With competition growing fierce in every part of the world, the prospects of earning good money grows small. In the semester Fall 2017, BRAC University admitted 684 students in the department of Computer Science and Engineering alone. Now, if you are a student studying CSE in BRAC then by the time you graduate there would be approximately four to five hundred graduates, leaving all those who fall behind, fighting for a position in the job market, and not to mention all the graduates from around the country or even the world. Is it not a wise decision to know something beyond what your schools and colleges teach you?
Well, in this day and age, where the Internet is almost available to everyone with a phone or a computer, freelancing is the way to go. You may have heard the word freelancing sometimes or that freelancing is a great way to learn some money. Well, if you have, then you probably have a general idea of what freelancing is. But the question is, how do you do something that you have not been taught in school, or by your parents or even friends? The truth is that you have to get into freelancing to know what it is all about. That even though you have never done freelancing before, it is possible to do so and earn yourself some money.
Table of Contents
- 1 Freelancing in short
- 2 What if you have absolutely no experience?
- 3 Getting into the world of freelancing
- 4 Know your skill and improve on it
- 5 Create a Blog
- 6 Create a good profile
- 7 How to make a good freelancer profile
- 8 Start Small, Aim Big
- 9 Start Networking
- 10 Tell them what YOU can do
- 11 VIDEO: Pros and Cons of freelancing
- 12 Finally!
Freelancing in short
To know what freelancing is, it is better to know what a freelancer does. In short, a freelancer is a person who is generally self-employed and who is necessarily not consigned to a single employer or client. He can choose what type of jobs he wants and also choose his client if the said client is willing to work with him, and the variety of work is limitless. Almost everything a business needs can be provided by a freelancer, such as – advertising, blog posting, Search Engine Optimization, graphics designing or even web programming.
What if you have absolutely no experience?
If you have never done freelancing or have never heard of it before then it is obvious that you have no experience in the field. But that is not the end of the world. Trust that you are not alone and that every year, the number of freelancers is on the increase and many of them have little to no experience at all; all they take with them in the start is will and hardened determination to be successful in what they want. When you start your way in freelancing, you will see that there are many fields in freelancing that you have knowledge of and have the skill to do a particular job.
There are many students worldwide who are efficient in English or maybe their own language. These students find that there are hundreds and thousands of jobs online that require proficiency in a particular language. Proficiency in English can take a person a long way and there are many people who are competent in English. If you are one of these people, then you would be happy to know that there are many jobs available that match your skill set. Examples of these jobs are – article writing, proofreading, blog writing, transcribing (converting an audio to text), story writing and so much more.
If you do not have a language that you are adept at then there are other ways you can get into freelancing. One very common job these days is data entry. Almost everyone can do data entry and this a very convenient for many businesses across the globe as data entry done by freelancers saves a lot of time for them. If you don’t know what data entry is, it is the process of entering or updating data in a computer system. Simple right? This is particularly good for those people who can type relatively fast compared to the general population. So, if you can type fast then you know where to look into. This is a very simple way to get into freelancing with little to no experience in freelancing.
Apart from data entry and tasks that require language proficiency, there are other jobs that require no prior experience. There are many people online who are actively hiring virtual assistants (people who provide assistance to clients from home) and many of these positions don’t require prior experience. If you filter jobs that require no prior experience in Upwork, which is the biggest site for outsourcing and freelancing, you would find jobs such as social marketing manager, web developer, storybook editor, customer and project support, audio editor and so much more.
Keep in mind that having no prior experience and having no talent or skill set are two very different things and that while you may not have done freelancing before, you probably have the skill to do jobs in at least one particular field.
Getting into the world of freelancing
A very effective way to start your way into the world of freelancing is making your presence known, really getting out there. Now, keep in mind that this could take a while. A teacher, Jubayer Islam, from BRAC University who teaches what freelancing is, said that it took him two whole years to land his first job from Upwork. After years of working hard, he now gets so many offers from previous clients that he does not even need to apply online and when he is flooded with offers, he offers some to people he knows can do the task. But even after this, here are additional tips on how to start freelancing without previous experience:
Know your skill and improve on it
H. Preston, who is a member of the Upwork community since 2014 said that clients usually do not care about your educational background. They just want to know if you possess the skills to do the job that they require to be done.
There are many things that schools and colleges do not teach you.
Consider an example, the International Physics Olympiad is a prestigious competition for anyone who loves physics, in one stage participants were given a light bulb, two wires and a cell, to power up the light bulb. Now, schools teach you very complex circuits to help you understand electrical circuits, but have you ever seen something as simple as two wires, a bulb and a cell? Many failed to pass that test. How do you do it then? You take the bulb and join the two wires to the electrical contact that is under the bulb, then you connect the two ends of the wires to each pole of the cell, the bulb lights up. Things like these are not taught at school. Rather, these are things that you learn as you dabble in physics. Now go outside physics, you will find a world of unlimited things that are not taught at school, rather you pick up these skills as you go through life.
In freelancing, a brilliant way to earn money is through writing. Schools teach you grammar and language, but no matter how much they try, they cannot make you a good writer unless you yourself have the will to become one. To do that, practice is mandatory. If you enjoy writing, then explore topics that you find interesting. Show each of your writings to your friends and family and be open to feedback, be ready for criticisms and willing to improve on them, and gladly accept compliments.
