What Can You Do As A Freelancer?

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Once you become a freelancer, you have to go out and find your own work -- at least with a full-time job you know where you stand with your work and you know you will get paid just for turning up! As a freelancer, you are faced with the task of continually searching for work unless you are lucky enough to get repeat business from a few reliable clients.

What can you do?

There is a huge variety of work from home undertaken by freelancers and it seems to be diversifying by the day. Some freelancers work full-time, others work part-time while continuing with a conventional job. Some freelancers work exclusively online, while others supplements their traditional freelance work with online work.

The standard and type of work undertaken by freelancers varies enormously, as does the level of experience and expertise of freelancers. Having said that, most freelancers usually undertake similar types of activity and there are certain areas that lend themselves more easily to freelancing. Certain industries are more popular than others and often it is simply because there are more potential clients in certain areas. However, as freelancing grows, more and more industries are turning to freelancers and it is anticipated that the diversity of freelance jobs will increase in the future.

The most common types of freelance areas found online currently include the following areas:

Writing: article rewriting, article writing, web content, blogging, technical writing, translation, proofreading and copyediting.

Websites: website design, website implementation and development, web programming, search engine optimization, blog programming

Illustration: graphic design, advertising and design, logos, brochures and photography

Computer programming: Systems development, application development, script writing, mobile applications, databases, quality assurance, gaming

Sales and marketing: lead generation, marketing strategy, marketing list development, business plans, Internet marketing

Administrative: secretarial work and virtual assistants, transcription, data entry, research, e-mail response, accounting, customer service, telephone answering

Multimedia: audio and video recording and editing, photo processing and editing

Some of the more uncommon areas include, but are not limited to the following:

Engineering work: electrical, mechanical

Product design

Audio production: voice-overs, audio book recording, broadcasting

Advice: legal advice, creating documents, consulting

Project management

Advertising and public relations

Modeling and photographic work

Online freelancing sites will categorize different areas, such as those above, so that freelancers and clients are able to find each other more easily. If you do work in one of the more uncommon disciplines, you might not be able to expect large volumes of work, but you may become a leader in the field more easily and be able to command much higher fees than some of the general categories.

Develop your freelance niche

It is important that you set up your freelance identity before you start taking on work so that potential clients can see exactly where your skills lie. You may have a specific niche and this, as with any other online marketing can be more effective. There are plenty of freelance writers offering work but fewer could offer work writing scientific reports, for example. If you can identify specific areas, you will attract clients who are looking for specific skills. Also, specialisms can attract much higher fees than general categories, so it is worth developing or advertising your skills in a niche area. Developing a niche is one way that you can stand out from the crowd of other freelancers -- generalists have a much more difficult time finding work because the competition is much greater.

Even if you don't have specific skills in a certain area, it is better to focus on a particular aspect and excel at this rather than try to offer anything and everything. If you come across as trying to be a jack of all trades, this can put clients off.

One general field where competition is extremely fierce is in transcription. It can take considerable skill to do a good job of a high-speed transcription and yet ordinary transcription can be done by anyone with a computer and a decent understanding of the language. This can be extremely frustrating for transcriptionists when they find their skilled work is being undercut by people offering to do the job for something like under $10 an hour. Mostly this work goes to overseas providers with little skill but are prepared to work for less. This has become a real problem in many areas of business these days, and not just for online businesses.

However, rather than get into a price war and sell yourself cheap, you can become a real specialist in your field, whether it is transcription, computer programming or anything else. Generalists will be unable to provide your level of skill and will not be in direct competition with you, so you can command much higher fees. If you are willing to develop your expertise in a particular niche, you have the basis of what could be a very successful freelance business.