How to Start Freelancing While Working Full Time: Part 3 (last 3 steps)
In part 3 of How to Start Freelancing While Working Full Time, we will look at another 3 handy steps in achieving your goal. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here to gain full insights on all the recommended steps. Here is a quick overview of the steps covered in Part 1 and Part 2:
- Goal Definition
- Find a Niche that is Profitable
- Identify Your Target Audience
- Calculate Strategic Pricing for Your Services
- Build a Portfolio that is High Quality
- Create Striking Work Samples
Without delaying, here are the last 3 steps I recommend you take to start freelancing while working full time:
7. Choose Your First Customers Carefully
Because your time is limited in looking for new customers (and then actually delivering the work to them) when starting as a freelancer, its essential that you get the most from your customers who you do work for. Both from a financial and portfolio expansion perspective.
Your initial customers and the work you deliver to them will form the foundations of how other prospective customers perceive you and your work. That means that the first customers you choose to do work for need to be carefully considered – especially when starting out. It’s important that you don’t over think the decision and get yourself into a space where analysing whether to onboard the customer or not paralyses you. However, spend a few moments assessing whether the customer you are about to onboard will assist in getting you to where you want to be.
What works really well for me is tracking my freelance leads using an excel spreadsheet or some CRM tool. In this way I can reference back to learn from past experiences and track customer communication.
I usually only keep two customers at a time. It’s not due to a lack of customer requests, but rather because I feel it’s better to allocate my time to customers who are closely aligned with the goals I’ve set to attract future customers.
8. Learn How to Promote Yourself
One of the most important things to learn when you start freelancing is how to promote yourself – it’s a skill that will be valuable to you now and for many years to come.
It doesn’t matter how good you are at your niche, If you want to use those skills to generate an income as a freelancer, you need to quickly learn how to communicate your strengths and convert what you are saying into paying customers.
I have put together a few points that will help you craft an effective proposal that will land you some customers:
- Make a bold entrance with an email pitch that provides the customer great value and shows that you have done your research.
- Sell what you are good at doing (your strengths).
- Think of any questions the customer may have and answer them beforehand.
- Choose from previous and relevant work examples to showcase your expertise.
- Use a proposal layout that is visually beautiful.
10. Do Not Confuse Your Full-Time Job Priorities with Freelancing
It’s most important to never forget that your full-time job (and only steady income), is your highest priority. Do not do anything to compromise your full-time job, you still need this to keep you going while you’re growing your freelance portfolio. Here are a few definite DON’Ts that I strongly recommend you to consider:
- Do not breach your full-time employment contract in any way.
- Stay away from working on freelance jobs during company time.
- Avoid using company resources and tools to complete freelance tasks.
I strongly recommend that everyone (and more specifically millennials) start freelancing on the side. It’s by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Its been my most consistent side-hassle to date, and has evolved into my full-time job. Although it’s not easy in the beginning, the payoffs are plenty and the lifestyle is rewarding. Freelancing is the way of the future. You need to stop procrastinating and hop onboard.