What is freelancing and how do I get started on it?



A freelancer is self-employed person offering services, usually to businesses and often to multiple clients at a time. The type of work freelancers do varies. Nearly every type of service a business would need could be provided by a freelancer, including (but not limited to), marketing, such as social media marketing, copywriting, and publicity, writing, such as articles and blog posts, technological support, such as web programming and design, creative works such as graphic design, and financial support, such as bookkeeping. Freelancer - Hire & Find Jobs is the world's largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by number of users and projects.



There are several perks to working as a freelancer, including:
Get started quickly
today even. As long as you already know the skill you plan to offer, getting started is simply a matter of finding your first client. 


Easy to start
You can start right now, using your network find a client. While you'll want to build a LinkedIn profile and/or a website, you can network within your current career and friend networks to find your first client.


Affordable
 Odds are if you have the ability to provide the service, you also have whatever equipment or software you need to deliver it. Eventually you'll want to invest in business building tools, such as a website, but using LinkedIn(which is free) is a great online resume that can help you promote your service.



High demand for help
While the marketplace of freelancers is competitive, the need for quality, reliable freelancers is growing. Many businesses don't have employees and instead have a team of freelancers. 


Choose your own schedule
Work when and where you want. 


Pick and choose clients
While in the beginning you may take any client that will hire you, as you grow, you can choose not to take on difficult clients. You can even fire them.



Do the work the way you see fit
While you need to deliver what the client asks, how the work is done is up to you.


How to Get Started as a Freelancer
Getting started as a freelancer is as easy as visiting one of the freelance sites to find work, and networking with your current sphere of influence to find your first client. Here's steps to building a freelance career: 



1. Decide what you'll offer.
Common freelance work includes writing, web design, graphic design, photography, marketing, social media management, bookkeeping and more. 



2. Determine your target markte.
Who needs what you have to offer? Decide if you'll specialize within a specific niche of your service (i.e. copy writing or WordPress web design) or within a specific market (i.e. writing for Realtors or web design for authors). This is the time to decide your brand and unique selling proposition.



3. Create an online portfolio.
Start at LinkedIn, a social network all about career networking. Build a profile that promotes the benefits you have to offer. Consider setting up a website, which will offer you more customization and flexibility than LinkedIn. 


4. Set your prices.
Make sure you charge enough to cover your overhead, time to do the work, as well as to earn a living. 


5. Start reaching out to find clients.
Use your network to help you connect with potential clients. Consider using a freelance site, such as Freelancer.com or Upwork (formally eLance and Odesk) to find work. While they may pay less than you want, it can be a great way to get experience, testimonials and referrals.
Freelancing is a fast and affordable way to get started working as your own boss from home. With that said, there are pros and cons, and success comes from those who plan their business and deliver high quality work.