So you’ve decided you don’t like the typical 9-to-5 or you need some extra cash. Or maybe, you’re just getting started and you want to build experience before finding a full-time job. Either way, you’ve decided you want to try your hand at freelancing. This guide will show you how to do it like a pro.

First, what is freelancing?

Freelancing is using your skills, education and experience to work with multiple clients on different projects, without committing to a single employer. 

In simpler terms, freelancing is contract-based work. You’re using your skills to help people or companies accomplish stuff, but you’re not actually employed by any of them.

How’s this different from a full-time job?

You already get the main gist, but there are other differences between freelancing and a full-time job. 

The first one is you don’t earn a salary. Most freelancers earn on a project-by-project basis. This means you can earn more when you have a lot of high-paying projects at hand. But when you don’t, brace yourself for sapa.

So, how to freelance well

First, get a skill

You probably know this already, but you need you can sell to clients in the first place. Most likely digital skills such as digital marketing, social media management, copywriting, content writing, software development and a whole lot of other things you could do.

You need some experience

We all know the chicken-and-egg problem of needing some experience to find a job while also needing a job to get the experience. It’s not very different with freelancing. You need to show you’ve done what you claim you can do.

A good fix is to have side projects presented very nicely in a portfolio of some kind, to show your potential employers.

You also need access to clients

People will tell you the best way to get clients is to sign up on freelance platforms. But the best way is actually through referrals from a network you’ve built over time. 

But again, you need to find clients to work with to build your network. So back to freelancing platforms, websites like Upwork, Freelancer, Gigster and many others. You’d have to create a profile on these sites to sell yourself and your services/skills. 

Know how to negotiate

Most freelance platforms are marketplaces, and the people who want to hire you will definitely price your market. Stay guided, and make sure you know what you’re worth. Have a minimum rate you’re willing to accept and go from there. You might be earning very little at first, but you can expect your income to increase with your experience and rating on these platforms. 

Negotiations will either make you eat good or stress for nothing. There are useful resources online that teach you how to negotiate and price your services better as a freelancer. 

Have good internet

Make sure your internet won’t air you when it’s a day to deadline and you’re trying to fix a part of your work. If you need to make a good choice, read this. Choose well and have peace of mind.

Even after choosing well, your service provider can sly you anytime. That’s why you should plan to have a backup or number of backup providers as you start making money.

Have steady electricity

You can’t work well as a freelancer if you’re having issues with electricity. But if you live in Nigeria, there’s a good chance you’ll have this issue anyway. A small generator might come through for you in this case. If you have a bit more money, you can buy an inverter to save yourself the stress of looking for fuel every other day. 

You need a means of receiving money

In the end, you’re doing this for the money. And even though it’s sweet to earn in dollars, you need a way to actually receive it in your non-dollar account. There are many apps for this — Payoneer, Grey finance, Wise, and cryptocurrency apps — so pick the ones that suit you best. 

When you start earning your dollars, come back to Zikoko and buy us puff-puff.

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