mrsdaakuacademy and online business coach

How to start freelancing in India?

Do you want to start freelancing in India?

In this post we will go over everything you need to know!

Let’s get started

What is freelancing?

Earn money from wherever you want.  Work as little as a couple of hours a day. And count lakhs entering your Paypal account.

Freelancing is basically earning by sitting “free.”

If you imagine something like this when you hear the word freelancing, then we got some real ‘unlearning’ to do here.

I don’t want to demotivate you. But that lifestyle is just a fantasy, with stuff that’s just partly true.

  • Do you get to work remotely? Yes!
  • Can you earn more than a regular 9 to 5 job? It takes time but Yes!
  • But is it earning easy money by sitting around all day? That’s a big NO! 

It’s a real business. You’ve got clients, you’ve got deadlines, and you’ve got bills to pay.

 According to buttercuppink.com,

I AMI’M NOT
PassionateLazy
DrivenDifficult
FocusedUn-motivated
MotivatedGreedy
CreativeUnreliable
IndependentWorking for free
Worth my rateavailable 24*7

Going by the basic definition, freelancing is working independently on a contract basis without necessarily being involved with a company for the long-term.

To make it a bit more precise, here are the elements of a freelance project:

  • You won’t be hired as an employee. 

  • You will have your own clients, which, of course, you need to hunt, close, deal & retain on your own.

  • You will be solely responsible for managing the project.

  • You will decide the payout, but it should fit the clients’ budget.

How much do freelancers earn in India?

The first question that must’ve popped in your mind as you read this article is, “Can I actually earn well through freelancing?”

The answer to that

…well, why don’t you see for yourself:

According to a report by Paypal, the Average Indian freelancer earns somewhere around 20L/ annum.

Income Range (per annum)Percentage of India freelancers
40-45 lakh23%
10-15 lakh13%
7.5-10 lakh8%
2.5-5 lakh23%
2.5 lakh or less11%

Why is now the best time to start freelancing in India?

“If you have a monetizable skill, all you need is a laptop and an internet connection to start working as a freelancer.”

This claim got a major validation during the pandemic when the entire world was in hiding.

….The employees then started worrying if they’ll have their jobs the next morning.

While the freelancers struck gold!

Businesses were keen to cut costs, and what’s better than hiring a person who knows what he or she is doing. That person will be fully accountable for the work, has his own equipment, and has helped others achieve the same result in the past. And that too without adding to office expenses or any other extra costs.

I mean, isn’t that the dream of almost every employer?

This led to a huge rise in the number of freelancers and contract-based remote workers. People started their careers sitting at home bingeing Udemy instead of Netflix and surfing LinkedIn more than Instagram. 

Some crazy stats:

  • According to a survey, 12% of the U.S. workforce started freelancing in the wake of COVID-19.
  • According to Forbes, 75% of those who quit a traditional job to freelance say they are earning the same or even more than they did.

As far as India is concerned, freelance growth sky-rocketed:

  • India is now ranked as the second-fastest-growing freelance market after the Philippines.

  • Q1-Q2 2020 saw a 46% rise in new freelancers.

  • A study by refrens suggested that 64 percent of freelancers received more assignments in June 2020 than any other month before the pandemic.

If this is not the best time to start freelancing, I don’t know what is.

6 steps to start freelancing in India

1. Getting into the right mindset

Freelancing is serious business, with real stakeholders and money involved. If you think that 

“You’ll be just a freelancer.”

“It’s just a hobby.”

Then you cannot be more wrong. 

You can earn a decent livelihood and make way more than a job if you come in with the right mindset. People are leaving their day-jobs and starting to freelance full-time.

…Just because in the freelancing world, the sky is the limit. 

It’s essential to understand that before entering into the field. Not having the right mindset would make it very difficult for you to survive. As the competition can be cut-throat, and if you are not serious about it, it will not be anything more than a hobby for you.

2. Finding a freelance niche

It is important to find a freelancing niche for yourself to streamline your efforts and stack all of your wins to impress a client.

Some of the most profitable niches are writing, social media, graphic designing, copywriting etc.

3. Pricing

As a freelancer, you have the luxury of setting your prices.That means you get to set the bar.

But it’s a double-edged sword. Now, as you have to set your prices and don’t know how to provide value to your clients, you might end up under or overcharging. Both are unfavorable and very likely scenarios. 

How to set up pricing as a freelancer

 “Make them an offer they can’t refuse”– Setting up a perfect offer is an art. You need to consider

  • The value that the client will get from your output
  • The industry rates that are currently relevant
  • The budget of the client
  • The amount of effort you are going to put in, both time and resource-wise.

Pricing Models

  1. Time-based: ‘Time is money’– This model follows this proverb blindly. It allows you to charge your services based on time.

    Most beginners charge per hour, and it is the easiest model of the lot. You quote the client an hour-rate or a day rate as per the scope of the project.

    And to earn more, you gotta put in more hours. 

  2. Project-based: Project-based pricing is a result-oriented model. The output and the work to be put in is decided beforehand.

    The major benefit is agreeing on a fixed price before starting the work.

    The upside is, you can charge way more than a per-hour basis. But to quote the right amount, you will need to have the right knowledge and some industry-experience.

  3. Value-based: This is the toughest of the three, but it also an opportunity to earn the most. Using this strategy, you are charging directly for the perceived value you promise to provide your client.

