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Freelance Questions

How Can I Become A Freelancer In South Africa?

How Can I Become A Freelancer In South Africa?

With the economy on a downturn and the effects of corporate downsizing being felt everywhere, you may be wondering how to become a freelancer in South Africa. Don’t worry- you are not alone! That’s exactly why I have assembled this simple guide to working freelance in South Africa, to help you take your first steps on what will hopefully be a satisfying journey.

So, how do you become a freelancer in South Africa? The answer is, on the surface, incredibly simple- set aside a block of time in your day to work on your contacts and assignments, sign up with a trusted freelancing platform, and sell your skills to potential employees. When they assign you work to do, do it well and on schedule so you build a reputation, and you are all set.

We all know the real world is never so smooth, however. You are probably wondering if this is a gig for you, what tax implications there are, and just maybe even how on earth you will get your freelance career off of the ground to start with? So let’s get going with your first steps into the freelance world, and all the information you need for a solid start.

What is freelancing, anyway?

At its simplest, freelancing is being your own boss. Starting a business is always a scary process, however, and typically needs a lot of overhead and investment you may not have to hand right now. Perhaps you don’t even really see yourself as the new CEO of an enterprise- you just want the freedom to work for yourself, flexibly or remotely, offering your skills and receiving fair remuneration for them.

There are many full-time freelancers in the world working right now. Current stats suggest that, for the US market, it could be as much as 35 percent of the population! South Africa’s freelance market is slowly growing to match. The phenomenon has even earned its own name from economic experts- freelancing is seen as part of the ‘gig economy’. You don’t have to make freelancing into an all-or-nothing proposition just yet, however. A large percentage of these folks are freelancing as a side-line, using it to build skills and reputation (and bring in extra cash) outside of their 9-to-5 jobs. Freelancers are now proud to list their side-gigs on their CVs- and are taken seriously.

Freelancers typically don’t work with one client. A successful freelancer, in fact, will have a stable of multiple clients (typically businesses) to whom they provide services. Many of them take their first steps in the freelancing world through online ‘sharing economy’ sites, where those seeking to outsource tasks connect with the freelancers who will get the job done. You’re probably more than familiar with the ride service Uber- it’s just one good example of the new freelancing economy. Publicity, marketing, advertising, tech support, customer service, graphic design, financial tasks like bookkeeping and many, many more skills can all be sold freelance. Anything at all that you can provide which is in demand could be your key to freelance success. It’s a question of finding a unique skill you can offer, and then finding the market to sell that skill to.

What skills do I need to freelance?

It’s important to realise that freelancing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. You won’t be spending your day leisurely doing nothing while money pours in. Freelancing is basically running your own business with you as the product- and that means you’re going to need quite a few other skills besides the one you’re actually selling if you wish to make a success of the attempt! Be sure to be prepared to act proactively, set your own work schedule, communicate with clients, organise goals, find business and market yourself. It may seem a tough skill set to learn, but it can be very rewarding too!

What are the top 4 jobs I can freelance?

As I mentioned above, there’s actually no limit to the skills you can freelance- anything you can provide that there is a market for can be used as a freelance skill. It’s only limited by your imagination and ingenuity coupled with your ability to find a market. As a beginner at freelancing in South Africa, however, you’ll find that there are certain categories of freelance work that feature on every platform in high demand, and it’s well worth considering if you have any of these skills in your repertoire.

1. Coding and I.T related skills

There’s a huge demand for I.T related freelance help, especially if you have any form of coding knowledge or web design talents. Now is the time to brush up on your skills!

2. Skilled writing and translation

The demand for engaging content writing is huge, with everything from creating blogs and articles to copywriting and ghostwriting, through to specialised writing for the medical and legal arenas, resume writing, creating product descriptions and offering translation between different languages being heavily marketable skills. Proofreading and editing are other arenas to explore.

3. Social media anything

Social media has become the new marketing focus for businesses- and with it comes the need for freelance skills to help boost advertising efforts. From content creation to campaign design, it’s on. There’s also need for those skilled in interpreting data analytics and helping companies streamline their efforts. This is a valuable arena to focus on.

4. Photography and graphic design

Humans are visual creatures. Help companies take their campaigns to new heights with slick designs and eye-catching photography, and you could have your new freelance talent.

What are the best freelancing platforms for beginners?

