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How To Start Freelancing in 2024: The Complete Guide

8 mins
Fact Checked
by Ish Bautista
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The rise in online businesses has increased freelance opportunities, boosting demand in the sector. Despite the challenges posed by global events in the past years, the freelancing world has shown remarkable resilience and growth. As of 2024, it’s estimated that a striking 75 million Americans, which constitutes 47% of the workforce, engage in freelance work, according to a report from MBO Partners, a leading direct sourcing platform.

The evolving skills required for freelancing signify that this trend is not just a temporary shift but a long-term transformation in the workforce. This guide aims to navigate the intricacies of starting a freelance career, helping you to tap into this developing market.

What is freelancing?

community roles challenging group computer man freelancing

Freelancing involves getting work done for clients without any actual formal full-term commitment to any employer or company. If you’re into freelancing, you work in your own space and get paid by the job, and the number and quality of jobs depend largely on skills and credibility.

Freelancing can be a contract work on a part-time or full-time basis. Likewise, payment can be one-time, per hour, or gig, depending on the agreement signed before starting projects.

The word freelance was originally used to identify a mercenary or a knight who offers his services to a lord or anyone willing to pay for them. It was usually written “free lance.” Typically, both the Lord and the knight benefit from this arrangement.

Notably, freelancing essentially means working from your space. It doesn’t necessarily mean working from home. You might have your office or probably visit your client’s office. It all depends on the project type and the client’s requirements.

5 sought after skills for freelancers

Are you looking to start a freelance career in 2024 and searching for the most in-demand freelance jobs? What skills should you develop? Below is a list of highly sought-after skills you can learn and explore, specifically tailored for lucrative freelance jobs.

1. Graphic design 

Graphic design is a fundamental skill in branding, consistently witnessing growth year after year. Notably, freelance graphic designers predominantly occupy this market. A job market report from the government of Canada stated that for graphic designers and illustrators, over the period from 2022 to 2031, an estimated 27,300 new job openings are expected due to expansion and replacement demand.

Meanwhile, around 33,000 new job seekers, including school leavers, immigrants, and those changing careers, are anticipated to be available to fill these roles. The necessity of high-quality designs is undeniable for any company’s survival. Every type of organization, be it startups, NGOs, or larger firms, requires effective design to engage with their audience, from logos to regular advertising flyers. This critical need for quality graphic design has propelled it to become one of the top business activities today.

Resources needed:

  • Space: This could be a room in your home, a dedicated place, or an office space. Wherever you choose to work, you should ensure it’s uncluttered and somewhere that offers inspiration to boost productivity.
  • PC: When selecting a computer, freelancers have a range of options. Apple Macs and Windows PCs are popular choices, each offering unique features and capabilities.

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2. Data analysis

developer freelance jobs web3 crypto

This process entails thoroughly examining, modifying, and analyzing data, primarily focused on extracting valuable information and aiding in decision-making. Major corporations such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Groupon, and Amazon regularly recruit data analysts to manage the vast quantities of raw data they produce. Furthermore, other significant players, including the Big Four auditing firms and various organizations like government agencies, major retailers, and social networking sites, are also actively hiring these analysts in large numbers.

Tools needed:

To become a freelance data analyst, first, you need a solid understanding of DBMS software tools: Oracle, SQL, Python, and more. Then, you want to build a profile where you can meet potential clients.

3. Blockchain and cryptocurrency programming

Blockchain has gained massive popularity and opened new doors in the tech space. Regardless of the current crypto market, several cryptocurrency platforms and even mainstream companies are hiring blockchain developers. It topped the list of high-demand skills on LinkedIn in 2023.

Blockchain and crypto programming revolves around building decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts on blockchain technology. To start a career in this line, you’ll need a solid understanding of the structures and protocols of the technology. Here are a few works of a blockchain developer.

  • Design the blockchain protocols
  •  Develop a backend to suit the blockchain protocols
  •  Build front-end designs following the client’s requirements
  •  Developing and monitoring smart contracts
  •  Utilize different tools and apply knowledge of one or more platforms and programming languages. 

Therefore, to become a blockchain developer, you must gain expertise in one or a few programming languages, such as Java, Rust, Solidity, etc.

4. Social media management and marketing

As the scope of social media keeps escalating with new platforms, tools, and trends, the search for skilled social managers is constantly increasing. Being a social media manager means staying updated, following trends, and employing data-driven strategies that drive conversion-based results. As a social media manager, you must grasp your audience and engage with them quickly.

