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Top 5 Online Resources to Help You Go Freelance

The freelance lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular. 

As it becomes easier than ever to work remotely due to the growth of high-speed internet and the gradual shift to cloud-based tools, freelancing is more feasible than ever before.

But how should you get started? You need the right hardware, of course, but you can’t stop there — you also need to know how to make the most of it.

Making the switch from a full-time job to freelance work can be challenging (and even a bit scary!) To help you get going, here are five resources that you should check out.

1. Udemy

To become a freelancer, you are going to need a skill to offer. Freelance workers are commonly translators, web designers, copywriters, graphic designers, virtual assistants, or photographers — but you can be a freelance anything these days.

Whatever you decide on, you will either need to learn a new skill or brush up on your existing skills. Books will be greatly helpful, but there are plenty of online resources too.

That’s where Udemy comes in. Through Udemy, you’ll find courses on just about anything (over 80,000 in total), so find a course in your area and top up on your skills.

Think about your niche while you are looking for courses. Instead of aiming to be a web designer, consider a more specialist goal, like being a web designer for dental practices. It needs to be narrow enough to make you a specialist but broad enough that you will find plenty of work.

2. Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, etc

One of the best ways to get started as a freelancer is to use a freelance marketplace. There are many of these to choose from, but three of the biggest are Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr.

Any such marketplace will have its pros and cons. It will take a cut of what you earn from each client, and likely require you to communicate and receive payment via their systems.

But on the plus side, they put you in front of clients who are looking for your skills, so you don’t have to go out and find them. They can be good places to improve your craft and build up your portfolio without worrying about chasing up late payments.

You might decide to stay with them, or you might move on when you start finding your own clients. But for anyone making the switch, they are a great starting place.

3. Facebook Groups

One of the best resources that you can use when you start out as a freelancer (and when you have been working freelance for years) is the vast array of Facebook Groups out there.

There are Facebook Groups for everything these days, and you won’t have to look far to find a group of fellow freelancers in your niche. LinkedIn Groups can also be useful, so you might want to search those too.

Don’t see other freelancers as competitors. Many experienced freelancers are more than happy to share their knowledge and skills. By simply hanging out in relevant groups, you can pick up tips on finding clients, working with clients, improving your craft, and virtually anything else.

They are invaluable, so get involved and ask lots of questions. You might even find that some experienced freelancers have too much work and are more than happy to hand some over to you.

4. Reddit and Freelance Blogs

Reddit, the “front page of the internet,” is another great resource for beginning freelancers. You can find any community here (including fellow freelancers in all niches) as well as some amazing resources.

There are many subreddits to choose from, so search for communities that are relevant to your niche. You might even get involved with some that are popular with your target customers rather than other freelancers.

Get involved, ask questions, answer questions, and become a part of the community rather than just trying to market your services. This is the way to get the most out of Reddit.

Freelance blogs are also excellent sources of information. You will find that there are many that focus on freelancing in general, as well as some more specific to your niche. They tend to bring together information about taxes, marketing, rules, regulations, and other vital elements of the freelance world, so take advantage.

You should also find some websites in your freelancing niche. Do they have communities attached to them? You’ll find that many will have active forums that you can get involved in or use to find information.

Quora is also a great place to search for info. This is the biggest question and answer site on the web, and you can find answers to all your freelancing questions here. If you can’t, post your own questions and get answers from experts.

5. Invest in Essential Tools

Finally, online tools are going to be vitally important for your freelance work. There are many tools available that can make the switch to freelancing a lot easier, and some will become tools that you end up using every day.

To become a professional freelancer, you will need a website, hosting, and a domain name. These are not expensive, and will instantly equip you to leave a more professional impression. You can cheaply create a website on a CMS like WordPress, or save time by buying an existing site and repurposing it. (Better yet, try to buy a business with a blog and a store page — if you want to sell branded items down the line, you’ll be ready.)

Having your own website also means you can send emails from your professional address rather than the free Hotmail account you set up in 2005, which is very important for ensuring that your freelance brand comes across as professional.

Get a Google account if you haven’t yet. Sign up with G Suite, and Google will handle your emails for you. You will also get a larger Drive storage allowance (many clients work with Google Drive these days).

You can also use a range of other tools, from invoicing tools like Zoho Invoice to accounting tools like QuickBooks. Many of these also come with excellent blogs packed full of useful information.

Start Out on Your Freelance Journey

Anyone can be a freelancer, but being a successful freelancer is not always so easy. You need to bring in work from various sources to keep busy, generating leads through your website, social media, cold emails, in-person networking, etc. It’s never advisable to rely on just one source of work.

Make sure to get your website sorted out, and start publishing a regular blog. Share your work through social channels and build communities around your niche. After a while, you may find you can start to drive traffic through these activities.

Don’t forget to read — voraciously. Learn your craft, learn how to budget, and learn how to thrive rather than just survive.

But most importantly, just do it. You learn best through actually working as a freelancer, and there’s only a certain amount you can learn by reading about it. So start working, find clients, make your mistakes, and learn from them. A rewarding freelance career awaits.

About The Author-

Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading blog that focuses on delivering top resources and tools entrepreneurs can use to achieve their ambitions. Check out the latest insights on Twitter @myecommercetips.

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