Word of mouth and contacts you already have can be a great way to dip a toe in the freelancing world without feeling too exposed. This allows you to work, build a portfolio, and get valuable experience from people you may already know. If, however, you are ready to launch onto a bigger stage you are probably going to want to join up to a larger freelance platform. These help put potential clients and freelancers together, and often offer basic services like contract creation and potential mediation in return for a small commission. The key is finding a reliable, upright platform with an established history of fair play and a record of paying out what you earn. Here are 4 reliable, established platforms you can feel confident working through- and which accept South African freelancers.

1. Freelancer.com

This is one of the oldest freelancing platforms, launching in 2003. It’s certainly one of the biggest around, and has recently acquired vWorker and Scriptlance, making it bigger than ever. If you don’t know where to start, start here- even well-established freelancers keep a presence here.

2. SimplyHired

You can’t beat this one for the sheer variety of work posted. If you’re hoping to freelance offline, with a physical presence at the client site, this one’s for you. There is plenty of online work too. While the South African side of the platform isn’t as large as the US, there is a decent variety and spread of work for you to choose from.

3. Upwork

Upwork is the result of the amalgamation of eLance and oDesk, which were both freelance industry giants. With reliable payouts in several methods South Africans can use, and a vast amount of jobs posted daily, you’re sure to find a freelancing start here.

4. Guru

Another long-established platform with a good track record, Guru makes it easier than some other platforms to showcase what you offer. With a sophisticated workroom and a safe payout system, it’s well worth exploring.

It’s important to remember that you will still be in charge of vetting your potential clients through these platforms- they are just the means to gain more exposure to those seeking your work. Be sure to take advantage of the platform’s tutorial material, and always work with common sense, on contract, and paying attention to your ‘gut instinct’ and ability to communicate with the client.

Other tips for beginning freelancers in South Africa

This is only a small selection of the things you will need to consider as a ‘baby freelancer’- but I am sure you’re already off to a good start! Here are a couple of important things to consider as you launch your freelance future.

What technology do I need as a freelancer? This will be strongly influenced by what type of freelance work you want to do. At the very core will be a stable, secure internet connection and a PC, plus a professional-looking email address and web access. If writing interests you, invest in a steady word processing program and some advanced copy/spell checkers- several great freeware programs can be found, so there needn’t be a huge outlay.

If you want to apply for specific coding, transcription, web design, accounting, artistic, creative or design jobs, you will need access to the software for the work you want to do (QuickBooks, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Video editing software, Android/Apple emulators…whatever it is you use to do your magic). Hopefully, you will already have these, given you have the skills.

Those looking for PA, teaching or support work will need a good microphone headset, and a quiet, interruption-free working space. If video contact is needed, this will also need to be neat, clean and neutral. Many clients communicate through apps such as Skype, so you may wish to consider this too. Add a good ‘to-do’ app and goal scheduling tools to the list- you will need to organise and self-manage, remember.

Do I have to register for tax? You didn’t think you were going to skip paying taxes, did you? Freelancing is still an income generating activity, and you will need to pay taxes on it. Unlike a 9-to-5 job, where your employer will be responsible for handling this, you will now need to do it yourself. You will no longer pay PAYE but instead will need to register with SARS as a provisional taxpayer. Twice a year you will return IRP-6 forms declaring your income and paying over tax from your work- so you are going to need to set aside your taxable portion of your income through the year in a disciplined manner. Filing can be done through e-filing. It’s not all ‘bad’ news, though. You will also be able to claim certain expenses related to your freelance business. For a more detailed look at your personal needs, I suggest you schedule an appointment with your accountant to discuss the change in your working style and stay tax compliant.

There you have it! With this critical information under your belt, you are now well placed to take your first steps as a freelancer in South Africa. Good luck and stay in touch!

Freelance Questions

Can You Make A Living As A Freelancer?

Can You Make A Living As A Freelancer?

If you’re new to the freelancing world, you’re probably feeling a little lost at sea already. How do you make it work for you? Will this make you a good living? These are all very natural questions, and I’ve asked them myself over time. That’s why I have assembled this quick guide to help you make the most lucrative freelance career possible for yourself.

So, can you make a living as a freelancer? Yes, you can, provided you are willing to put in the time and labour to make a name for yourself as a trustworthy, efficient freelancer with valuable skills and the ability to carry through on your word. It does, however, depend a lot on the skills you have- some markets are very crowded and may not easily earn a full living (while still providing a lucrative side-line), while other, rarer or in-demand talents are easier to convert to a living income. The rest depends on you and the hard work you put in.

