With the increased use of smartphones and the Internet, freelancing has for many, become the preferred way to work. It provides comfort, freedom and money, making it a popular proposition for the youth of our country. And like many others, if you are also looking for ways to become a freelancer in India, you must know that it is not as easy as it appears. While freelancing is quite liberating, it is also difficult.
According to studies in 2018, India ranked second after the US in terms of the freelance workforce. In 2020, it is estimated that 50% of the workforce will start freelancing. As of 2018, 43% of the freelancers were millennials. And their passion to become a freelancer was driven by the desire to enjoy work-life balance and be their boss.
Hiring freelancers is also acceptable and attractive to many businesses. This means that starting a freelancing business while working full-time can eventually pay off. If you channelize your energies and use your skills well, you can turn the opportunity into a sustainable self-employed career. Many in India have adopted effective ways to grow in the domain of freelance writing jobs.
Freelancing requires dedication, commitment, hard work, and determination. An individual must know of the different ways in which he/she can gain freelancing projects. Here is a simple guide to help you kickstart your freelance career in the right manner and make the journey smooth.
How to Become a Freelancer in India?
1. Define your Goals
It is important to have clearly defined goals with measurable milestones. In the absence of goals, it is challenging to reach where you want to. So, first and foremost, understand why you are freelancing? Is it to earn an additional income? Or do you want to enjoy the lifestyle benefits of being a freelancer?
Irrespective of what the goal is, it is essential that you have clarity on the same. Some of the leading entrepreneurs agree that the journey becomes easier if the goals are defined right at the beginning.
2. Identify a Profitable Niche
Let’s say you are an amazing cook and your entire family loves the meals you cook. You are always complimented for the food you prepare for dinners and get-togethers.
Undoubtedly, the market is full of vendors providing various types of cuisines, at affordable rates. Their dishes are delicious and their price competitive. However, there’s no point competing with the pricing of other freelance chefs.
You need to take out the time to identify a profitable niche to do your business. This, for instance, would mean identifying the right cuisine based on demand or the right dishes that require skill and quality. You need to find clients who value quality. You must target to compete on value and not the price.
Just like cooking, there are several other home-based business ideas to earn money. You can start one focusing on your skills, and take it to the top by identifying where the profit lies.
3. Determine your target market
For any freelance business, the target market is as vital as the niche. As you start, you can take a more shotgun approach to crack the first few clients. For instance, you can plan out who you want to work with and reach out to them. Once you work with these identified clients, you’ll know whether this is the type you need. If yes, you can continue to pursue similar clients. If no, you can identify a different set of target clients.
The reason you should narrow down your target market is that you get a chance to fine-tune your skills in a particular niche. If you start with content writing services and write content for tech-startups and business influencers, you’ll gain expertise in the field. Moreover, you’ll frequently get referrals to build your reputation in the domain.
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4. Set Pricing
The right prices have a huge impact on your freelance business. Spend some time analyzing the value you deliver and then determine your expected hourly rate. Make sure the rates you decide can meet your income goals and your expenses.
One of the most common mistakes of freelancers is to decide pricing based on what competitors are charging. Remember you need to ask for the price of your work, your value, and your quality. Second, pricing depends on the target market. If you are targeting smaller clients who don’t have as much budget to play with, you need to keep low pricing.
On the other hand, if you are targeting established companies and your service speaks of returns, you can charge higher prices. It all depends on how well you do your homework in identifying the clients you wish to pitch to. If you do your homework well, you will sell what your clients require at a price that you can justify.
5. Make a Portfolio
When you think about how to become a freelancer in India, you need to also think about how you will showcase your work to the target audience. You can start with a website, a Facebook page, an Instagram handle, or a blog. This will depend on the nature of your business.
The purpose of a portfolio is to showcase your skillset in the best possible manner. And you must ensure that you do so to get noticed.
6. Select a Path
Now, you have set your goals, identified the target market, set a price, and built a portfolio. Next, you need to start pitching to clients. However, before you send out the communication, you need to devise an execution plan. This involves consideration of the following aspects:
- how many days in a week and hours in a day can you commit for freelance projects?
- how many clients can you handle at a given time?
- what mode of communication will you use for clients?
Having an execution plan ensures that you are not over-burdened and you never compromise on quality.
7. Client Pitching
The next step is to start pitching. You can find potential clients using different sources, such as social media or freelancing websites like Fiverr, Upwork, etc. Depending on the services you provide, reach out to as many prospective clients as possible. However, remember to maintain quality and not start spamming.
8. Communication Structure
When you start on the journey for how to become a freelancer in India, you need to prepare a pre-communication structure. This means that when a client responds to your pitch, you must have information concerning the service terms ready. These terms include payment terms, timelines, mutual rights and responsibilities, and copyright for the completed work.
9. Be confident
Being a freelancer is like running a business independently. In other words, it is like sole entrepreneurship. You need to have all seriousness if you don’t want an untimely collapse of the venture. Besides, you must be ready to face ups and downs with criticism and failure. For instance, not all your pitch emails will have a response. Continue striving till your industry begins to trust your work and provide referrals, helping you gain credibility and reputation.
An essential thing to know and understand here is that freelancing does not mean freedom from bosses. In the field of freelancing, clients are the bosses. Therefore, you must choose your clients wisely. Nonetheless, once you earn trust and respect for your work, freelancing will seem like the best career option.
So, if you are aspiring to become a freelancer in India, it is time for you to start!
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Q. How much do freelancers earn in India?
A. According to a survey freelancers earn in the ballpark of 3-10 LPA, depending upon the kind of projects you get and the experience you bring in.
Q. What are the major challenges that freelancers face in India?
A. Freelancing is a comparably tough job in India. From coming up with a brand name in the market to getting timely payouts, freelancers face a number of challenges in India.
Q. What are some of the top freelancing portals in India?
A. Freelancers, Upwork, Toptal, 99 Designs, are some of the best Freelancing portals in India.