The COVID-19 pandemic and its variants have ensured that WFH systems continue to thrive and cement their place as the default mode of work. However, the normalization of remote work and the shift of a significant number of jobs online has also made the labor market more competitive.
Companies and businesses now have a global field to choose their candidates from. How then should a newbie step into the online job market? How does one find the best freelance jobs for beginners in this competitive landscape of digital work?
The labor market has also shown an overwhelming demand for flexible work systems now that it is apparent how productive and convenient they can be for all stakeholders involved. Where this flexibility is found lacking, people are handing in their resignations and setting out to work on their own freelance jobs and projects that are no longer just side hustles.
Remember, there is a difference between working freelance and full-time. In the latter, you join a business/client on a contractual basis where you will work remotely for a set number of hours a day and a pre-specified monthly pay. This is essentially the same work model as an office-based job except that you work from home or wherever you would like to telecommute from.
Freelancing means you are a free agent who offers their skills and services for hire. You are not bound to one single client beyond the length of a project. The popular approach to offering freelance services is to do so through the abundant freelance platforms online. However, you can also create a personal brand or a digital company on your own. You can then choose how to market yourself, price your services, and obtain clients. Gaper allows software engineers to work remotely. But it should be noted that because our aim is to provide remote teams of engineers and developers to business clients, this is a long-term position.
Assuming you are looking to build a freelance career, let’s look at how you can navigate this competitive arena this year as a beginner.
An understated facet of being in charge of your own work and professional growth is taking care of skill sets that may eventually rust. For example, if you are a software developer or engineer, you must continue to keep up to date with new developments in tech and what companies and businesses are currently demanding.
Web development skills and standards that were the norm 5 years ago have changed. Cybersecurity standards develop even faster. New skills continue to create supply/demand disequilibrium: most notable in recent years have been skills in blockchain, AI/ML, data analysis, cloud computing and cybersecurity.
If you do not nourish your portfolio and services in line with what is in trend, your freelance career won’t be on a sustainable trajectory.
This also applies to skillsets that are often sold by beginners just entering the freelance job market. Writing, data entry, transcription, customer service, virtual assistant etc. There is perpetual change and upgrade to the standards and efficiency of services offered in these areas as well. And since the marketplace for freelancers is global, a beginner has a lot of competition to find their footing amongst.
Do not be overwhelmed or discouraged though. This kind of work demands resilience and perseverance. There is and will always be a demand for all sorts of skills. You just need to ensure that your digital presence and personal skills are tailored to the market and customer segment you are aiming to target.
As mentioned before, you can find freelance work through two main approaches: you join a platform that connects buyers and sellers of services, or you create your own personal brand or digital business.
In the case of the former, you have a good amount of well-reputed freelance websites to choose from. Create an account for each site, put your services up for hire, and then study the space. See how others are marketing themselves, what they charge, and what is in demand. Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, and UpWork are particular favorites for new freelancers to join and test the waters. Each site has a different system for setting up your profile and getting work. Make sure you are marketing yourself correctly on each one.
The way you approach the second method of freelancing depends entirely on you. Perhaps you want to create a website to display your profile and portfolio of work. Alternatively, you may wish to stick only to social media to market your work and obtain clients. Or you may want to incorporate both in your digital presence. Social media is particularly ideal for freelance designers and other creative fields. A website may be ideal for freelance developers, writers, and others that have a lot of aspects of work that need exhibiting and explaining.
It goes without saying that obtaining clients on your own will demand some digital marketing and social media skills from your end as well. Again, it is imperative that you keep an eye on your competition and tailor your skills and services based on the trends in your industry.
You may have a very specific area of expertise that you are looking to offer services in. Or you may simply want to be looking to find work that does not require you to use an overly specific skill set.
In the case of the latter, freelance websites, and sometimes social media is ideal for client acquisition. This work includes but is not limited to the following roles:
These freelance roles do not typically demand you to have a professional qualification or degree or any prior experience. Don’t get this wrong, these jobs require a significant amount of technical skill and efficiency. You will find freelancers who have had explosively successful freelancer careers made from gigs like these.
The advantage they offer to beginners is the low barriers to entry. You will certainly need to price your service a little lower than the experts to adjust for your lack of experience in the work, but once you get the hang of it, you could very well see work pouring in at a steady rate.
If you would like to make money from home using a particular skill you learned at university or through your own self-learning endeavors, the same process applies. You might have to spend just a bit more time and effort building your profile and attracting work. People are more likely to hire a slow, inefficient transcriptionist for a cheap cost than a MERN stack developer. For that, everyone usually comes to Gaper! 😀
You can also read more about some interesting side gigs here
If you have writing talents (whether artistic or technical), you will almost certainly be in great demand in the freelancing industry! Good content writers are always in demand by blogs, journals, and other media. This sort of material is used by clients to:
Anyone who can put two or more sentences together in a logical manner. To earn a livelihood as a content writer, you don’t have to be Shakespeare. Writing on the internet is not the same as writing for the classroom. So, even if you failed English in 10th grade, there is still hope.