As the saying goes, however, if hard work was the only step needed to make your fortune, every person in Africa would be a millionaire. So how do you take your dream of freelance success and make them a solid reality? Let’s take an in-depth look at everything you need to know.

What are the top 5 hottest skills in demand as a freelancer?

As I mentioned above, there are certain skills that are more in demand from freelancers then others. If you currently own any of these lucrative skill sets, you could be ready to launch! Even if you don’t currently have them, however, you can always learn- and just because these are the most popular freelance skills at the moment doesn’t mean they will remain so. You can freelance almost any skill you have provided you have the motivation to work hard for success, so don’t worry if you aren’t yet a master of these particular skills.

1. Using the written word well

There’s an intense demand currently for high-quality written content in a variety of world languages. These are typically needed for marketing and web-presence boosting, so they cover a vast variety of sectors, lengths and needs. It’s not enough to be able to string a few words together, however. The content you create needs to be compelling, entertaining and suit your client. If creating that type of written word isn’t for you, then there is also copywriting, where you will need to create shorter (but still compelling) written content for ad copy, status updates and mass email campaigns. There’s also other, more niche areas of the writing world to explore. Ghostwriters take other people’s original ideas and help them make it flowing and coherent, allowing the other person to use the creation as their own. Specific forms of business and even medical/legal writing are always in demand, too.

2. Creating the future

The modern world is built on smart programming. From apps and PC programs through point-of-sales systems and pushing the boundaries of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, the skills to help custom-create the future are goldmines to the freelancer who has them. South Africa, in particular, has a shortage of these skills, and many companies are willing to move away from the traditional employment arena to working remotely with freelancers. Brush up those programming skills, and get ready to make a name for yourself in the freelance world!

3. Handling digital needs

The future is increasingly digital- and people need help creating that content as well as the programs to deliver it. Specialised I.T skills are always in demand. Niche skills in programs like Final Cut Pro (a video editing software), vulnerability/threat assessment, and remote support roles are going strong. Skills related to computers and technology are hot to have right now. Web development also remains a firm, in-demand favourite. If you work with the web, apps or anything digital, chances are you will have excellent luck selling your skills.

4. Building brands

Companies are feeling the pressure to stand out in globalised, saturated markets- and any skill that helps you build your client’s brand is in demand. This overlaps a little with website development and content creation, but many traditional graphic design skills are also needed. The ability to make stand-out logos, business cards and social media profiles help your client’s brand stand out from the crowd- and in turn could help you make a lucrative freelance career. Skills with graphic design programs like Adobe InDesign are set to stay an in-demand freelancing skill.

5. Smart, modern marketing

Old-school saturation sales pitches don’t work for the modern consumer. Marketing has become a savvy, digitally-focused skill and companies are longing for help to successfully build their presences on-and-offline. In particular, social media marketing has become the key to smart company growth. While it’s a daunting skill set to build, and the metrics are ever-changing, many job opportunities exist for helping manage social media, analyse gathered data, plan smart campaigns and otherwise create the very best digital marketing opportunities there are for your clients.

I don’t have any of these skills! Can I still pursue freelancing?

These, of course, are not the only freelancing skills out there, but they are the ones currently attracting the most lucrative attention from clients in the freelance world. Does that mean, if you don’t have and can’t master these skills, you should retire your freelancing dreams and return to the 9-to-5 rat race? Don’t quit just yet!

There are a lot of other skills which clients require. Many of these have lower entry points- some need no special skills, qualifications or knowledge at all. There will always be data which needs transcribing or assembling to fit company parameters and a need for customer service jobs in the digital sphere. You may even be suitable to teach English to interested foreign students, translate your home languages, or have sewing and creative skills you can learn to sell as a freelancer.

The facts of the matter are that the future is looking increasingly more freelance. Companies are moving away from the 9-5 model, and are willing to outsource a huge range of tasks, from ones which are specialised down to those for which it just isn’t worth creating positions and offering formal employment. If you are willing to work hard at creating a niche for yourself, and put in the grind of establishing yourself as a freelancer, you can capitalise on almost any skill you have. While you probably shouldn’t quit your day job just yet if you are still struggling to launch your freelance career, you certainly don’t need to abandon your ambitions.

Is the freelance market oversaturated?

