Introduction to Freelancing

The term ‘freelance’ has been in existence since the 17th century. It was used to denote that the mercenary’s lance or spear wasn’t meant to only service their Lord; they could also service anyone who was willing to pay. Today, the term ‘freelance’ or ‘freelancing’  simply refers to an independent contractor who gets paid for offering services to people. With the shrinking job market, increasing Internet accessibility and companies outsourcing professional expertise, freelancing is gaining popularity nowadays.

Due to the high unemployment rate, broken infrastructure and cost of doing business in Nigeria, freelancing is a better choice for any aspiring entrepreneur or self-employed Nigerian. Freelancing is a viable source of income and smart way to test your natural competencies and entrepreneurial abilities. By freelancing, you will be able to determine if you are capable of running a successful venture and it will ultimately save you a lot of start-up costs. In the words of Fabio Rosati, the CEO of Elance, freelancing is a simple way to create your own ‘fractional job’.  Here is how to get started on freelancing:

Start as a Subcontractor

Building your freelance portfolio is no easy task, as it requires research, strategic planning and a lot of effort to get noticed. The easiest way to start freelancing is to work as a subcontractor under a firm. For example, if you’re a freelance journalist, you can work as a subcontractor for a local newspaper that you have a relationship with in your community. The benefit of subcontracting is that you can be part of a larger project, and slowly build a clientele base. It will save you the headache of finding clients from scratch, and investing in a lot of marketing effort.

Target Low-profile Clients

Every freelancer’s dream is to offer outsourcing services to high-profile clients like banks, oil and gas firms, big event management companies and so on. It’s a no-brainer that landing such clients will attract huge income and not to mention, credibility for your freelancing services. Unfortunately, very few freelancers land well-renowned clients at the initial instance. It is advisable to start small and provide freelancing services to individuals and small firms. You will ultimately win their patronage with your excellent work ethic and services, which will result to inevitable growth margins. As your services become increasingly renowned, you may one day land a blue-chip client!

Positive Feedback is Key

Your best asset as a freelancer is to get as many references and feedback as possible. If your profile is filled with positive feedback and recommendations from the clients you have serviced, it will be easier to gain more clients because those testimonials will serve as  evidence of your expertise and work ethic.

If you’re unemployed, or just seeking for multiple streams of income, you can start with freelancing. Some recommended freelancing services in Nigeria include web content writing, independent catering, graphic designing, photography, tutoring, business consulting, web developing, data entry and many more.