According to Indeed, the average base wage for freelance writers in the United States is $54,124, although I’ve met plenty who earn well over six figures. I’m a typical writer who works part-time and earns $3,000 to $4,000 a month from freelancing.
Some individuals despise writing, but they like editing other people’s work. If you’re a grammar nerd, becoming a freelance proofreader might be perfect for you. However, don’t mix up proofreading and editing. Proofreaders are scrupulously enforcing the rules of grammar. Editors, on the other hand, make changes to the structure, flow, style, and correctness of the information (in addition to grammar). Scribendi, Proofreading Services.com, and Cambridge Proofreading and Editing LLC all provide wonderful freelance proofreading assignments for beginners.
In the United States, the average base compensation for proofreaders is $52,078. Proofreaders might bill by the page, the word, or the hour. You may earn more money by working quicker if you charge by the word or by the page.
Many small businesses only require a simple, no-frills website. Custom coding or complex functionality aren’t required. They simply want to be seen on the internet. This is something that anyone who is interested in computer programming can undertake. These basic setups are a way to get your foot in the door. You can continue to study more advanced talents if you love it.
Search for “How to put up a website with [platform you wish to learn]” on YouTube. Squarespace and Wix are more beginner-friendly, but if you take the time to master WordPress, you’ll offer yourself more opportunity to grow.
In the United States, the average base income for web developers is $69,190. Basic WordPress configurations, on the other hand, will not earn you this much. Multiply the amount you’d charge each website (one popular Fiverr seller charges $395 for a simple WordPress site) by the number of websites you intend to finish per month to get a better approximation of your monthly earnings.
Instead of simply providing information, your writing encourages the reader to take action, which is generally to purchase something. This includes the following:
Working as a copywriter teaches you a lot of the abilities you’ll need to become a digital marketer. Regardless of the type of freelance work you select, copywriting is a talent that everyone should acquire. Everything in life becomes easier when you know how to make compelling arguments.
In the United States, the average base compensation for copywriters is $64,232 per year. Many copywriters work for six figures as freelancers. Top copywriters may earn more than $1 million per year. Despite what get-rich-quick copywriting schools claim, it’s critical to have reasonable expectations as a newbie.
Freelance software developers are IT specialists who work for themselves rather than being employed by a company. This gives these professionals greater flexibility in their job and in their working environment.
The following are common roles for freelance software developers:
In the United States, the national average compensation for a Freelance Software Developer is $94,672. To discover Freelance Software Developer wages in your region, filter by location. Salary estimates are based on 257,171 anonymous salaries submitted by Freelance Software Developer employees on Glassdoor.
For various firms, social media managers compose social posts, design visuals, communicate with followers, and keep accounts active and expanding.
And, because this is a long-term business, you only need a few devoted customers to make a respectable living.
Small businesses must concentrate on expanding their operations. You may assist them with creating content for their Facebook or Instagram sites as well as managing their social media accounts, allowing them to expand their brand and communicate with their consumers.
In the United States, the typical base compensation for a social media manager is $46,940, or around $4000 per month. You may progressively learn how to use sponsored advertisements to boost traffic and sales after getting an entry-level employment. You can start charging significant amounts if you master sponsored advertisements.
You may start as a basic jack-of-all-trades VA if you’re searching for simple freelancing work that doesn’t need experience. This necessitates accepting any basic yet time-consuming duties that your clients delegate to you. That might be:
From wherever you are, you may put your organizing and administrative abilities to work by offering assistance and secretarial services to a corporation or even an individual.
Virtual assistants in the United States earn an average base income of $59,352. You may charge more the more indispensable you are. You may increase your irreplaceability by acquiring new skills, being dependable, and being enjoyable to work with.
Someone who transcribes audio or video information into text is known as a transcriber. Doctors, attorneys, and others may use an audio file to record their ideas, observations, or plans. The majority of the time, they must be transformed into text format with proper syntax and punctuation. If you have some experience with the work’s subject area, that’s a plus, and you may charge a greater cost for your knowledge.
In the United States, the average base wage for transcriptionists is $38,736. This job will not make you wealthy, but it may be a fun, simple, and flexible way to earn money from anywhere.
Bookkeepers are responsible for keeping track of the money (or “books”) of various businesses. Larger businesses typically employ full-time bookkeepers. Small businesses and solopreneurs, on the other hand, use freelancers to keep their finances in order. To begin, learn fundamental bookkeeping skills, select a bookkeeping software programme to master, and then begin looking for your first customer.
The typical base income, according to Indeed, is $38,259, whereas ZipRecruiter estimates a $55,094 average. So there’s quite a spread. Bookkeepers aren’t among the world’s highest-paid freelancers. But, in the end, it all comes down to doing what you enjoy.
These freelancing jobs come in a variety of sizes and kinds. From simple online form completion to more time-consuming data uploads, we’ve got you covered. In most situations, you’re in charge of extracting data from a single source (PDF, survey, etc.) and putting it into a spreadsheet, database, or piece of software.
Begin looking for remote data entry jobs on as many job boards as you can. Create email notifications to get alerted when new data entry jobs become available. The go-to employment board for remote work is FlexJobs. Popular employment sites such as Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter are excellent locations to begin your search.
