I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on how I started my freelancing career. If you need motivation (or to burst your bubble), let me share with you my story.
Exactly 9 months ago I left my job as a team leader in the company where I’ve been working for almost 10 years. I thought I was happy and that I was exactly where I needed to be. Until one day I realized that I want to do something else. I no longer want to burn 4 hours of my day just to travel to work and back home. I hated the fact that I spend more time in EDSA instead of relaxing at home. And that I need to trade family time with sleep because I can’t afford to be late at work. Imagine, having to choose between these two almost every effin day for a decade.
So, I took the giant leap with eyes closed. Using the money I got from my 13th-month pay, I bought a laptop. Then I enrolled on a course offered by my friend who’s now my mentor, Natasha Rivera. From January until March of 2018 there are only three things I did:
- Watch videos at the Work from Home Be Awesome portal
- Edit my Upwork profile until it got approved (on my 10th attempt)
- Send 5 proposals every day until I got my first client
When you get into freelancing, do not expect the journey to be easy. No, it’s way more difficult than working on a full-time job in a typical setup. But the stress and worries are all worth it. These negative emotions will fuel your fire in pushing yourself to assess your own work and to learn more.
Since you’ll be working on your own most of the time, you will need a support system. I connected to Work from Home Be Awesome where Natasha thought us about web design, podcasting, creating funnels, etc. Wait .. I did not learn all of them because I decided not to. I focused with one and that is podcasting. Every day, I would go to Natasha’s house and observe how she works on her projects. This is on top of the time I spent watching her online tutorials and attending her webinars.
In her class, I met other freelancers who also became my mentors. Connecting yourself to a group like WFHBA will not only teach you skills, it will also help you get acquainted with people who will eventually become part of your support system.
Apart from the skills, you also need a platform where to source your clients. This is similar to Jobstreet; a place where you can go to find job vacancies and submit an application. I chose to create a profile in Upwork. Getting in their arena is not easy. You need to create a portfolio which requires approval before you can start applying for jobs. It took me 10 tries before my profile got approved.
I can’t recommend a trick or a formula on how to get accepted in Upwork. But there are three things which I think will help. First, your skills must be aligned with what you stated in your profile description. Second, attach samples of your work (this may also help in getting clients). I attached a PDF of a transcribed document for a video which I got from Youtube. And lastly, keep on trying. Be persistent. If you don’t get approved on your first or second try, give it another shot. Remember, it took me 10 attempts. 🙂
Once you’re in, here comes another challenge. How to get your first client! It will be easier for you to get hired by another BPO than to book your first client in Upwork (based on my experience). But then again, nothing beats persistence. I set a goal of sending 5 proposals every day. I critically chose the jobs that I applied to because there’s a limit on how many applications you can send in a month (You’re given 60 connects. 2 connects = 1 proposal/application). Every day I take my time to revise my proposal. I analyze why it isn’t appealing enough for a client to ignore it. Until another mentor shared her magic formula – the bull’s eye approach.
The bull’s eye approach highlights the importance of comprehending what kind of help the client needs so you can position yourself as an expert who can solve their dilemma. The bull’s eye proposal has three important parts – the area where the client needs help, your expertise, and the gameplan. I’ll discuss this in the future once I get the permission to share it. 🙂
That’s it! I hope this entry gave you an idea on how or where to start. Our bottom line here is simple. More than the laptop or a stable internet connection, the first thing you will need to start your freelancing career is PERSISTENCE. Expect the worst and be surprised with the blessings you’ll get!