Freelancing combines creativity with an entrepreneurial spirit. If you have the required and relevant skills, you can take freelancing as a career fulltime or pursue this path on a part-time basis, as you deem fit.

But one must be aware that freelancing is not possible without some serious, contemplation, dedication and a plan of action. This is exactly why some people do not know where to start. Here are the steps that you can follow to penetrate the world of freelancing in Pakistan!

Step 1. Find Your Niche

There are a lot of people today selling knowledge online on subjects they don’t know much about. If you want to become a successful freelance consultant, you need to pick a niche where you actually have real expertise.

Just because you have an interest in marketing doesn’t mean you’re equipped to become a successful marketing consultant. You’ll need to take the time to build extensive knowledge on the topic. That said, you don’t need an expensive degree or diploma to do it either. There are plenty of e-courses and webinars out there to help you broaden your skillset.

Alternatively, you can also choose a niche where you’re already considered an expert because of your day job

Step 2. Step Up Your Platform

Next, you’ll need to set up your platform to attract clients to your business. Usually, this is a website. Setting this up is actually one of the easy parts. For reference, check out a tutorial on how to set up your website in a few easy and quick steps. Then, ask yourself what should your website include. At a minimum, you’ll want an explanation of your services, credentials and some testimonials to back you up. This is a great way to start.

Also, freelance marketplaces are a good place to set up your profile and let clients discover you. There are several online platforms that you can use to create a profile to begin as a freelancer, and once you’ve acquired ample experience, start a website and work online. Check out Fiver, Elance, and Freelancer.com for a start!

Step 3. Decide On The Rates

Once you have your platform set up, you’ll need to choose your rates. You may or may not want to publish these on your site. If you keep the rates private, it gives you an option to adjust them for certain clients as and when necessary.

How much should you charge is the nest question you ought to ask yourself. This is the biggest factor that determines how quickly you can become well-paid and establish a good income for yourself. Set your rates too low, and you’ll likely spend a long time busying yourself with work that doesn’t pay well. Set too high, you might actually scare off clients who can’t afford to pay so much.

So, decide on a rate that fully justifies the effort, time and skill the project or task requires. Try to get good value for your effort!

Step 4. Begin Networking

The best place to start is with your existing professional and personal network. Ask yourself are there people you already know who might send clients your way?  Send out emails to your friends, family, and former work clients letting them know you’re open for business and looking for referrals.

Next, it’s always good to start networking online. Sign up for online communities related to your industry and engage with people there. Set up professional social media accounts (especially LinkedIn and Twitter). Start following and engaging with other professionals who have the potential to send you referrals.

Keep in mind that networking is an ongoing process that never really comes to a halt. If you want to become a highly paid freelancer, you can’t let your current work bog you down. Network consistently so you’re always on the lookout for better, higher-paying clients.

Step 5. Know When To Say ‘No’

Know that as a freelancer, you will constantly face the fear of not having enough work. Finding clients is easy if your rate is really competitive but filling your hours with low-paying clients will never allow your business to grow, which makes it essential to learn to say ‘no’.

Be ready because potential clients will ask for special discounts. But toe a hard line with your published rates. Make sure any additional tasks you do are paid. Your time isn’t free.

If you find yourself getting too busy for new projects, it’s time to raise your rates. Do this consistently if you want to make big money as a freelancer. Nothing is ever free. Get paid for all your efforts.

Follow these steps religiously, and you can establish yourself as a successful freelancer in Pakistan.