17 Feb 2021 19:15 IST

A step by step guide into the world of freelancing

Narrow in on a monetisable skill that can be applied and get better at it everyday

In every college there are a few students that have a paid internship or a part-time job. They are the champions: the “lucky ones” with “great contacts”. But the average student doesn’t have that luck. They stick it out and get through several unpaid internships so that their CV looks commendable.

The thing is, no one showed them that there exists another world — one full of opportunities — the world of freelancing! This is a world not only for the lucky ones or the ones with good contacts, but for everyone. Well, not exactly everyone, but anyone who works hard enough.

But, here’s the thing about being a freelancer: it’s a lifestyle everyone wants, but not one everyone can have. Mostly, because it requires an initial spurt of hard work. You’ll have to invest time, effort, and even money in becoming better at your talent. But if you’re up for the challenge and willing to give it a shot, there’s no reason why it won’t work wonders for you.

Here’s a step by step guide into entering the world of freelancing.

Finding the talent

The big “purpose of your life” question has caused many of us stressful nights and annoying conversations with family and relatives. Here are a few pointers that hopefully push you towards the right direction.

- Take a personality test. The Myers Briggs one is highly reputed. It gives you a deep dive into your strengths and weaknesses so you can capitalise on them.

- Think (and make a note) of the things you are passionate about and you keep coming back to. This could be anything like writing in your diary, painting on a canvas, or practising coding.

- Talk to your friends and family. Sometimes, we’re blind to our own abilities. Speak to people that are close to you and ask them what they think you’re good at.

Turning talent into a skill

Once you’ve narrowed down the talent(s) you have, the next step is to commit to turning that talent into a skill. Accept that you’re a beginner (even if you’re not entirely) and you have a lot to learn. There’s a huge difference between drawing in your diary and designing social media posts. But this is an easily fixable problem. Go out of your way to get better everyday: take courses, read books, and keep practising.

Monetising the skill

You have the talent, it’s turned into a skill, now you just have to make money off it. What’s important here is to understand where your skill can be applied. If you’re good at writing, you have the capacity to be valuable in ways you probably didn’t even know. For instance:

Writer → Email Marketer

Writer → Blogging Expert

Writer → Copywriter

Writer → Book Editor

Start working

Now finally you’ve reached a place that you’re satisfied with. Where does one start though?

Inner Circle: Here’s when you can reach out to the relatives and the relatives of relatives (they do come in handy). Create a well-worded pitch, and send it out to people you think might be interested.

Cold Emails: This is a tricky one. You send out 100 emails and usually get a response from about 10. Out of which, maybe two people seem interested in hiring you. It’s taxing and doesn’t have great returns. But for someone who’s just starting out, it’s usually a good first step.

Join a Freelancer Community: Here’s where things get fun. Once you join a community whose sole purpose is to make you better at freelancing, you’re sure to have a strong backing. You can join places such as Upwork, Fiverr, Pepper Content. Lancify has a Discord community that speaks about freelancing every single day: from getting clients, to pitching, networking and negotiating. Putting yourself out there is definitely the most critical step of them all.

It seems like a lot, but from speaking to tons of freelancers I’ve realised that the initial step is sometimes all it takes.