If you’ve ever felt like you could do more and improve your style of life and earn extra cash, or you just feel like your current client base is not enough and you want to expand it. Or just plain down bored and wanted to try new stuff. I think being a freelancer is the right direction.
Maybe you start to wonder where to start, what do I need to learn, or even if there are any specific tools.
well let’s be honest starting freelancing is easy, but starting right is difficult. normally you will fumble about till you find the track that triggers that passion to continue or you will be depressed over time and eventually quit.
Well I may be not an expert but I have been there, so I think it’s better to follow a dotted line than nothing at all.
So many start out empty pocket and don’t have a clue if you need to pay for the knowledge you will use in the career. My experience says maybe not all of it is free but you can definitely start out with free online courses, YouTube videos, and free e-books.
I am from Egypt and we have those free courses unleashed by the ministry of communications and information technology partnering with Udacity for those various online courses from which I choose the basic web development course.
To be honest, it was a great help and they even offer the professional part for free as well. So I suggest you find those free courses wherever you may be.
If you can’t find them just go to google and there will be tons of online academies, choose the one you feel comfortable with and start.
My own advice is to stick with these courses to the end, after which you may seek further knowledge over YouTube and other online platforms.
The things I am offering here are not these. I will map out the general picture so you will know which way you’re heading.
Let’s start from scratch, Why did I use the website creator term and not a designer.
Well from my perspective website building branches out to three main categories. Web Designer, Web Developer, and Support and Maintenance provider (who can also be the designer).
1.1 Programing Language
For HTML (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML)
For CSS (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS)
Believe me, you will need those sites. Back to topic, whether you learned these or any other language they are important to build a solid foundation.
1.2 Website Building Platforms (Content Management System)
Which platform to choose and will it cost me?
Well, to go online you will have to spend money. that’s a fact. But as a start, you can try out some of them and it is completely free.
I will go over 4 website building platforms here
To better describe WordPress, I will only use 2 sentences (with a description of course).
Free and open-source (meaning that you have to find your own hosting server and a domain because they don’t provide that)
Can be used to develop your own websites using the application development environment (which also mean you can build any kind of website using it)
Aah, I can add that it has a low learning curve, so you will be up and running after a few hours of learning.
Webflow is a great website building application but I don’t recommend it to startups, as I believe you have to have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS to feel its uniqueness. It is still up to you to try it as it is a free starter till you need to publish it online.
It is a closed source (meaning that you buy your domain from them and they will act as the host).
You can apply any design you have in here as well and build any type of site with webflow.
Wix is very easy to use as you can drag and drop anything anywhere. You can also try it for free as long as you don’t intend to publish it yet.
It is also a closed source.
But be careful when you use it, as you can lose all your content if you try to change the template.
4- Square space
Square space is also a very easy tool to use. where you can choose a template and try it for free till you decide to go online as well.
It is also a closed source.
My opinion of it is that it kind of force you into a template and you can’t easily edit it. (well honestly I viewed an ad. about some square kicker application that claims to help with that issue but never tried it).
I intend to do a YouTube video and go more in-depth comparing these four building applications so stay tuned.
Do I need state of art tools to start freelancing? well yes and no. as it will all depend on what you will delve into.
Still, I recommend you buy a better version of your computer or laptop as you will spend hours staring at that screen either doing a job or finding one.
Also, you need a highly efficient processor and RAM in case you are programming as well as a good keyboard with which you will feel comfortable using. If I’m to suggest a device for you, you can check that laptop(as I’m an Amazon affiliate) or if you have any other specific specs in mind, go for it.
Always keep in mind the kind of track you want to go for and choose the best you can afford as you will be using those for the next few years. So try not to be stingy with your equipment.
Ok, here comes the part that you will try to put your abilities to test.
So the question is, do I use my own site (assuming you built your site already and gone online) and advertise myself on my own accounts on social media? Or go for the existing famous freelance platforms?
Well, you go for both as it will be a bit hard to land your first job, but if you get it and do it well and post your process images taken from doing it, it will get progressively better.
I have written an article about how to deal with your first client.
Now I will list the platforms you may use and how they work. I can only list some of them and that doesn’t mean that others are bad. It just means that I’m lazy to do all of them.
First the numbers. There are about 30 million people using this platform.
Working there you will choose from a category and bid for it with others. Try to provide a decent proposal as it will be hard to land a hit against a large number of experts competing.
Freelancer platform will take 10% or 5$ from the deal (whichever is bigger) as a commission. The minimum amount of money you can withdraw is when your balance reaches 30$ (from PayPal) or 500 $ (Bank Deposit) and there is also skrill (which only supports EU and GBP).
Your first withdrawal process takes 15 days, For subsequence withdrawal, it will take something between 1-5 days depending on the method.
For the free sign-up, you will only be able to apply for 8 jobs/month regardless of getting accepted or not. So choose carefully.
You will not be able to apply for jobs unless you complete your profile and get approved (usually take 24 hrs).
It suspends inactive accounts and those who are not serious about work.
They Mainly deal with Wire Transfer, but it is available also for Paypal, Payoneer (outside the US), and M-Pesa (Kenya only)
They have tests available which you can take to improve your chances of getting a client to choose you.
3- People per hour
There are about 1 million users daily (both clients and freelancers). It mainly targets small business owners.
The freelancer posts their offers for a fixed price they choose, but they are limited to 5 days/project.
They support Paypal (1.9% commission), Payoneer (about 3$ commission), and the withdrawal commission differs depending on where you are. If you are in US or UK then it is free. For the rest, there will be some kind of transfer commission.
To start there, you will have to get approved which takes about 7 working days and you can speed up the process by paying a fee to limit it to 24 hours.
Other Platforms include Fiverr, guru, and Toptal(this one is for experienced and highly skilled people only).
Making the decision to be a freelancer can change your whole life so think it through first. And one last piece of advice. If you have a job already, don’t quit till you are certain of your decision and get the first few jobs done to ensure you are on the right track.
By following these simple tips, you will always know what to expect, where to get your knowledge from, estimate how much money you’re spending on tools (aka computer or laptop), and most importantly, the platform to go to.
If you have thoughts to add up, Let me know in the comments below!