to create a profile, fill out information like work history, career points, skills etc.
What I felt my writing was worth
One of the things I struggled with in the beginning was choosing the right hourly price – I thought my writing was worth very little, without much experience to go on it quickly became the most difficult part of the whole process. I started with as little as $13 per hour and after only one month I received my first job. I remember it like it was yesterday, it was the coolest thing I’ve experienced, that someone actually wanted me to write for their website – where the best part about it was that I could work at my own rate and pace.
It is important to understand that though you are a beginner, you are putting your hard work and dedication into the writing. It is very easy to underestimate yourself in the beginning, especially if you haven’t had a single job during your freelance career. I believe that is one of the biggest challenges in becoming self-employed, to know how much you are worth as a freelancer.
Today I work with different companies all over the world at my own rate of $27-35, depending on whether the client has a big or low budget.
How I built up my profile
It is very simple. A job is a job. A task is a task. What most freelancers do wrong, in the beginning, is only aiming for the biggest jobs. What I’ve learned from working with different clients, everything from small start-ups to bigger global companies is that most clients are looking for experienced, creative and “bold” writers. Writers that can jump on any task and challenge themselves.
Though I am most experienced in beauty, fashion and lifestyle related content I have been writing for other niches outside of my comfort zone. By doing this I’ve learned how important it is to be up for a challenge and work within different areas. This will also make being a freelancer more fun and you won’t ever find it boring.
The smaller jobs and tasks matter in the long run
There is a quote that goes – “every little helps”.
I’ve taken on many small jobs with low budgets and ratings, with one goal in mind. To build up my profile and land that big clientship which leads to becoming self-employed. Today I am working with a global brand that has sold millions of products worldwide and is one of the biggest in natural cosmetics. After I’ve sent the application I had a big smile on my face, because I knew it was my time to shine.
How to negotiate the right price
How much do you feel you’re worth? The reality is that a big client can make the freelancer feel unsure and nervous. This is because it is a natural reaction when we meet people above our level. In this situation, you need to negotiate and find a middle ground with the client. Never let a client bully you into work you feel you’re not getting paid for.
I have come across so many jobs where the highest bid for copywriting or writing is 0,01 dollars for each word. This is especially very low if you are writing a big article with 1000 words. I personally have never worked at this rate as I know it’s below the average of what a freelancer should be paid – whether or not they are experienced or inexperienced.
Today I take a source price of $0,045 per word which I think is fairly reasonable for my expertise. I have also worked for clients that have paid me higher. I recommend to always think twice before signing a deal with a client. My advice is always going with your gut.
How to keep the clientship going
After I’ve been working with nearly 70 clients, both private and published executives I have a few things to say about clientship. You won’t become best friends with the PR or company at first handshake, but they will put their trust in you and put their work into your hands. Your focus should be to make sure they feel taken care of and that their ‘business’ is being treated how they feel they are worth.
5 tips to keep your clients
– Mention their work and how much you like their work ethics, effort, and business. Whatever the client might do, always appreciate their portfolio. This is not only a great way to build a relationship with the client but also show interest in their work.
– Never talk bad about a client or a previous relationship you had with a company. Always focus on the present and the relationship you have with the new client. What has happened in the past is irrelevant.
– Find out what they need and are looking for in a freelancer. What I often do even though it doesn’t exist in their job description, is finding out what more I could do to make their website, project or articles look even better. This is a great way of showing the client you’re committed and that you have a mind of your own.
– Suggest a discounted price. If you have been working with a client for a while, let’s say for 2-3 months, a good advice is to come with new suggestions or continue working with them for a discounted price. This is a great way of showing the client you care about their budget and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their clientship.
Stay away from con-clients
– Unfortunately, in my case, I’ve experienced bad clients that are either stealing my work or trying to make me work for free. I have been working for a client that contacted me outside of my usual freelancer platform that had other intentions in mind. We discussed the details and work arrangements over Skype, where he said that he would pay me on the first day of the following week. This never happened and I had already written 15,000 words (total 20-25 articles) for him without payment.
This was the most frustrating thing I ever experienced in my writing career and I have to admit that it gave me a backlash. But I refused to let it get in the way of finding better clients, that would also keep their end of the bargain. It took me a few days to get over it, but before I knew it I landed a big client that I am still working with today.
My best advice is making sure you get paid for your work before doing it. This can simply be done by either asking for a deposit or half of the payment. Some clients may also ask for your identification details for preference, but this is a red warning sign you should be aware of. Unless it is a big company that has the authority to ask for this, never give out your passport or bank details for the verification process.
I hope you found my article helpful and insightful and wish you best of luck in your freelancer career!
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