However, remember one important thing- the less niche your skill, the more other freelancers will be competing for its jobs, creating a heavily saturated market. Many are from third world countries, willing to work for far less then you will likely find sustainable- but their shoddy quality will also soon send clients looking for better, more reliable freelancers. Don’t assume freelancing will be some easy way to stay at home on the internet all day while unsolicited work flows in!

Freelancing represents a switch from reactive working (waiting for the job to be offered to you, then waiting for work from the boss) to a proactive one, where the onus is on you to chase your dream. If you are willing to work hard, keep to your word, develop strong routines for productivity, and fight to establish yourself, you can stand out from the pack and make a bright freelancing future. It will take confidence, a good idea of your best, strongest skills, and willingness to work on your own ‘brand’ and push yourself all the way.

Other critical things to know to make a living as a freelancer

There are a few other important questions you will need to explore if you’re hoping to make a living as a freelancer. As someone who’s been there before, I’ve added some extra guidance below to help you get off to the best start possible.

How do I apply for freelance work? Once you’ve thought carefully about the skills you can offer, and decided on the right market for you, it’s time to start selling your skills. You can sometimes do this through word-of-mouth, industry contacts or online advertising, but you will also want to look at marketing through a freelance platform. There are many out there, with Upwork, Fiverr, Guru.com and PeoplePerHour leading the international front and NoSweat and Freelance Cape Town offering solid local opportunities.

How do I look professional through the process? Now you know where to look, it’s a question of how to attract client’s attention. This is always most difficult in the beginning, as you seek to establish yourself. In time, your reputation and proven work portfolio will help bolster you. Be sure to have your combination sales pitch/CV ready, and offer a professional face through the whole process. List what you are good at (skills, relevant experience and education, achievements and portfolio) and work on an ‘elevator pitch’ that’s short, sweet and compelling. Spare the lengthy, pretty wordage- people want to see what you offer immediately. If you work with an online platform, chances are you will also be reviewed by your first clients, helping you establish a rating for future customers to judge by. Portfolios are great tools for writers and designers, offering solid proof of your skills.

What are common pitfalls freelancers’ experience? Firstly, don’t imagine you can quit your regular job and make back your full salary the first month. It’s a wiser strategy to either begin to build your freelancing career while still working, or have a 3-6 month emergency fund to cover your costs while you establish yourself. This allows you to explore the freelancing world with less stress, and find the right clients and niches for you. Never work off-contract, not for anyone (especially family)! Get everything in writing so everyone is protected. Don’t feel pushed to do free work or accept certain clients, either- you want to do work you find interesting, with people you communicate well with, and be compensated for it.

Make certain you establish yourself at a fair rate for the work you do, and resist the urge to undercut just to get work- you only harm yourself in the end. Charge what you are worth. Lastly, make certain you have a strong system and goals in place. Working for yourself is not easy. You will need to self-motivate, keep to deadlines, and communicate efficiently with your clients without a boss telling you to. The classic advice- under promise, over deliver- is very applicable to the freelance environment. Maintain your integrity, and do work you can be proud of.

With this handy guide under your belt, you’re doubtless feeling much more secure about attempting to earn a living as a freelancer. Remember, you are always free to get in touch if you have any questions, comments or feedback along your freelance journey!

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Freelance Questions

How Do You Start Freelancing With No Experience?

Hey, I was just about to help a friend with a few tips and tricks on his new website and I thought… Maybe I should write a general guide to help other people who might be having the same questions. So in this article, I will explain my 5 step method of how I went from having no experience to a full time-freelancer.

Also before you start with step 2 have a look at this article to see how to create an appealing freelance name.

This is my 5 step method to start with no experience in freelancing:

  1. Start with a skill you have already developed
  2. Look for clients that are willing to accept a free trial from your skill
  3. Use the work you have done for those clients and create a portfolio
  4. Ask For Referrals And Testimonials From My Clients
  5. Market yourself to the same niche clients to further expand your portfolio but now charge a fee

Start With Your Strongest Skill

This step was probably the most difficult part of the journey of becoming a freelancer for me. You might be lucky and have already developed a skill or 2 over the years but I certainly have not had the luxury.

So If you already know exactly what you are good in and you know what service or skill you can sell then you can move on to the next step in the process.

If you don’t yet know, don’t fear I know exactly how overwhelming this step can be. I will be writing an article about how to discover and develop your skills as a freelancer. For now, think about something that you like to do. Any hobby or habits that you really like doing.

