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5 Tips to Start A Freelancing Career After You Graduate

After years of going to classes and sacrificing sleep for late-night study sessions, your hard work has finally paid off. You are a university graduate – congratulations!

Graduating from university is a significant milestone and one that you should be very proud of. It is a time to celebrate your accomplishments and turn them into exciting opportunities. Yet, with a variety of career paths to choose from, you may be wondering which one is right for you.

Well, if choosing your own hours, deciding what work to take on, working from the comfort of your own home, and determining your own pay sounds like something that you would be interested in, then a career as a freelancer may be the right fit for you.

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Having said that, here are five tips to start a freelancing career after you graduate:

1. Specialize in a skill

Being a freelancer means being your own boss. However, it also means finding potential clients yourself, convincing them why they should hire you, and delivering high-quality work at a scheduled deadline. For this reason, if you are planning on selling yourself as a freelancer, then you need to specialize in a skill such as content writing, graphic design, data science or blockchain technology, for example.

In this fast-changing job landscape, you should be growing and updating your skills constantly to remain competitive. Same as with any job interview, your portfolio should answer the question “Why am I the right candidate for the job?”

2. Manage your accounting

The majority of businesses fail due to bad receivables and a lack of control over accounts payable. If not properly managed, these issues can threaten your working capital and income.

With this in mind, as you are growing your business, it is of the utmost importance that you incorporate strategies that will help you to manage your accounting. These include building an organized process, rewarding positive behaviours and charging penalties for late payments, and offering various payment methods (to name a few). Doing so will allow you to allocate your resources proactively and keep your cash flow in check.

Getting accounts ready for tax time

3. Don’t sell yourself short

With freelancers dominating the workforce, this means higher competition. So, if you do not talk yourself up, you will end up at the bottom of the list.

Of course, actions speak louder than words so you should back up your claims with facts. However, don’t sell yourself short. Remember that there is a difference between freelancing and working as a full-time employee with benefits and health insurance. Your rate has to take into account the tasks essential to running your business, such as billing and marketing and your idea of being financially comfortable.

4. Develop your identity

Focus on developing your brand and reputation through quality work and service. If you want to show clients what sets you apart from other freelancers, you need to convince them that YOU are who they are looking for. In other words, you need to develop your brand and reputation through quality work and service.

Here are some of the ways you can show off your best self as a professional:

  • Sending clients samples of some of your work
  • Determining your target audience
  • Forming your brand voice
  • Continuously updating your website, social media profiles, and portfolio 

After all, your brand is your identity.

Man discussing ideas

5. Just start pitching

One common mistake that the majority of new freelancers make is waiting for clients to come to them. Unless you have built a name for yourself, which takes time and effort, you cannot expect clients to drop at your feet if you are new to the world of freelance.

That being said, you need to be proactive. Just start pitching. Cast a wide net and keep at it. Perfecting the pitching game is definitely a process; however, the ongoing effort will result in long-term relationships with clients, a steady increase in projects and sales, and hopefully, word-of-mouth referrals.


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