Social media marketers have the following personal skills:

  • A strong understanding of customer service
  •  Good communication skills 
  •  Smooth strategies to sell ideas in several ways 
  •  Strong written and verbal communication skills
  •  Solid knowledge of online marketing concepts such as video marketing, social media, email marketing, and content creation
  •  Good writing and editing skills with a soothing tone

Tools needed

With so many social media platforms, juggling from one account to another can be stressful. Some tools include Buffer, Hootsuite, Later, Falcon.io, Tailwind, IFTTT, and Facebook Creator Studio. These allow you to create, manage, and measure platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. 

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5. Virtual assistance

virtual assistance web3 jobs crypto

A virtual assistant (VA) manages daily activities, projects, or technical services for business owners through digital means. The virtual assistant industry is experiencing a surge, particularly as remote work becomes increasingly common. Executives are now more frequently relying on remote administrative, sales, and back-office assistants, who form part of their support teams, to manage routine tasks.

Choosing a career as a virtual assistant can be appealing, primarily due to the flexibility it offers in the work process. The job provides a comfortable work experience and opportunities to engage and interact with diverse clients. Prialto reported that the largest group of virtual assistants in the marketplace, accounting for 13%, is based in the Philippines, reflecting a significant trend in the global virtual assistant market.

Tools needed

To become a VA, you need to get familiar with some tools to help in your day-to-day activities. Some software, including Canva, Trello, Calendly, Google Drive, Google Analytics, etc., will boost your productivity and save you a lot of time getting tasks done.

Tangible steps on how to start freelancing

Now that you have read all the available in-demand skills, you must choose and draw out a strategy to follow. Here are a few steps you can follow.

1. Select your area of expertise 

Freelancing is all about using your talent to make money online. First, you must pick the services you can easily render and start placing bids on them. Because freelancing is more like starting a new business, you don’t want to delve into a niche because of the average salary. Meanwhile, you don’t enjoy doing it. Go for a skill you enjoy doing, analyze how you go about it, and understand your target audience/client. 

2. Build your portfolio

Once you have selected a skill to work on, you need to start creating and assembling your portfolio. Finally, you must start uploading a couple of samples of your best work for a portfolio and create a profile to pitch for jobs. For example, as a web developer, you can create an account on GitHub. No matter your skill, a simple Google search that includes “build your graphic design profile” will show you different options. This process boosts your likelihood of landing a good job.

3. Craft your cover letter and proposals

conversions crypto cover marketing woman Web3 Jobs: How to Get a Job in Crypto Sector freelance

Upon creating a solid portfolio, the next agenda is pitching a good proposal or cover letter matching your work capabilities. Now, where do you source for jobs and start writing job proposals? Some of these platforms include LinkedIn and Indeed. 

One great strategy to go about this is doing some index searches, something like looking for a social media manager. Doing this on LinkedIn, for example, brings out recruiters with similar interests.

4. Stay committed and focused

If you want to create a long-term career in freelancing, you must stay committed to the course. Once you win any job, aim to complete it successfully. Do in-depth research on the gig and stick to deadlines. 

On most freelancer marketplaces, including Upwork and Fiverr, you can develop your career image via client reviews. You can only get excellent reviews when you deliver great jobs. Good feedback will increase your visibility, and you tend to get more clients. Once you have several clients, pat yourself on the back — you are a freelancer.

Is a freelancing career worth it?

Embracing a freelance career empowers you to be your own boss, offering the flexibility to work at your convenience and from a location of your choice without the early morning commute. Your success as a freelancer hinges on your dedication and vision for growth in your field. With enough effort in building your reputation, you can attract numerous clients, potentially leading to a stable monthly income. Strategic management is key to thriving in this dynamic environment.

While freelancing comes with challenges and rewards, the choice ultimately rests with you. A freelance lifestyle could be an excellent fit if you value freedom and flexibility. Conversely, freelancing typically only provides a consistent salary or job security, as seen in traditional employment, which may mean more time spent seeking new opportunities. However, these challenges allow you to explore diverse projects and continuously expand your professional network.

Frequently asked questions

How can a beginner start freelancing?

Can I freelance with no experience?

Which skill is best for freelancing?

Which field is best for freelancing?

How do freelancers get paid?

How do I start freelancing with no skills?

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Ayotomiwa Oladotun
Ayotomiwa is a tech writer and marketer focused on blockchain, crypto, DeFi, the metaverse, and NFTs. Ayotomiwa works with a number of emerging tech startups and crypto exchange platforms, including being the content manager for BeArt LLC. Ayotomiwa holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
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