When I started I knew absolutely nothing about websites and today I am making a living creating websites for clients all over the world. Not to brag but just to show you that even if you don’t have any skill you can learn to do something from scratch and be amazing at it.

Side Note: It is important to also love what you are doing, so really dig deep here and look for that passion that drives you. If you don’t do something you love then you might end up hating everything you are doing. So take your time with this step.

If you love drawing or you are crafty or even love working with your hands, whatever that looks like for you at this stage embrace it. That will most likely become the skill or service that you are going to use to get you started in this world of opportunity.

How Do I Look For Easy Clients

Okay, what do I mean when I say, look for easy clients? I mean look for clients who are in need of a service or skill that you can contribute to might not have the budget to pay you for. You might think that this is absurd but remember the end goal here.

You want to build your portfolio up and gain experience and these two are going hand in hand. The strategy here is that you work for FREE, you will see why and where this will pay off later. I will tell you about examples from my own experience.

So who would you think would be easy clients that you can start off with? I listed 3 types below who I found easy to target when I started. I would suggest that you start with family before you move on to friends and then business owners.

Your Family:

Your family would be a great place to start practicing your skills on.

When I started I asked my dad if he wanted a website and if so what type of website he would want? Neither of us knew that he actually did require a website for a side project he was working on and I ended up creating my very first website and he received a free website. (He had to pay his own hosting though lol)

I am not going to lie the first website I created was horrible! But that doesn’t matter, I received the opportunity to start on my first website and it was something I created. Looking back on that day I was so proud of that website. Anyways before I get off track…

Even if none of your family members need your service or skill you can ask them to make something up. Let them decide on a business name and all that jazz and let them also tell you what they would like. This needs to be in line with what you want to offer, (Your main skill).

After you have received your brief verbally or on paper, go ahead and handle this as an actual paying client and do the very best you can. Take it to them to review your work and let them criticize it as much as possible. (Remember your end goal) – you want to sell this skill.

Make the changes and let them review it again and again until they are 100% satisfied. Once they are satisfied you ask them to create a new business and you start the process again for about 10 – 25 times. Keep all the work and the briefs they gave you.

Once they start to love the stuff you do and have fewer reviews you can move on to friends

Look for friends who might think of starting their own business:

Depending on the business your friend wants to start, you can almost always find a way to provide a service to them free of charge. The benefit of this is when you are doing a great job and his/her business is successful you can use him as a reference later.

Also, remember that your friend would be most likely be more direct and more specific on what their needs are for their business. So try to identify what their needs are, use what you practiced with your family and apply it to your friend’s business.

Again, let them review your work over and over until they are 100% satisfied with the outcome. This will ensure that your skills are starting to develop and the process will start to get easier as you do more and more of these exercises.

Ask your friend if they are happy if you keep the brief, reviews and outcome. They will most probably say that it is fine with them. Rince and repeat this process about 5 – 15 times with your friends as well.

Once you feel comfortable with your progress on these tasks, seek out the next level which is new business owners.

(NBO’s) or New Business Owners are almost always looking for affordable or even free freelancers to do some work:

Now that you have between 15 – 40 examples you created from your previous two stages you would be able to handle a new business owner. Do remember that these business owners are most likely going to be brutally honest with you.

It is important that you are also honest with the business owners when you start. Remember that everyone had to start somewhere and it is important that you learn from every experience and grow.

With business owners, you are going to take a different approach. My very first business was a gaming clan who needed an after effects animation intro for their youtube channel. At this stage, I was into animations rather than websites. (I found it easier to find clients)

I worked about 2 weeks on the project and had them review it about 2 times before I handed the end product over to them. They shared it everywhere and that brought in some extra money for me at that stage.

If you can find about 5 clients to do this for then you are ready to move onto the next stage which is developing your portfolio.

Should I Develop My Portfolio

What is a portfolio?

In short, it is a freelancer’s project CV of all the past projects they have done and who they have done them with. This is an authority amplifier especially if you worked with some amazing well-known brands.

Remember I asked you to keep all the briefs and outcomes of all the projects you have worked on? Yeah, you have guessed it, now that you have over 2 dozen projects and briefs you can track back and see your progress from where you started to where you are now.

Look through all of them and pick your best 12 projects, once you have your dozen selected, create a file or hard copy with the end products and in your own words define what the client wanted.