In the United States, the average base wage for data entry clerks is $33,970 per year. Look for consumers that require long-term assistance to make the most money. You’ll lose a lot of time if you have to spend time continually looking for new one-time clients (and earnings).
This brings us to the next but extremely essential aspect of freelance work: give it some time before you start getting orders for your services. This is almost like an unspoken rite of passage for every freelancer. If you are not getting work straight away, do not worry. It can take weeks if not months for folks to land their first gig. Does it mean you should give up seeking work? Not at all. On the contrary, we suggest that you create a freelance side hustle if your time and energies allow (do make sure your workplace won’t fire or penalize you for doing so).
At this point, it may also be important to address the concern of those aspiring freelancers that are looking to earn a self-sustaining income from this work. Because most labor markers online are competitive, you may have to wait and deliver a certain amount of work before you start earning a decent amount. For this reason, don’t give up any existing source of income that you might have.
Another related issue is that of the price you charge. Many discussions on the topic discourage new freelancers from undervaluing their services. While this is sound advice in most cases, certain labor saturated markets make it difficult for new entrants to get work, not least when they have no demonstrable experience. It is up to the freelancer to decide how they should price their services after a good study of their competitors. For a temporary time though, it may be prudent to price your services to attract your first batch of clients.
FlexJobs is a professionally maintained paid job board for freelancers and remote employees. You won’t have to comb through any scammy job advertisements because their staff vets all of them. Best of all, you may get a complete refund if you’re not happy (i.e., you don’t get a job within 30 days).
Gaper is a marketplace for engineers and software developers. So if you are someone who wants to reap the benefits of remote work they can connect you to your ideal project or development team.
Another site where organisations hunt for entry-level freelancers is Fiverr. On Fiverr, you may sell any freelancing service you want. Literally. It’s mind-boggling how some individuals are able to make money there.
While this website connects freelance jobs in over 1350 areas, whether your specialty is website design, coding and programming, or mobile application development, you’re in one of Freelancer’s top employment categories.
The most well-known freelance marketplace is Upwork. There are plenty of Upwork tasks for novices, but if you build up your freelancing profile with positive evaluations, you’ll be able to discover more.
Flexjobs is a website that curates and promotes high-quality freelance jobs in over 50 various vocations and skill sets.If you have some spare cash and can afford to join one of their membership programmes, you’ll almost certainly be matched with freelancing tasks on a regular basis.
They also give you individual guidance and guiding tools to help you improve your abilities. The big benefit here is that you can always contact them and seek a refund if you are upset or displeased with how you are matched.
A lot of people discover that they can explore many more avenues of work when they begin to freelance. Perhaps you find that your current services aren’t doing too well and you’d like to change directions, or you simply want to venture out and try your hand at something new. For example, many people start off with data entry, but move on to offering advanced expertise in MS Excel. Others start with simple designs and transition into being web designers. Some change their paths entirely. These days, the tech sector is particularly popular for its lucrativeness. A lot of people are starting to learn skills high in demand in tech to enter this industry.
While that does not mean you can become a freelance pilot to take advantage of the high hourly rates, it does mean that you can indulge in some self-learning. Teach yourself new skills, learn how to make your skills more marketable, and most importantly, do not hesitate to try out new things.
At Gaper, good developers are not always the ones that have degrees in Computer Science and prior experience in programming. It is always those who have taught themselves the necessary skills that business markets always demand. While we and other employers invest in enhancing their skillsets further, freelancers have to undertake this growth curve themselves. Daunting and tedious it may seem to some, it is quite a rewarding experience once you start!
Bottom line is, the world of freelancing is not as uncertain, exclusive, and elusive as it once seemed. There are little to no barriers to entry as the least that is needed is an internet connection and some basic digital skills. To sum up, let’s do a quick Q&A recap of the article:
Q: I don’t have a degree, can I find freelance work online?
A: Of course! There are a lot of entry-level positions and administrative work that anyone with some digital skills can do.
Q: I am not getting any orders, what should I do?
A: You should not worry, and wait until you start getting clients. Tweak your service descriptions and experiment with different pricing. It takes time for every freelancer to land their first gig, don’t worry.
Q: Can I earn enough to sustain myself through freelancing?
A: It depends where you are at in your freelancing career. Some people support themselves comfortably because they have amassed repeat clients and regular business through experience and efficient work practices. So it is possible. If you are just starting out, keep other streams of income open until your freelance services gain traction. If things don’t work out even after a long time, try and change the nature of your services if possible.
Q: What skills do I need to become a freelancer?
A: This depends on the sector and category you are offering services. Some common skills that every freelancer should know are good and timely communication, a decent work ethic, some digital skills needed to navigate the internet, and finally, some discipline.
The freelance job market for beginners is rife with opportunities to kickstart one’s career as a free agent. While the competitive nature of the digital arena makes it a little demotivating for many, do not give up your efforts! Keep striving to grow and develop your skills and marketability. It takes time but also bears fruit. And while Gaper’s business model is centered on long-term work, we are always happy to welcome all remote software engineers and developers to our community!