- Jake Rocheleau | //freelanceswitch.com
Freelancing can be one of the most rewarding career paths in this technology-dependent age we live in. Earning your own money based on your own sweat and hours laboriously poured into your work – there’s just no better feeling!
What many beginners get caught up in are the details of their enterprise. Freelancing is a very general term and there are so many routes to take. You may ask yourself, how do I find a niche that’s right for me? How do I know what skills I will excel at?
Locating your Inner Passions
The most popular career path among freelancers is web design. It’s a skill that doesn’t take too much effort to learn and can be picked up in just a few short weeks of intense study. The pay isn’t too bad (if you know where to look) and the work can be very entertaining. Plus there’s always new things to learn and it’s an ever-changing industry.
However, this isn’t your only choice. There are many web developers/programmers and even writers who work freelance. You shouldn’t box yourself into the “norm” of the freelancing community – review what skills you have and can perform, then look for your market.
Another interesting career path may be into freelance Internet marketing. It’s a job which can be done from home or any place with an Internet connection, and once you know how to market articles and bring in traffic to blogs you’re practically a hot commodity!
Marketing Yourself and your Skills…
This is another big hurdle many early freelancers face, and it generally stems from a lack of focus on any single niche. Once you understand that you want to work as a freelance designer or writer, you need to let everybody else know. The most obvious way would be to start your own online portfolio to demonstrate your works.
This can be done in so many ways. Building a noticeable online profile is the first step. Most freelancers can work well with networks like Twitter to help in promotion and networking with the right people. Facebook, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon are just a few other popular networks to check out.
Google is also an interesting consideration. With the recent launch of Google Buzz and integration into GMail Google is showing its dedication as a company to connect people. Most digital business and communication can be done through Google (especially with tools like Google Docs and GTalk), which only adds to the value of a personal Google profile.
Scouring through the FreelanceSwitch archives you can find good articles to help you get started on this task and other resources to work with. Choosing an appropriate domain name for your site is key, [yourname].com seems to work very well in most cases.
Clients want to see your presence online and learn a bit about you, so don’t be afraid to get yourself out there!
Transformation from Newbie to Professional
Once you’ve got all the information and motivation to get started, you just have to play your part. Start networking with other freelancers in the field and subscribe to interesting Podcasts & RSS feeds. Becoming a freelancer means you must constantly be on the curve of technology, always keep your passion to continue learning.
The process may seem slow and the initial steps can be daunting. Although getting to a state where you can pay your bills and work for yourself is almost eternal bliss. It’s practically every freelancers dream when starting out!
Finding a niche isn’t too difficult a task, though a very important one. Research a bit through Google and other mediums to read about what other freelancers are doing and how they got started. This may help spark some ideas in your brain and guide you down the right path into freelance freedom.
I’m a social media enthusiast and Internet entrepreneur. I’ve been running social media networks on Digg and StumbleUpon for a long while now, you can find me all across the web + on Twitter @jakerocheleau. If you’re interested get in touch with me – I’m a pretty friendly dude.