Besides professional and school experience, there are different skills that you learn throughout your life. Some of these skills may include communication skill (This is a very good skill to have), typing skill, researching skills and many more. Many businesses online hire typists to do their everyday data entries. The faster you type, the easier it would be for you to land these jobs, and the more the type the faster you will become.
Create a Blog
Opening your own blog is an excellent way to get yourself out into the world to make yourself known. Use your blog as a means to show your clients what you can accomplish and what you are adept at. This way, potential clients will know what your skills are, such as typing, graphics designing, web developing, marketing strategist or something else. Even besides this, you are also learning how to manage a blog which can be a skill in itself. If you are a writer or a graphics designer, you can also put your work samples on your blog to show your potential clients of your expertise. But remember, even the best writers make mistakes, so check your samples before uploading them to the blog.
Posting samples are very important as it shows your clients your capability. You will see that even two or three samples of your works can bring in a whole lot of clients that would never have gotten if you did not post the samples before.
Create a good profile
Freelancing sites usually require you to open an account using your email address.
Opening up your account means, to create a profile of yourself that clients would see when you apply for a job, it is your image. Your profile defines who you are and what you can do and if you are adept at completing what your client requires. So, you have to be very careful about how you set up your profile, and therefore, your image.
How to make a good freelancer profile
Here are a few ways how you can create a very good profile for yourself:
Start Small, Aim Big
Getting into freelancing will be difficult if you start asking for jobs that are big just because they offer a huge amount of money. The thing is, when clients post big jobs online, they look for well-known freelancers and who can assure quality return. If you have no identity and no ratings then chances that are you are not getting the job. In the initial stages, this could leave you very frustrated. So it is a very wise move to start small, there are hundreds of jobs, like data entry and virtual assistance that require the freelancer no prior experience to apply for the job, and these jobs are what clients gladly offer to new freelancers.
Even though small jobs offer less money and can be time-consuming, do exactly those. In the beginning, your focus should be on building a reputation as a brilliant freelancer on your skill set pool. Do a good job, even though the money is small, but ask the client to give you a five-star rating. You do have to do the job well and be good at it, but if you are sure of your skills and do the job with dedication, it is easy to get five stars on your work. That way when future clients see that your profile has an excellent rating, getting jobs would get much easier.
Small jobs that do not require past experience is available on all freelancing websites, you just have to filter the jobs. These are also the jobs that you have a high chance of getting instead of jobs that require years of experience and good ratings so that you can start your way into the world of freelancing.
Networking is an extremely effective way of telling people who you are and then you are now interested in freelancing. There are so many groups for freelancers on Facebook that it should not be a problem to connect with people. Besides social websites, you have numerous freelance job boards like ServiceScape, ProBlogger, Upwork or Fiverr that would help you find clients and the job that would fit you.
Lastly, you should remember that after all this, numbers are a big deal. It is simple, the more jobs you apply for, the higher the chances of getting a job; do not just sit around after applying for two or three jobs and hope for much. Apply for as much job as you can and eventually, you will get one.
Tell them what YOU can do
As a freelancer, you have to know exactly what your client wants you to do for him. When you write about yourself, know that while it is important to tell your clients about your past experience and skills, it is more important to tell your clients about what you can do for them! A common mistake that almost all new freelancers do is that they write an essay about themselves.
Think it through, if you are a writer, clients will not want to know about why you enjoy writing so much, or about how you got into writing, they will want to about how you can use your skills to help them. Clients who are used to posting jobs online will spot you from a mile if you write every paragraph in your profile about yourself.
Keep in mind that having no experience is not an excuse, there are other people like you who to do not have experience, just like there are so many freelancers out there who started as nothing but are now a well-known freelancer. If you do not have experience then the road forward is quite simple. You have to acquire experience; it definitely will not come to you gifted in a box. Try all the things mentioned above and go above and beyond to achieve what you desire. If you have the skill then there is no doubt that you will get a client eventually and your journey would really get going then.
It is important to keep yourself pushing the limit, it is only that way that you will grow beyond what you are and become something better. There is no limit to what you can learn. There will always be something you will find that you do not know and as trends change so does the way people think. You will find that as you grow your knowledge, the number of your clients will also grow.
Related: A beginner's guide to freelancing
VIDEO: Pros and Cons of freelancing
Freelancing can be quite intimidating in the beginning, but remember that it will only seem that way if you let it be. Freelancing is a great way to make some money at home whether you do it part time or full time. Remember that you are never without zero experience and that even if you have little, there is a world of jobs out there you could grow to and many of those jobs are quite possible to do with what you know already and with the skill you already possess.
It is very true that landing that first job is very frustrating and difficult but that is where the hardest part stops. Once you get used to it to will come very easy to you and you will know the flow of how things work and what clients expect from you. With enough will and dedication from you, you can go a long way and what may seem impossible now would be possible in the near future.
Never give up even if you fall down and you will see that even without a lot of experience in the beginning, with enough work on your part and hopefully by following most of the tips or all of them, you will reach a position that could never dream of in the beginning.
Mehraj Mursalin Al-Moti
CSE. BRAC UNIVERSITY