3: First Steps Towards Freelancing


In this module, we'll address:

  • What you need to start freelancing
  • Basic mistakes first-time freelancers make
  • How most freelancers start (and what's wrong with it)
  • How (and why) to establish a niche ASAP

What you need to start freelancing

All you need to freelance is:

  • Mentality (e.g. self-confidence, a willingness to try, etc.)
  • Action (e.g. self-discipline, the ability to actually do the work and the skills necessary to do it well).
  • A plan (e.g. self-reflection, what you’ll get as a result of engaging this course, etc.)

Mistakes would-be freelancers make

There are two basic ways you can screw up freelancing:

  • You don’t put in the time and effort (you lack action)
  • You put in the time and effort, but you don’t apply it effectively (you have action, but you lack a plan)

There’s nothing I can do about the first point besides encourage you and offer suggestions to make doing the work a little easier.

The second point, however, is what this course is all about.

How most freelancers start

  1. They decide to pursue their passion and try to get great at what they do.
  2. They build a website or portfolio
  3. They make some branded social media profiles
  4. They wait for clients to come to them.

All of these are good things to do, but none of them will actually get you clients. To do that, you need to research your offering it and refine it; you need to seek out and engage clients. And you need to keep doing these things again and again.

Finding a niche

There’s no good reason to start freelancing as a complete generalist. The sooner you look for a specialization (or niche), the better.

A niche reduces competition and increases specialization. Niche experts can earn more and they’re more attractive to clients with problems their niche experience helps solve. It provides direction and focus.

You’ll want to find some sort of niche ASAP. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help:

  • What industry do you actually use products from or enjoy?
  • What industry hires freelancers with skills like yours?
  • What industry would you enjoy networking in and actually being a part of?