Uprooting a business from your raw talent and expertise takes a certain type of finesse and self-awareness that many people simply lack. With the Internet, the playing field is leveled, but also completely all over the map. Anyone with a real self-awareness of their skill set, and the access to the web, has catapulted themselves onto the Internet as marketable entities. This has made websites such as Elance, Odesk, and other freelance for hire websites, overwhelmed with users who want to exploit their own apparent expertise.
Freelancing your knowledge and skills has always been in excess, but with the Internet, the doors have busted open in opportunity, potential, and competition. With the Internet only be more widely used by the day, particularly internationally, this has torn down the floodgates for what is acceptable and unacceptable “expertise.” A graphic designer may have been widely motivated before the advent of the Internet. His skill was relatively niche, and his additional motivation meant he earned the extra income necessary to strive for further success. He sought after designing in-houses, and travelled the streets looking for people interested in such an endeavor. With the Internet, he is just one of so many others. The playing field is indeed flattened, but the skills necessary to excel on a tier above and beyond is excessively harder to obtain. There are many struggling music artists, but only one Lady Gaga. Freelancing without the Internet at least being used on a minute level is simply silly. People want talent, and they will find it. But the vast majority of individuals who freelance their talent may not be up for the skill level required or expected by clients.
This forces a bizarre paradox. Freelancing your skills online is efficient in reaching people you would never have reached otherwise, but with the vastly increased competition, the value in freelancing is brought down. If before you were mediocre, you now must be superb for the same results. This is the reality of freelancing in the 21sdt century. But it is still entirely possible to succeed brilliantly on the internet. Many artists of many mediums are using their skill set to make income short term, but also establish a name for themselves. If your skills are exceptional in a particular field, honing in on that around the construct of a business can create fantastic long term results.
You can devise a business around developing freelancing skills online. Doing this takes little to no financial investment, but it does take an ability to be consistently anxious. Of course, if you are starting a business at all, you should not make that your sole source of income in the beginning. The same applies to freelancing. Quitting your job and going to the Internet to freelance your skills is about as silly and cocky as building your own spaceship with aluminum foil. First of all, be entirely prepared to go months without making substantial income. Many small businesses begin by allowing you to make a couple dollars quick and begin the process of translating your time to income. Freelancing is a little less friendly, and there is one key reason for that. You need to find clients. You need to find your first client. But why would a client hire you to do a project if you have never done a project before? With such a high level of competition in the freelancing industry, there are many individuals, quite literally a pool of hundreds that have that track record and can substantiate their skill with concrete evidence.
Whichever outlet you choose to explore, whether it be writing or designing, translating or painting, do so with some “evidence” of your skill. People are not patient enough to assume that you are talented. If you want to do writing freelance, you need to have writing behind you. Try writing some content that you think a client would like. Write for the sole purpose of having that track record, whether you do it for a client or not is not as much the point as having it exist at all. Your business can only begin when you obtain that first client. If a client sees you have some content, and it is of quality, that can help in finding that first client quick.
Imagine for a moment you are selling Girl Scout cookies, or whatever a boy scot sells. In the beginning, the only people truly involved and will purchase quick, are family and friends. This go to strategy of relying on family and friends to begin has worked in almost all mediums. Tell your friends and family about your freelancing business, and there is a good chance someone will want you to work for them. Family referrals often become a saving grace for someone beginning in freelancing.
Beyond this, focus is key. You may have many skills, and you may be able to do many skills well, but you must be singular. Be self-aware enough to know what you excel at, and do that task exceptionally. If you spread yourself thin in different fields, you may find yourself at a loss in earning a quality focused track record and clients interested. If you have done five translating tasks very well, you are exceptional at the job. In the translating portion of freelancing, you become the top 1%. If you have five tasks completed in all sorts of fields, this is a weaker track record and will inevitably hurt you. Tr y to keep your energies focused on what you do best.
Freelancing has an intriguing outlet that is not explored often on a small-time level. Many freelancers go to tried websites to harness their skills and expel their assets. These websites have thousands of users, and thousands of clients digging for the right individual to do the work. But another tactic worth exploring, especially if you desire to uproot a freelancing business, is to build your own website. Of course, traffic will be severely limited, but now you are bringing people to an outside website where you control all the content that is live. It looks intensely professional, and holds true to the “fake it before you make it” aesthetic that appeals to many people. Your own freelancing website could do wonders in establishing yourself as a serious entity, because a freelancing business is, ultimately, about marketing YOU.
A freelancing business is successful when you market yourself. As opposed to many small businesses where you market the business itself, you are marketing your name. This IS your business. I would even argue that above talent is marketable. I have witnessed many talented individuals suffer beyond reason because of their inability to grasp this concept. Do not get caught in the egotism of your skill. Many people have skill! Establishing a freelance business may take quite a long time to catch ground. You may be working for free or very low wages to substantiate a track record that can prove your worth. You may spend time finding the website that works for you, or creating your own website. As a freelancing business owner, you are especially keen to the object of “freedom.” But can you balance that out with the anxiety of unconfirmed pay, finding your own work, and stretches of no consistent income? Consistent really does not even exist. If you are fascinated by the creation of a small business and the business world, you are likely well aware of these attributes. A small business is a risk, and freelancing is as well, but the most important thing is to understand why you are doing this and if you are the type of person who can excel in this. Begin a website, make some business cards, and enter the realm of freelancing. You do not need to explore the world of freelancing with both feet in the deep end and no paddle. Only after some time, confidence, and knowledge, can you maneuver into a full time position. But that is the nature of any small business. Imagine your final goals, and take steady steps into making that a reality with a clear head and directed focus.