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How can you get started working as a freelancer and pay the bills?
Productive or successful freelancers must find time to work on their projects, find new clients and even market themselves.
Jason Chicola helped found UpWork in 2004, a platform that connects freelancers with clients. Today, he is the CEO of Rev, a San Francisco-based audio transcription and closed-captioning service.
Media professionals, journalists, academics and business executives use services like Rev to work directly with freelance typists who work from home.
Chicola, who has spent years working with or contracting freelancers, offers two strategies for succeeding in the gig economy today.
1. Build Your Personal Brand
Working in the gig economy can be tough if you haven’t established yourself as an authority within a particular niche.
You can do this by collecting testimonials from clients and promoting your expertise through content marketing.
As an example, a copywriter could blog or create content about conversion optimization for businesses. Producing this type of content consistently on a personal website or platform like Medium should help this copywriter attract the attention of would-be clients.
“The kinds of people that will be most successful in that individual freelancing lifestyle are going to be people who not only are good at selling themselves, but enjoy it,” said Chicola.
“Ideally it’s some combination of blog posts or YouTube videos or Twitter. [Developing] a following in a relatively specific area that can be the foundation of a successful freelancing career.”
This freelancer could work with a few clients for a low fee until they build social proof. Later on, they could increase their prices and choose whom to work with and when.
2. Sell Your Services On A Platform
Not every freelancer is comfortable with marketing themselves or building a personal brand through blogging. Instead, they can find profitable work by offering specialized services on a platform that connects freelancers with clients.
“If you want to be independent, which is obviously quite admirable, I would probably suggest trying to come up with some kind of specialty or niche where you can be a known expert in whatever your niche is,” Chicola said.
For example, a freelance designer could decide to build a business creating thriller book covers for indie authors. Thriller books are one of Amazon’s most popular categories, and such a large niche enables this designer to find consistent work on a platform like Upwork, Reedsy, 99designs or elsewhere.
These platforms enable freelancers to collect reviews and testimonials from clients easily, which in turn should lead to more work either via that platform or the freelancer’s website.
“I would consider a platform working for a middleman…if you don’t enjoy selling yourself,” said Chicola. “You’ll typically probably earn fewer dollars or whatever the currency is, per job than you might directly, but you might spend less time looking for work.”
A Permanent Gig
According to investment bank , 2.3 million individuals received 38 million payments over six years up to March 2018.
If this trend continues, you can expect opportunities to increase over the next few years.
“Many entrepreneurs are looking every day for other categories of work that can be done online,” Chicola said. “Ride sharing and…transcription, is growing a lot.”
Chicola also cites the example of VIPKid, a Beijing-based education company that connects English teachers who want to work from home with Chinese students. It was recently valued at more than three billion dollars.
“The gig economy broadly is a huge success that I believe shows no signs of slowing down.”
January 31, 2019 at 02:46PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs