How to Start Freelancing: 5 Tips to Jumpstart Your New Career

Advice for People Looking to Start Freelancing

Most of us are used to working in a structured setting, whether for a big company or nonprofit, so the transition to the freelancing lifestyle can be a challenge. In an office setting you get structured project assignments, a base salary, feedback from your manager and peers, and a desk. Now that you are working for yourself, here are 5 tips to make the transition from newbie to professional in no time.

1. Develop a Routine that Works for You

Working for yourself means more time for a leisurely morning run, or greater flexibility to tackle your work during the time of day where you’re most focused. But sometimes a wide open schedule can feel overwhelming, and make it difficult to be productive. As you're starting out freelancing, make sure to develop good habits early on, and commit yourself to certain times of the day that will be dedicated to work. If you get lost on a particular task, check out some of these great focus rituals to get you back on track.

2. Find Steady Projects that You Can Commit To

You’ll want to have work that you can rely on for monthly income, so finding those projects early on is a great way to give you the stability to go out and pursue your dream clients. Teaching online is a great way to earn steady income when you start freelancing. On Skillshare, our top 100 teachers earn over $1000 every month, and many freelancers, like Peggy Dean, earn over $2000 in their first month on the platform alone.

3. Build your Network and Personal Brand

It’s important that people know you’re freelancing, so honing your network and getting your work online as soon as possible is key. Think about all of your friends, former colleagues, and that random person you met at a friend’s apartment last month who can help you break into your field of work, and start setting up some coffee dates. Don’t feel like you have a network? It’s never too late to get started. Make sure people can readily identify what your expertise is, so develop a personal style and a website to showcase your work.

4. Develop a Pitch that Makes You Shine

Getting buy-in from prospective clients can be a daunting task, but if you’ve got your pitch down pat it will play to your strengths and help you land projects easily. Keep your pitch simple and focused, and make sure it showcases the range of work you do to show prospects your flexibility. Start by practicing your pitch with a friend, and put together some email templates that can be easily sent out to your dream clients.

5. Find Your Feedback Network Amongst Your Peers and Mentors

In an office environment feedback is usually a given and there are lots of opportunities to make meaningful adjustments to your work before it hits the final draft. When you’re working for yourself, finding good avenues for feedback outside of your client’s needs can be hard to come by. Find a few peers or mentors who you can rely on to be a sounding board when you’re getting started on a proposal, or who can provide constructive feedback when you’ve got a good draft of your work.