Working as a freelancer in the gig economy has allowed many to find independence they were not afforded with a traditional nine-to-five. It gives freelancers the opportunity to take full control over their capacity, the number of clients they take on, and how much they charge. When job markets become unstable, they can find some amount of stability with an extensive portfolio and experience. For those new to working freelance, understanding the gig economy will take some time, patience, and a few failures. Time is money, and making the most of your time is the key to success.
Scouring the internet for job boards and vacancies and blindly applying is one way to start looking for freelance work. Websites like Fiverr and Upwork are popular among freelancers who want to break in and find a steady stream of income. It’s not always practical because it comes with many drawbacks. Freelance platforms like this have a complicated reputation.
Some freelancers are of the opinion that they force freelancers to compete based on prices because clients actively search for the cheapest options. On the flip side, clients are skeptical about the quality that comes from these platforms. On top of that, the platforms are not well-equipped for freelancers who operate with unique services.
Maintaining a full digital presence on social media, an updated portfolio, and acquiring clients will take more time than expected. When starting out, clients don’t come rolling quickly. After consistent marketing and pitching, there will be interest, but freelancers need to take the active role in reaching out.
Sealing the deal with clients is a tricky thing for the inexperienced. Instead of looking for a vacancy and applying like an employee, it is best to approach the opening as a business. When freelancers are responding to a gig, vying for the position like a prospective employee will open up a can of worms. Freelancers work with their clients. They do not work for them. This is a distinction green freelancers tend to forget, or at least they need a constant reminder.
This helps freelancers retain independence and gives them the mandate to have their terms respected. The gig economy has been overrun by some who drive their rates down and clients who are willing to erode working relationships. This is obviously not true for all businesses, but freelancers need to be aware of what worse-case scenarios can look like and what red flags may appear.
This is why a comprehensive onboarding process is a priceless part of sorting out the bad apples. This starts with creating a filtration system that weeds out undesirable clients. The first step is to create boundaries. What are non-negotiable boundaries?