You will not mention that these clients are friends and family because that does not matter. If you treated them as clients and took the briefs seriously then you can see them as clients. As long as you stuck to the brief and the outcome was satisfying.

Now that you have compiled these projects you have successfully created a portfolio. This will be used to showcase your unique skillset and secure your first paying clients.

Should I Ask For Referrals And Testimonials From My Clients

As you start to get one client after another, ask them for referrals. The chances are that if you did an amazing job, they will happily give you a few referrals. Happy clients automatically refer you to people they are in contact with. The best advertisement is W.O.M. (Word of mouth) but it can also be devastating if you mess up.

I still get business from past clients referring people to me to do animations and or websites. I have never found the need to advertise my services because I believe in the quality of work I put out for my clients, so should you.

Another powerful element you need to add to your arsenal is testimonials. People buy from what other people are saying about you. Take this scenario, you go to Amazon to buy an item but you are not sure if you would be satisfied with the quality.

The first thing you do is you go see what people rated the item for and then you look at what they are saying about the product. It doesn’t matter who the buyer is, you trust the people who already bought the product.

This is exactly why you need to leverage the testimonial into your portfolio. It would best practice to add the testimonials at the start of the project you worked on. That way the new client will see it first and already feel rest assured.

Another amazing thing that testimonials do is they let people see results from other people. Your new client would most likely tell you that they want a similar service you provided to a certain person or business.

How Should I Market Myself

With the 5 guide process, you have completed 4 of the 5 steps, all that remains is that you get out there and market to the same clients you have been serving. It is as easy as that.

So what if I don’t know what my marketing message should be? How will I charge my clients for my services? How do I reach my clients and what do I tell them? If any of these are of concern to you then I will address it briefly here. I will create follow up articles on each of these topics as well.

Your marketing message can be as simple as this formula, I (what do you help businesses with) + (time frame) + (what pain do you remove from them). So let me create an example for you.

I help business owners with a high converting website within 45 days that turns their business from losing clients into buying clients.

Does that make sense? Would you buy from me if I could build you a website that converts actual prospects into clients proven over and over again?

So I want you to try the formula above and ask your family and friends if your message compels them to buy from you. If they answer most definitely then you use that message as your Facebook ads, your tweets, your opening and closing statements.

At the end of the day, clients are looking for one thing and one thing only… RESULTS! They want to know that the money they invested in your will bear fruit in the short, medium and long run.

Guy holding a tablet in front of his face.
Freelance Questions

Can I Call Myself A Freelancer?

Can you call yourself a freelancer? I have spoken to many business owners as well as other fellow freelancers to ask their opinion about this topic. Today I want to share some of the responses that I have gathered from them and from my experience of being a freelancer for over 8 years.

Quick Answer:

You can call yourself a freelancer if you have a skill or service that you can trade in exchange for a currency. The currency I am referring to is not limited to money. Freelance in short means self-employed whether that is full-time or part-time. You can freelance even if you are employed by a company or entity. In this regard, you are exchanging your personal time for currency. As long as your skill or service does not conflict with your place at the company. 

What Determines Your Title

  • Unique Skill or Service

The number one thing that determines your title comes down to your service or skill. This is your unique identity that distinguishes your footprint in the market. Your title can be something like a freelance carpenter or part-time freelance comic animator.

  • Niche

The question you need to ask is what skill are you adding to freelance. This is really what makes you stand out and memorable when clients need to find someone who specializes in a field or direction also called a niche.

  • Community

Another reason that determines your title is your following. I follow a few freelancers and one that stands out a lot because of the unique niche he is in is called Wintergatan. He builds musical instruments like marble machines and others.

If you know Wintergatan it is actually his bands’ name. He got so much traction for creating a modern marble machine that the community has dubbed him Wintergatan – The Marble Machine Creator. If you follow his YouTube channel you will see how and why he became so famous.

  • Authority

The last thing that determines your title is your authority in the niche you are going into. Now everyone needs to start somewhere but that does not mean you can’t become an authority in your niche when you see others doing the same thing as you.

You can develop unique skills and use that with your talents to create a unique combination of creative content in your niche. Using Wintergatan as an example again (The guys’ name is Martin FYI) he combined engineering and music as well as his skill with carpentry to create a musical phenomenon.

Just because of that one thing he created, he became famous and then a lot of people creating their own versions of machines and replicas. But a unique skill he has is that he also writes the music the marble machine plays. I mean watch this video and decide for yourself.

