The Art of Freelancing, Putting Your Creative Skills to Work

Tired of working a Mcjob were you are forced to smile and be a robot for 7.45 an hour? Well if you have any creative abilities, and can work a computer there is money being left on the table. As a leader in creative, digital, marketing, and technical solutions, place the right freelance storyboard artist for you anywhere in the world.

Don’t quit your day job just yet though; I recommend you have a decent amount of money saved up, or some job to pay the bills Before you dive into freelance work. If you triumphantly told middle management at your current crap-job to go really, really far south and have bills to pay soon This is not the way to go. It takes some time before you can make a living off of freelance work, but it is a worthy endeavor. Still here? great let’s break it down. The Art of Freelancing.

Establish a good, clean, Professional Web Presence

The key to getting started is to first look competent, and then prove that you are competent through work. But you’ll never get that work if your Facebook profile picture is you wearing almost no clothes whilst palming a SOLO cup that certainly, doesn’t have alcohol in it (wink, wink) so what do you do?

First get a decent photo of yourself. One with decent lighting, with at least business casual on, a nice headshot will do. You don’t need anything professional in quality so don’t go to some photographer (unless you really like flattering pictures of yourself) Just something were you are clean cut, bathed, and presentable.

Odds are if there is probably a decent photograph of you on the internet already, but be careful that it looks Professional. If you aren’t sure, just imagine you’re going to a job interview for a well paying job you actually want. What would wear? how would you present yourself? You can just take your own photo on any decent camera, and you’ll be set.

Get a business email

Create a Gmail account or some other email account with a name like (no nicknames either, even if you really like being called Bojangles by your buddies) Use this strictly for freelance stuff, one to keep it all sorted, and two so you have an email to give out that looks legitimate.


Get a LinkedIn account, fill it out make it look good

Make sure all your contact information is correct, fill in the bio and everything else. Put that nice photo you either took/found on it too. Right a simple about me that clearly states your abilities. If you already have a resume you can modify it to fill in the blanks on this site.

If you don’t have a resume, or in the case of creative work at least a CV now would be a good time to make one. There are tons of templates you can follow on the web. In general you want a clear list of any relevant accomplishments, and skills.

LinkedIn, is a large part of your web presence, but if you have other social media pages, these are going to need some cleaning up as well.

Clean up any social media pages you have

Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace, basically anything that would come up if you Googled your name. This is common practice for companies that hire freelance workers. If the top hit on Google is you on the floor drunk, or some profane comments on your Tumblr, good luck getting hired.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t allow anything you wouldn’t want to be seen/heard in public be easily viewable on your social media pages. Often times just changing what people can see without being your friend is simple. Privacy settings will allow you to still have those great party photos up, and still get a job.

This video shows you how to clean up Facebook, similar methods work for other sites too

Make a personal site and portfolio

You can use a free service like (I Highly recommend it) Weebly, or anything else really. Have a website with your name as the URL (nothing fancy or you know “Deep” sounding.) you can start with a free one (on WordPress it’s just for example) and get your own domain later.

Have a simple about me page, contact info and some manner of Resume or CV (creative vitae)

Best Professional Practices for Artists: The Artist Resume

This article has a basic outline

Don’t fret if you don’t have any technical schooling, or have been in a gallery exhibit, just put up any relevant info about things you have done that qualify you to do whatever work you are looking for as a freelancer.

List any skills you have in plain language such as

“Experience with Adobe Photoshop”

“Experience with Final Cut Pro”

Have some samples of work that you feel express your skill, taste, and “your best” Feel free to make some if you can’t find anything you like. I made some logos for fun, and sourced some from my sad endeavors on design contest websites, people aren’t going to be bothered seeing if a company actually exists They’re just seeing what you have to offer.

References, References

If you have any old professors, or people who know you personally (not your mom, please god, not your mom or family) and are willing to give a reference letter, or be contacted this will help you out greatly.

You never know who might, unless you ASK THEM

Generally you won’t come across a lot of freelance work that you would bid for, that also requires references, but it never hurts. Also a lot of freelancers can also land longer contract work, which generally requires going through the same filters as a normal hire. Having these resources ready to go makes your life easier, and makes you look more professional.

Sign up at Odesk, and Elance

Pretty much just copy your LinkedIn profile, and your portfolio from your site to these pages. But do make sure to fill out their respective profile pages, a lot of employers will just look at those when hiring someone, don’t miss the lazy people, by being lazy yourself.

Something to note, that generally the free memberships of sites like Odesk, and Elance will limit the amount of work you can get. Either by limiting what job categories you can work with, or limit the amount of bids you get a month.

While these won’t be a problem early on, as you will most likely not be doing enough work to hit the limits. It’s worth noting that getting a subscription later on can be helpful. It gives you preferencial treatment, and the ability to network with even more people.

Let the Hunt Begin

Okay so now what? well this is the part where you swallow your pride a bit, and start the grind to the top. Bid on any low-level jobs you can find. I mean Take anything you can get and put %100 percent into any project you commit to. Don’t do a crap job just because your only getting $50 bucks for several hours of work. This is how you make connections. If you do a good job, someone will remember you, and might just shoot you an email later for more work, rather than bother with posting a job again. It does happen.

Make sure to be forward, communicate a lot, exceed expectations. When a Job is completed make sure to leave the invitation open for more work. Send them an email with something like

“It was really great working with you, if you ever need anything else please let me know”

Maybe throw in some free stuff too, or offer to do something else on the cheap. Make sure to connect to any Social media stuff they have. Ask to Add then on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or wherever. The key is making those connections.

Most successful freelancer’s make money off of regular clients, that go right to them, and then refer them to others. This is such a powerful way to earn business. Word of mouth between people in the business is gold, don’t let it slip by you.

Websites like Odesk and Elance are excellent tools for getting your foot in the door. You can arguably just rely on work you find there, but it’s a lot easier to work for regular clients, and people whom refer you to others. It’s better in terms of pay (which you can negotiate, once you have some clout to throw around)

However, I would advise staying current on site like Odesk, and Elance even if you have more work than you know what to do with. Part of being a freelancer is keeping opportunities open. Sometimes, even the most steady paying client’s work will dry up. Having current profiles on websites like Elance allows work to find you. You’ll learn it’s a lot better to have too much work, then to have too little.

In the event that you have to turn down work, especially from a former client, make sure to contact them promptly. Ignored emails is money you’re not making. In the event you have to turn down some work, it never hurts to have fellow trusted freelancers whom you can recommend. They will certainly return the favor if you ever need it in the future.

Tenacity is definitely the name of the game, a steady income from freelance work is like starting a business. It takes time, dedication, persistence and effective communication. Don’t quit when the money isn’t rolling in on day one, don’t be “too good” to do something small for someone on Odesk. You never which logo you make for $5 dollars today, might be plastered all over the world tomorrow.

Always update your resume and CV, portfolio and site with work you’re doing. stay current, and even ask people you work for to right a review or reference letter for you. The reality is you get what you put in.

Want to learn more? or do you need to start making some extra money tomorrow? Well definitely start the project of freelancing, but don’t wait around. Get motivated. There is tons of money to be made, all you need is the work ethic, and the right information.

Learn more about how you can monetize your creative ability, and finally free yourself from the financial treadmill at my website


Make your move today. You’re future self will thank you.

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