The 5 Golden Rules for Finding Online Gigs
When I started freelancing about 15 years ago, the farthest thing from my mind was adventure and freedom. I just wanted off the corporate treadmill.
When I decided to make the break, I printed up business cards, went to Chamber of Commerce meetings hoping to find clients that would need my services, and started pestering anybody I knew who I thought would give me freelance assignments.
This led to what seems like thousands of awkward moments, sweaty palms, and thoughts of, “Oh my God, I’ll never be able to freelance.”
It was a long, hard slog back then.
Things are different today.
Today, I don’t recommend business cards but tapping into systems that are already seeking your skills, and finding your client pool online…no awkward visits to chamber meetings required.
Here are a few simple insights into the freelancing world that will help you down the path to a global client base. Following these strategies will boost your freelancing to a new level (and avoid some of the bumps and bruises I got figuring this out).
1. Instead of chasing clients, let clients come to you
Today there are over 100 online marketplaces for freelance services, filled with millions of buyers who want all kinds of work done—from simple things like writing, proofreading, and editing to more complex assignments like photography, video editing, graphic design, and pretty much everything in between you could imagine. Once you establish yourself on these marketplaces, clients will find you.
2. Start with simple assignments
This is especially important to the baby boomer who may have never freelanced before. Building your confidence on small, simple assignments (usually less than an hour or two for you to complete) is the way to quickly grow your freelancing prowess and client base.
3. Think globally in terms of clients
The big challenge with starting a freelance business is the size of your “pond” of prospective clients. So why limit your prospective clients to just the city you are in? Today, if you tap into online freelance marketplaces, your skills can lead you to assignments around the world. The beauty of online freelancing is that you don’t need to be in the same country as your clients, so the world is your oyster.
4. Focus on building your reputation
Because your clients rate you on the work you do, you can quickly build a good reputation online by performing reliable, high-quality work. As other buyers see your reputation grow, they seek you out. Buyers are always on the hunt for fresh creative talent that they can rely on. If you join the “right” online networks and garner good reviews from the clients you work with, the network will promote you to clients you would never otherwise encounter.
5. Remember to embrace the flexibility
More companies than ever before are turning to freelance talent. They love the flexibility it gives them, the bigger talent pool, and the ability to hire people with more specific skills. And they usually don’t require you to show up to a place. You can typically work on your own schedule from wherever you’d like to do the work. And you have more control over deadlines than ever before. As you get started in freelancing, it’s important to put in the work—but it’s also important to start enjoying the flexibility the work gives you in your own life. You’re not commuting to an office to spend the same eight hour period there every day. Embrace this freedom and it will keep you motivated to make online freelancing work for you.
Now the downside…
These remarkable new freelance systems come with a few barriers to entry for many baby boomers.
All of the speed bumps are relatively easy to overcome with a little training and insight, but our 30+ year careers have some baggage associated with them that we boomers need to jettison.
The goal is to marshal your resources, shed the irrelevant skills, and create a lean, mean portable income that provides more than just a paycheck, but a life of interest, meaning, and adventure.
Written by Winton Churchill