“How are you still making an income right now and working from home?” my friend from my old college days texted me…
It’s true. I’ve been working remotely for the past 6 years and I’ve never been more grateful to have an online business than I have these past few weeks.
With job layoffs, and many of my friends (and friends of friends of friends) filing for unemployment due to COVID-19, I’ve been jumping into support-mode during quarantine. I’ve been giving them online freelancing tips and strategies that we’ve been successfully teaching thousands of our students for over 5 years and sharing as experts on publications like Forbes and CNBC.
I’ll be honest, it’s been bittersweet to see the world go completely remote due to Coronavirus.
Just like I texted my college friend back, “There’s a whole world of successful freelancers online right now and getting started is easier than you think.”
Now more than ever companies and clients are needing to hire freelancers with online skills to work remotely. Brick-and-mortar businesses are in the process of building online stores and finding ways to offer their services online. Heck, even my pilates studio is offering virtual services right now!
Because the bottomline is that people still need to be served and not every business is in a financial crisis mode. We’re pivoting, investing, and many of us are still serving our clients and communities.
So how is it possible to get started? Here are 5 simple steps you can take to start a freelancing side-hustle online:
1. Choose Your Freelancing Services
Freelancing is one of the fastest ways to start making an income online right now, especially since you’re using skills that you already have!
Essentially, your freelancing services are many of the same skills you’ve use in your past or current job – just now done digitally.
For example – let’s say your past job was as an office manager. Some of your skills may be organizing and managing multiple calendars for the company. These skills can be transitioned into an online freelancing service by virtually managing schedules for busy entrepreneurs using online scheduling platforms like Calendly or Google Calendar.
You’d actually be surprised at how many online freelancing skills you already have!
If you’re struggling though to decipher which skills you have that can be transitioned online, keep in mind that some popular online freelancing services are:
- Social Media Management
- Copywriting and Copyediting
- Email Marketing
- Website Design
- Graphic Design
- Virtual Assistant Work (managing calendars, projects, team members etc.)
But what if your skills and experience aren’t as obviously transferrable online?
Great question! We’ve had hundreds of students who have gone from traditional jobs (like dental assistants, teachers, waitresses, caterers – even a goat shepherd! 😉 ) to full-time freelancing online – you can check our their stories here!
Plus, you don’t need a formal degree to freelance online. In the online world, it’s all about producing high quality work and results.
Check out this quick stat from Upwork:
- 60% of freelancers who left traditional employment now earn more. Of those, 78% indicated they earned more freelancing within a year or less.
Recently laid-off or unemployed due to coronavirus? You might be inspired by our student Lindsay who said, “Being fired was a chance for me to change my life.”
She went from being laid-off from her 9-5 to now running a successful online graphic design studio!
2. Build A Client-Magnetizing Website
To have a thriving online freelancing business, you need a place for customers to learn more about you and your services!
You need what we like to call a “virtual storefront.”
This is your freelancing website, and it’s one of the most crucial elements to attracting clients.
Your website should showcase the following:
- The services you offer
- Who you’re offering them to (who are your ideal clients?)
- The benefits and value of working with you
- Your portfolio (any examples of your work)
Worried you’re not “techy enough” to build a website though? Our favorite website building platform is Squarespace, and they have beautiful, easy-to-use templates so your virtual storefront can be live in just a few hours! Even if you’re not a techy 😉
Plus, right now they have a free 14-day trial to access nearly all the features without paying a dime!
3. Use Social Networks to Get Clients
The golden question: Where do you go to find your first clients in the online world?
The key to finding your clients online as a freelancer is to tap into your own network, utilize social networking platforms and online freelancing platforms!
Online Freelancing Platforms: These are basically go-to hubs and websites for clients from around the world who are looking to hire remotely (a.k.a your first clients! woohoo!)
Freelancing platforms like PeoplePerHour, WeWorkRemotely and Upwork are great places to start gaining experience, land your first client and start bringin’ in the dough!
Entrepreneur Facebook Groups: The social networking platform is filled with entrepreneur groups and quality clients looking to hire freelancers remotely. Our own Free Facebook Group is filled with over 20,000 aspiring and seasoned female entrepreneurs (click here to join!) Simply search our #GETHIRED hashtag for the latest remote job posts!
Concerned that companies and clients aren’t hiring right now? Think again! Here are 55 companies that are still hiring during COVID-19!
What’s the best way to pitch your freelancing services during a crisis?
A few of our students this week asked us, “What’s the best way to reach out to a potential client right now? I don’t want to come across as insensitive.”
So we created this simple email template that you might find useful too! Click on the image below to download it totally free 🙂
4. Use Online Tools to Setup Your Workflow
Now that you’ve got eyes on your business website, it’s time to turn those visitors into paying clients! This is what we like to call your “client sales funnel” — and it’s important that this process is professional and efficient so that clients actually want to work with you.
Start with an online meeting to get to know a potential client which will allow you to understand what results they’re looking for. We recommend using Zoom (It’s free! And everyone and their mom is currently using it these days! #THATZOOMLIFE)
This gives you the opportunity to pitch your services as the solution!
Next, is following up your call with a proposal, which will include things like the project timeframe, cost, and a detailed breakdown of the services that are included.
Finally, have your client sign a contract to layout the legal terms and conditions of the project and pay your invoice (we recommend using a simple platform like Proposify – they also have a free 14-day trial right now!).
Boom — client officially landed and money in the bank!
5. Make Consistent Income Freelancing
How would you feel if you were booked out with freelancing clients for the next 3 months? The key to freedom within your freelancing business is to book clients in advance!
Trust me…with so much uncertainty out there right now, you want to be in control of your freelancing business from your schedule to the clients you choose to work with, your finances and your stability! To do this we recommend setting up what we like to call your “freelancing project queue”.
Your project queue is going to allow you to easily identify when you have space to take on new clients. Plus, you can also use it as a planning tool to forecast your income and client bookings!
I really hope this helped give you valuable insight on how you too can dive into the online freelancing world to give yourself some financial stability during all of this uncertainty right now.
If you want some additional free resources…
- Join our Free Facebook group to get access to our #gethired thread for remote job opportunities!
- Read more stories of women who transitioned their skills online and now work from home.
- Find out what type of online business is the right fit for you!
We’re sending you all the (virtual) hugs wherever you’re at in the world right now, and cheering you on every step of the way!