Freelance careers aren’t “get rich overnight” schemes.
Freelance jobs require the same, if not more effort in maintaining and succeeding.
But, with a freelance career, you’re open to endless opportunities.
When I first thought of doing something freelance, I was excited.
The first thought that came to mind was: What do you want to freelance in?
Chances are, you have a hobby you love.
You do something creative and enjoy every minute of it.
Now, how about changing that hobby into a freelance career? Sounds overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
Let me tell you how I got started by turning my hobby into a successful freelance job.
What Is Freelance?
Freelance is freedom!
Let me be specific.
Freelance is being self-employed.
You choose your own clients (or if you’re lucky, they’ll come looking for you!) and you choose the industry you want to work in. While this sounds easy and lots of fun (it definitely is fun), freelance requires a lot of commitment, organization, and hard work.
Freelancers are usually paid per job. You set the prices and create your own invoices.
There are many types of freelancers out there, such as Copywriters, Web Designers, Accountants, Data Scientists, etc…the list is endless.
So, if you’re interested in becoming a freelancer, the first question you want to ask yourself is: What do I want to do? But if you have a hobby, that’s a whole other ball game. You might already have a potential freelance career and not even realize it.
How Do I Choose the Right Hobby?
I want to preface by saying that there isn’t a right or wrong hobby, but there are certain hobbies out there that might perform better or give better ROIs (return on investment).
I turned my content-creating hobby into my freelance career.
Find something you’re passionate about.
It started back when I was drawn into Indian Soap Operas.
Don’t judge me, it’s my secret indulgence.
I loved watching Iqbal Khan in any of his shows and connected with him and his team on social media.
One thing to understand is, when it comes to TV celebrities in India, it’s easier to reach out to them as opposed to others because very few of them use social media managers.
I reached out to his team to offer my suggestions for their Instagram and Facebook pages.
I didn’t realize it at the time but I was warm-pitching my creative ideas.
If you choose a hobby that you’re passionate about, it’ll show in the content that you create.
Learn about your hobby and become an expert. Keep your mind open to learning because in order to be successful as a freelancer, you need to stay updated in your niche.
How Do I Get Started As a Successful Freelancer?
1. Search for Companies in Your Industry
Depending on what your industry is, find people or companies that are approachable.
Don’t go after the big fish just yet, otherwise, you’ll get carried away in the ocean of competition.
Find someone smaller, but someone that has a reach (might not be a big one, and that’s ok).
Something that I kept telling myself when I began my research is that the reason it’s hard to find companies that are relatively new or small is that they’re looking for content creators like you and me to rank higher on Google.
So keep in mind the search is time-consuming. But stick to it, because you will find what you need to start.
2. Think About the Services You Want to Provide
Once you find the companies that you want to work with, you need to think about the services you want to provide.
In my case, I wanted to create digital content.
In the beginning, I helped curate content.
Because he’s been in the industry for 20 years, there’s a lot to go through.
His team would require video clips, audio clips, pictures, etc… I would help find what they needed.
As we worked together, I realized that I wanted to share my ideas for what I thought his followers would want to see.
I helped translate episodes into English, I made collages from screenshots from his movies, I created quizzes to engage his fans on Instagram, etc…Today, I’ve taken over his Instagram account. I create and manage content for him.
3. Pitch Your Ideas
Pitching your ideas to the companies you’ve chosen is an important part of freelancing.
You want to connect with the company and show them your creativity and how your services can help them improve.
Be prepared for rejections as well! Learn from them.
Pitch a specific idea rather than something general.
You want to show companies that you know your industry. So the more specific you can be, the better your chances at landing a client!
In my experience, I’ve had more success with warm-pitching as opposed to cold-pitching.
I was warm pitching to Iqbal’s team without even realizing it. But, what’s the difference?
Warm pitching is when you develop a connection with a company that you’re interested in working with before you send them a menu of your services.
Cold pitching, on the other hand, is when you research companies and send them an email mentioning who you are, and the services you provide.
Personally, I recommend warm-pitching because it allows you to form a relationship with a potential client.
And even if it gets rejected, there’s a chance for more work. Why? You might get your ideas rejected and wind up with a specific task given to you instead. It’s still a win-win situation!
Why Is Networking Important As a Freelancer?
As I mentioned earlier, warm-pitching is something that’s worked better for me as a content creator.
Building a network is important as a freelancer. Why?
Freelancers rely on word of mouth, testimonials, and referrals for clients.
If you can’t put yourself out there and talk to clients, freelancing might not be the right career path for you.
I was afraid to communicate with people and I pushed myself into this career because I wanted to overcome that fear.
If I decided that I wanted to impact people through content creation, I needed to learn to communicate effectively. I needed to learn to reach out.
Use platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook to create a page for your business.
Initially, you might not have many followers and that’s ok.
Take time out of your day and spend it connecting with other people in your industry.
If you’ve chosen graphic design as your niche, then connect with other designers.
Learn from them, and communicate with them through their posts. It’s unbelievable the number of friends you can make and the amount of work you might find coming your way.
Followers will come, but connections are what you need to build on your own.
I’ve reached out to producers and local news channels on behalf of Iqbal.
We started at under 5K followers on Instagram and now it’s nearly doubled! Our engagement is at its highest! It takes time and lots of effort. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Learn from them!
How Can I Be a Successful Freelancer That Books Clients Fast?
No matter what hobby you choose to turn into your freelance job, you need to keep these five things in mind to be successful:
- Have a place where you can dump all your ideas. Keep it in a place you will check regularly. There are many productivity apps and websites, such as Notion. I’ve been a pen-and-paper person, so using a planner works for me.
- Ask yourself why you want to freelance. What are your goals? Keep in mind what you want to accomplish this coming year.
- Form a strategy. Break your goals into smaller goals. Most freelancers give up early because they don’t see immediate results. Hang in there! Create smaller goals and keep the right mindset. Hard work and commitment will always pay off.
- Find support in your field. Like I mentioned before, find other people in your niche. Have a strong support system where someone will hold you accountable. Learn from your peers!
- Practice and learn about your niche. If you want to write, then make it a habit to write daily. Keep updated about your niche and learn ways to improve
- Take courses online (they don’t have to be very expensive) and learn about ways to market yourself, build a website, improve your skills, etc…
Turning a hobby into a freelance career is possible.
But in order to be successful you need to put in the work.
Find something that you’re passionate about. Learn and practice ways to improve your hobby.
Remember, while freelancing does give you freedom, it’s also a full-time job. Treat it like one!
The more time you put into honing your craft and building your business, the more success you’ll have.
It’s by no means a get-rich-overnight scheme.
Give it time, work at it, and commit to it and you will definitely succeed.