 

Things To Keep In Mind When You Create Your Freelance Title

Ok now that you know what determines your title, let’s take a step further and see what you need to keep in mind while you create your freelance title. The reason this is important is that you don’t want to come across as somebody that is bold, confident and strong when you are actually somebody that shy and laid back.

So by figuring this out, you can create a title that not only fits your niche but also fits your personality. Does that make sense?

So where do you fit into society as a person?

  • Open To Experiences (Inventive or Curious)
  • Conscientiousness (Efficient or Organized)
  • Extraversion (Outgoing or Energetic)
  • Agreeableness (Friendly or Compassionate)
  • Neuroticism (Sensitive or Nervous)

People usually make the mistake to skip over this step and decide on a name that they classify as “cool” and this makes life harder down the road. Remember you are creating a brand, even if you are not known yet. This step is just as important as the rest.

Alright, so the second step would be to list all the services and skills that you have and can sell in exchange for currency. So when you list your skills or services you can then decide which one of those you want to focus on the most.

The reason you’re not going to focus on all of them is that the learning curve can sometimes be steep and if you try to focus on too many skills at once you will end up mastering none.

Lesson 1: Relatable Title

  • Decide on a title that has meaning to you and that your clients can relate to

You are creating an identity and something that your clients will relate with. I spoke to a business owner the other day about how times have changed. Back in the day people connected with brands and companies but in today’s time and age people connect with people.

Lesson 2: Key Personality

  • Decide if you want to add your personality to your title for extra flair

I guess this would be a perfect place to make a quick example of what I mean when I say add a bit of flair with personality. Say I was someone who was open and inventive with a graphic design skill. I would then call myself ingenious designs.

Another example could be a web developer that is in the extraversion personality category. I would look at buoyant development (In my mind I am thinking, rising above the rest in either competition, skills wise or by what I’m offering clients that are unique in the industry).

Lesson 3: Is This Brandable

  • Have a quick look in google search by typing in exactly what you want to call yourself.

If you see that there are people popping up in the search results that do similar things to what you are doing. Then you are on the right track. But if you called yourself something like Metallica Designs then you will most likely find yourself seeing massive results of the band Metallica and or the band’s logo.

While you are in the search add the word logo behind your title and then go to logos and see if your new title has not been used by someone else already. So if you wanted to call yourself Metallica Designs then you would search for “Metallica Designs Logo”.

If you don’t see any logo with your name then you are good to go.

The last step is to type in the search “Your Title” with the quotes. This will show you all the pages or websites on the internet that has to do with that word combination. So if you want to see where and how your title is being used then search for example “Metallica Logo”.

Lesson 4: Create Value

  • Look at what other people in your niche are selling and what services they are offering their clients

Yes, you heard me, go spy on your competition and look at what they are doing and see how you can improve on what they have. They key here is to see how you can create and generate value for your potential clients. It will also give you an idea of what is going on in the market.

A lot of markets are a real bloodbath. The competition is stiff and you have to sometimes push hard to get products out into the world. But you can save yourself a lot of trouble if you think about improving what is already out there.

Let me give you an example. I am going to use a graphic designer again. Let’s say that your toughest competition is releasing a tutorial every Monday of the week to start a following on platforms. Then you are going to learn and create tutorials on Mondays and Thursdays.

Another example would be that a graphic designer might only do 5 revisions of a logo for their clients, you can beat that by giving unlimited revisions in a certain timeframe. Now you have just increased the value of your product which is the same service your competition is selling.

What Not To Brand Yourself As

You want to avoid branding yourself with names or titles that are well known like:

  • Bands
  • News Channels
  • Erotica names
  • Famous People
  • Companies

If your title is already a part of a branded company or any of the above… Avoid taking that name altogether. You will get sued and on top of that, when people look you up they will never find your website or brand because it is competing against all these entities that have been established in the market for many years.

Conclusion

You can call yourself a freelancer if you have a skill or service that people find of value and in an exchange offer you a currency to get that service or skill. There are also a few factors you need to keep in mind when you call yourself a freelancer.

So to sum this up, when you think about creating a freelance title then think of the following questions:

  • Are my clients able to relate to my title
  • Does my personality show through my title
  • Will I be proud to brand myself with this title
  • Does my title offer brand value

When you answer YES on all four these questions then you have accomplished your title creating goal.