Wondering how to become a freelancer in India? These 6 steps will show you how to become a top freelancer and learn how to work as a freelancer in India.
The biggest questions that workers are asking today are not what is a freelancer and who is a freelancer, but how can I work as a freelancer online.
A lot of people want the flexibility and freedom that comes with working at home, which means that more people are turning to the gig economy and jumping on websites like Freelancer and Upwork.
The freelance market is becoming one of the most saturated markets right now. Standing out in this very noisy freelancer marketplace is the hardest part of learning how to become a freelancer.
Millions of people want to say goodbye to the 9-to-5 lifestyle, but if you want to successfully make the transition from your 9 to 5 job into working from home full-time, you need to learn practical strategies that apply to your own situation.
Learning how to become a freelancer in India is not about registering on the best freelancer apps. The way to learn how to work as a freelancer in India is to figure out how to sell your freelancing services and promote your freelancing business online.
How To Become A Freelancer In India
In this article, you’ll learn how to sell yourself as an independent freelancer or independent contractor in India, so you can get the best clients and be able to charge what you’re worth.
So, here are 6 steps to become a top freelancer in India and create a personal brand that will help you differentiate yourself from competitors in the marketplace.
1. Discover Your USP
It’s easy to become a freelancer but becoming a top freelancer requires that you have a unique selling point. It can be the difference between being a struggling freelancer and a successful freelancer.
Understanding what you offer your clients that’s different from everyone else is vital. If you don’t know your USP, then how will you ever be able to actually sell yourself well at all? Especially in a saturated freelancing market.
Of course, identifying your own USP can be very difficult. But, there are a few steps you can take in order to work this out. And all of it involves research: market, customer, product research in particular. Then you need to then analyse it all.
- What does the current market and customer want?
- What is the perfect product in order to meet these needs?
- Can you make or provide it?
If you have the answer to these three questions and it’s the right one, then you have the perfect USP for your freelancing efforts and can start creating a freelancer business plan and a strategic plan of action for your freelance business.
2. Build an Outstanding Portfolio
One of your biggest selling points as a freelancer needs to be your portfolio. Full stop.
A client needs to make a decision when it comes to the freelance hiring process. But, what it ultimately boils down to is whether or not they feel you and your work is worth the money.
A bad portfolio, or worse, none at all, can tell them almost immediately that you may not be worth hiring. So, how do you work to build a good portfolio?
First, you need to pick the best platform. There are a lot of options out there on the market in order to host a portfolio – if your own website isn’t an option or financially possible – it just that depends on what you want to showcase.
If you write blogs, then sites such as Medium and Contently work well for showcasing such work. If you’re an artist you may want to build a freelancer portfolio through sites like Tumblr or Foliodrop.
Once you have the right platform, all you need to concentrate on is pulling together your best pieces in order to create an outstanding portfolio.
These should be your best, most impressive, pieces of work and put your best face forward for potential clients. Obviously, you may be a little biased when it comes to this, so potentially asking for a second opinion is important.
And once you have a good portfolio? Link to it. Put it on social media and basically try to get it in front of as many people as possible. That way you will be sure to draw in a better audience and a new potential client base.
3. Start a Blog
Having your own small projects to prove your abilities in your chosen space – whether that’s writing or otherwise – can be vital. A blog can be the perfect small project to help promote yourself.
Starting a blog can help highlight your current work, showcase your skills and ultimately pull in new clients as a result. Particularly important if you happen to be an expert in a particular field.
Writing a blog gives you a chance to show off and create a personal brand. It’s not hard to learn how to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog and showcase your work on your own domain.
If a client is searching for something in particular and you happen to write a blog about it, then you immediately prove your value to them. And so you’ve already half-sold yourself before they have even potentially made contact.
Ultimately, in order to sell yourself well, you will need to improve your online appearance. And a blog is one of the best ways to do just that.
4. Use Sales Tools
There are hundreds of free marketing courses and tools to promote a business online. And so you should be using at least a few of them when it comes to selling yourself as a freelancer.
You can land your first client with confidence and without fear when you know how to reach out and pitch them. One good tool, which is sometimes too quickly overlooked by freelancers, is that of email marketing. Platforms such as Substack offer free email management solutions.
An email newsletter is ideal for freelancers as it provides a level of professionalism, keeps you in contact with your potential customers, keeps current clients in the know and can be a persuasive tool to make that one potential client take the plunge.
So, even if you’re only just considering email marketing you should at the very least give it a shot. It can be a great ROI, especially as the initial price is free! The same can be said for a number of other free marketing tools.
Other marketing skills you must learn are how to promote your business locally, especially if you can benefit from having local clients.
5. Refresh Your Offers
Every time you work on a new project, you will likely learn a new skill or develop a solution which you weren’t capable of before. Each of these new skills can then be pushed further to become a new service that you can now sell.
The more you grow your skill base, the more you offer as a freelancer, the more appealing and sellable you will become as a freelancer. One of the biggest challenges of freelancing is being able to push yourself further.
It’s all very well and good living paycheck to paycheck. But, at some point, you need to be able to look at developing something which will create a more steady income for you and your business.
Think about working with someone else. Turning your service – be it writing, coding, etc. – into a product can be difficult on your own. You will almost definitely need the added skills of at least one other person to make it work well.
Collaboration on this level can lead to the creation of a new product which could very well turn into something very worthwhile to your customers in the long run. So, don’t be afraid to team up and experiment in this way.
A new product doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the services you sell either. You can easily create an online course, an extension for a website or even something as simple as a paid newsletter with Substack.
This can offer news, updates and other useful things that people might be willing to pay for. Basically, the more you have on offer, the better you will be able to sell yourself. So, get busy developing those ideas.
6. Ask for Referrals
Sometimes the best way to sell yourself is to ask your current clients to do it for you. This can be especially important if have provided a good service to the client, as their good words can win you a new long-term contract easily.
Of course, you shouldn’t be nice to clients just in the hopes that you will get a referral. Instead, you should make good client relationships a standard, as they are much more likely to then go on to recommend you to their friends, family and associates.
Of course, once you have a well-established or long-term relationship with a client then you can try and push for a referral. A quick, polite, email is fine for this.
Studies show that it costs 5 times as much to find new clients compared to keeping existing clients, so it pays to invest in learning the best practices for client communications, client retention strategies, and how to make the most of every client relationship.
Whether you’re a graphic design freelancer or web design freelancer, selling yourself as a freelancer is all about good marketing, which can be a little easier to do if you’re a marketing freelancer.
Keep your goals in mind, don’t be afraid to put yourself or your work out there and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. Before long you could even have yourself a very successful freelancing business on your hands.
I hope this article helps you learn how to become a top freelancer and how to work as a freelancer in India. If you need free career counselling for women in India, download the SHEROES app for women and get free career advice from career professionals.
Dana Oliver is a freelance writer in the business and tech niche, promoting the hiring of more women in the tech sector. She covers topics including contentious probate, social media marketing and freelancing.