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How to Earn Money As a Freelancer

Freelancer

Freelancing means to have different jobs or short-term assignments or contracts with number of companies, websites, organizations, etc., without any long-term contract. The Internet has greatly expanded opportunities to earn money working as a freelancer. A recent report in Forbes revealed that freelancers now make up 35% of the U.S. workforce and collectively earned $1 trillion in the past year. Freelancing can be freeing, as the name suggests, as well as empowering and challenging.

Decide What Type of Freelance Work You Can, and Want to Do

Freelancing jobs are as broad as the work force, and you need identify what it is you want to do before you can begin to do it. View your skills as valuable resources that are worth charging and receiving pay for. Reflect on what you're good at. Just about every type of skill can be turned into a freelancing opportunity.

Keep in mind that you're "secondary" skills, like researching and writing, for example, can be just as useful as a specific set of skills unique to a profession (e.g., graphic designer or computer programming). If you know you're a strong writer, then you could develop a freelance writing business.

It's very easy to believe that you don't have the necessary skills or experience, but in fact you actually need very little experience in order to get started freelancing. Instead, believe in your abilities and focus on producing good work.

Create Your Brand

To get your freelancing operation off the ground and becoming profitable, you need to think about how you will market yourself and your products/work. This is called branding. You need to create a brand for your what you're selling and how it sets you apart from the competition - this is your "identity" and includes your website, logo, tagline, blog, and social media accounts, among other aspects.

Your brand should clearly communicate what you do that is special and what you offer that is worth buying. Try to narrow your focus to a specific industry. For example, if you decide you want to do freelance writing, you might only decide to write for online travel sites and business and thus be a freelance travel writer. Or you might decide you want to write for business and corporate websites. Specializing within the field (in this case, the very broad field of writing) will make you more attractive to potential clients because it shows you have a particular rather than a generic set of skills, also known as a niche.

However, don't let the brand be your primary focus. You could have a huge Instagram or Twitter following, but that doesn't really pay the bills. Don't worry about followers or retweets, and instead focusing on producing quality work. That's the ultimate way to build your freelancing business and earn money.

Build a Portfolio

A lot of potential clients are less interested in your specific qualifications than in a demonstrated ability to do the job. They want to see samples of your work and decide whether you're a good fit for their particular project. So building a strong portfolio of your work (samples as well as past projects) is key to building your business and in fact, you shouldn't launch your freelancing business until you have this portfolio.

Include as well testimonials of people and organizations who you've worked with. Reading glowing reviews will help boost your profile among prospective clients.

Generating material for your portfolio takes time and resources. If you have no paid assignments or previous work to put in a portfolio, create some by offering your services pro bono or taking your free time to produce some.

Remember that more is not always better. Although volume can be good and help with self-promotion, it's also important to try to incorporate some bigger and higher profile jobs, rather than just building a portfolio full of the smallest and least lucrative projects. If you want to make big money by working with high-paying clients, then you need to show those clients that you can produce the kind of work they're looking for. Again, consider offering pro bono when you're first starting out.

Don't launch your freelancing career until you've actually created the products or provided the services you plan to sell. Having the portfolio shows clients that you've actually done what you're telling them you can do.

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