Freelancing is an ever-growing industry in India. With more and more people leaving their 9-5 jobs to join freelancing workforce, it is becoming the new way of forming an independent career. However, though it may seem easy to leave a full-time job for time flexibility and more income, it is not that simple. The increase in the number of freelancers has enhanced the competition also. So, finding work and new opportunities is now more difficult than ever.
Here's your complete guide to starting a freelancing career in India.
Before you even quit your full-time job for freelancing, you need to consider if your field is worth freelancing in. While writers, graphic designers and animators can find freelance work without much hassle, it will not be that simple for a business analyst. Hence, before you start freelancing, you need to know if you can actually freelance.
For this, look for opportunities online, or simply type 'freelance jobs for [X] position' on Google. If you see a considerable number of links and vacancies, then it is safe to proceed.
Samples And Portfolio
The next step is to keep your samples and portfolio handy. Whenever someone asks for your previous work, samples or portfolio, you should have these things ready to send. Although this won't apply to every freelance career, most will require previous work details. For instance, a writer should always keep a few published sample links to send to the client as soon as asked. Or a designer should keep the online portfolio ready for reviewing.
Proposal And Resume
These are two different things, but both are essential for a freelancer. Everyone has a resume, but freelancers, they need an extraordinary resume. The reason behind this is: first, there is a lot of competition and your resume should stand out, and second, freelancers don't go for a face-to-face interview so their resume should be self-explanatory yet amazing.
Proposal is something you send out with your resume to clients, or you send to clients when you bid online for projects. This is necessary because if you don't send the proposal, how can the client judge your talents?
Both proposal and resume of a freelancer should be something extra. It is because you are not meeting the client, but they still need to know that you have the right experience, calibre and passion for completing the work.
Looking For Work
After you have completed all the things, you need to look for clients, and there are three ways of doing so:
1. Bidding Websites Or Content Mills
There are numerous bidding websites available such as PeoplePerHour, Guru, Upwork, etc. You just have to sign up, update your profile, get it approved, and start bidding on desired projects. Bidding websites generally take time because there are a lot of people bidding on the same project, and you need to compete will all of them.
Content mills are a little different and more preferred as these websites offer projects directly to the freelancer with relevant skills. Bidding system is rare and competition is also reduced in content mills.
2. Cold Emailing
This involves collecting email IDs of potential clients from sources such as LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. and sending out emails explaining your services, charges and what extra you provide. Then the clients can respond and you can take the conversation further.
3. Personal Recommendation
You can personally ask your contacts to refer you for freelance work. You can also post about your services on your social profiles.
Few Things to Keep In Mind
• You will not start getting projects in a day or two. Yes, some people will be lucky to receive projects fast, but, for most, it takes time. In fact, it can take up to a month for receiving one nice project.
• You should always track and save some part of your freelance income. This is because for a few months or till a year, your income will be fluctuating.
• Don't stop looking for better projects. Even if you have enough work, keep looking for better projects with higher pay, and once you receive any such project, drop an old less-pay project.
• You won't have a flexible schedule for at least a year. You will instead have to work for 12 hours sometimes. The reason is that freelancing is almost like starting your own business and your business will demand your attention. You will be the only person marketing, working and analysing the process.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is don't give up if you really want to be free from a 9-5 job. If you can't be patient and need instant results, consider all the factors before giving up your full-time employment.