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By: Rahul Jain
Tip#1: Be Careful With The Niche You Choose
Today you will find that almost all professionals can freelance right from the comfort of their home, being able to choose what projects they would like to be a part of and decide the pace of their work. From writers, designers, editors, publishers, programmers, IT consultants, content managers, investment consultants, lawyers, dieticians, SEO experts and even multimedia experts can easily find freelance assignments to earn a steady income. However, the key lies in choosing a niche you are knowledgeable about and experienced in.

Tip#2: Build A Solid Portfolio
Now that you want to become a freelance contractor in an area of your expertise, it is time to create a portfolio, if you don’t already have one. It doesn’t really matter whether you are looking for a career change with freelancing or simply want to become your own boss, the only way you can get great job prospects is to prove to potential clients why they should hire your services. You can request a friendly client you have previously worked with to allow you to use their project as a sample to showcase your skills and professional abilities. If that isn’t possible and all work you do is rather of a sensitive nature, create a sample personal project and make sure that it highlights your skills in the best possible way.

Tip#3: Don’t Be Afraid To Start Small
As a newbie, you still have to prove your mettle. So make sure that you are more than happy to grasp every small opportunity and make it work in your favor. With humble beginnings starts your journey towards a thriving freelancing career. You will also get to understand the smaller nuances of the job, especially now that you are working without the support of a team and the directions of a superior or boss. Every small project you undertake is a step towards achieving your final goal – bigger and more lucrative projects. Also, it helps build connections with clients, who might be so impressed with your dedication and passion that they might come back to you with regular work.

Tip#4: Improve Your Networking Skills
Since you are your own boss, you have to generate your own work leads. And how do you do that? Of course, through networking on social media sites! Let your old friends, associates, colleagues and acquaintances know that you are available as a private contractor and make sure that you stay up-to-date with any industry changes. Having an impressive profile on networking sites means more people can find you online and it also adds credibility to your name.

Tip#5: Start A Blog
Today, anyone and everyone owns a blog. Why should you be any different? In fact, a free blog gives you a free website that your clients can refer to. It allows you to update your projects, add snippets of your work, and show off your professional skills. It’s an investment of your time that will greatly pay off in the long run. Plus, it also gives you and your work more exposure and helps create more opportunities for you.

Tip#6: Do Your Research
So you have decided that you want to make freelancing your full-time career. But how are you going to charge your clients? Bear in mind that freelancing is very different from a regular job. You want to be justly paid for your efforts, but since your work profile will be very varied, you need to understand industry standards before you bid for a job. Do a little research and find out what a professional like you can expect to be paid in the freelance industry, and then make your own adjustments based on your educational background, work experience and additional skills.

Tip#7: Live Up To Your Commitments
As a freelancer, you need to constantly work upon building your reputation. And that means you have to take every work commitment you make very seriously. Never under-bid to get a project, and then quit half-way through because you realized you might be incurring a loss. Don’t promise to meet unrealistic deadlines and do not commit to a job you aren’t fully qualified to complete. Your reputation rides on your deliverables, so make sure that they are always realistic and reasonable. Every client you work with is a potential connection that can bring in consistent work, so make sure that you treat every business opportunity with 100% professionalism and seriousness.

Tip#8: Practice Regular Working Hours
As a freelancer, it can get rather tempting to idle away time because at the end of the day you are at home, or put in too much time at a stretch and then feel dissatisfied with the pay. The secret to being a successful freelancer lies in being able to balance out your working hours and personal time. Try and keep regular working hours, much like you did when you had a regular job. This also helps you analyze exactly how much time a project will demand, and quote a fee accordingly. As a newbie, hourly paid jobs can be a better choice as they help you get a clearer understanding of time estimations and resource allocations.

Tip#9: Request For Recommendations
Since you are trying to get more and more work, make sure that you build positive relationships with every client. Request them for recommendations so that you can get more work opportunities, and ask for referrals.

Tip#10: Always Work With Reliable Freelancing Portals
Many people unfairly assume that freelancing comes with no job security. That doesn’t have to be the case, especially if you work with a reputable freelancing portal like ‘XYZ’. It gives you a great platform where you can meet with clients, discuss your contract terms, and undertake any project that appeals to you. Without freelance portals, freelancers had to wait for clients to approach them and sometimes went for months without a paying job. However, today these freelancing portals are the perfect platform where you can meet hundreds of clients and choose from a plethora of interesting projects to add to your portfolio.

With these simple tips in mind, it becomes easier for a newbie to become a successful freelancer. All you have to understand is that you are trying to build a business from scratch, and hence you will need to give in your best to get the best out of it. Good Luck!

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