    For example, the best copywriters can write a high-converting landing page in a couple of days.

    But if that landing page was to bring them business worth 5 lakhs, it won’t be unreasonable to charge 10 percent of that. The downside to this strategy is the difficulty to execute. You need a lot of experience and quality work backing you up before moving on to this strategy. 

4. Setting up your business for clients

The back-end is structured, the offer’s ready. It’s time to set up your business and get some visibility. If you were a freelancer in the traditional times, you’d have to obtain a business card and rely only on references to get some work, and that was that.

But now the times have changed. With access to the internet, you need to put in a lot of extra effort to stay on top of things. You will be required to create your digital presence in the form of a website, social media, etc., so that you can communicate your expertise to your prospects online.  

 5 things you need to keep in mind while setting up your business

The name of your business: Don’t spend a month pondering over the perfect name for your venture. Just come up with viable options that are relevant and catchy. And make sure to run a trademark check before registering the domain. 

Website: You need a place to showcase your work and host your potential clients.

Register your domain name and get web hosting to set up the cornerstone of your website. Once you are done with pre-requisites, start working on your website and pack it with relevant information:

Social profiles: It’s to move on from using social media to hangout with friends to use it for showcasing work and connecting with prospects.Create work-oriented social profiles. Few essential components: 

  • Username: Your username is the first thing people see when you appear in their feeds. Make sure it is relevant to the services you provide 

  • Bio: Whenever someone lands on your profile, your bio decides if the person will go ahead and connect with you or not. Ensure your bio defines who you are, what you specialize in, and what’s unique about you. End the bio with a call-to-action.

  • Display picture: A professional picture that is crystal-clear with an appropriate background. 

  • Links: Most social media profiles allow you to put links in your profile. Make sure you add your website link, or if you want to share your other digital profiles– a bit.ly link. 

  • Feed: The content you publish makes or breaks your overall marketing. Your social feeds are a great way to showcase your work, build authority, and set the stage for inbound marketing– that is when prospects reach you, not the other way around. 

5. Setting up processes

Once you have your list of leads, it’s time to set up your work process. You need to have an onboarding process in place before you reach out to the prospects. 

  • Discovery calls: These are the, “Hey! I am interested in your service… Okay, let’s connect” call. This call will be to discuss the client goals, their exact requirements, your process right from the onboarding to delivering the output, and your pricing range. 
  • Proposal: Once you are done with the discovery call, you will send out a tailor-made proposal mentioning all the project details and your quote for the same.
  • Negotiation call: After the proposal, go for a follow-up call to negotiate the pricing and close the account.
     
  • Contract: Send the client a contract to sign that includes the details of the project. This is to ensure the agreement is binding. 

6. Finding clients

Finding clients can be regarded as the litmus test for a freelancer. And This is what makes or breaks every freelancer.

The more clients you have, the more you will earn. The better clients you have, the better you will earn. Most of your work, in the beginning, will be simply client hunting. 5 proven ways that you can

LinkedIn: This is where all professionals hangout. Keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and creating content consistently is a great way to build a client-catching machine.

Your LinkedIn profile is the landing page that all prospects will see before anything else. The more people you reach out with personalised messages, commenting on your content, the more chances you create for landing a client.

Facebook groups: Facebook groups are a great way for you to connect with other freelancers and learn from their experience.

But along with that, it’s a goldmine with a lot of potential for client work. Join the groups that are:

Cold pitching: Cold outreach is something every freelancer has to go through until they have their profiles and funnels in place to attract hot leads via inbound marketing.

Do your research, create a pitch and reach out to as many prospects as you can, showing them the value you bring to the table. You can do this via email, cold-calling or online messaging.

Instagram: The visual-friendly platform is not just a deck of filtered-selfies anymore. You can get real business if you target the right people.

Creating a live portfolio and sharing your daily work progress via stories and posts is a great way to reach and engage people organically.

But the real gold is D.M.’s. Using relevant hashtags and targeting people with personalized Dm’s is a great strategy to get clients.

If you want to learn about how to start freelancing in India, sign up for my FREE webinar on how to be a wildly successful freelancer in India

How to grow your freelancing business in India

The best thing about a business is that there’s no limit to its scale. You just need the right means and vision to do that. Many freelancers go up a notch to scale their freelancing services to explore and earn more. Here a few ways how you can scale your freelancing business to earn more: 

Growing a team: Growing a team is a great way to scale your business. This allows you to take up more work and deliver with better efficiency. Also, it allows you to focus on the business development part more, as it takes some burden off your shoulder. 

Sub-contracting: If you are not comfortable with managing the work and team simultaneously, you can switch to sub-contracting some of your work. You can take up work from different niches and sub-contract it to other freelancers who work on lesser rates and earn extra income. 

Partnering with agencies: You can partner with agencies in your industry to get an inflow of extra work. 

Upskilling: This is one of the best ways to earn and learn more. In today’s world having just one monetizable skill won’t be enough. You have to be a swiss army knife to have a sustainable income that grows as you do. 

Upselling: This is a part of upskilling. When you have more monetizable skills that are relevant to your industry or the service you provide. You increase your chances of upselling and quote the clients a higher price. 

Some clever ways to earn passive income along with your freelance business:

  • Blogging: Starting a blog and earning money through it is still very much possible. Many freelancers create blogs with industry-relevant content and earn money through it. 

  • IG pages: Brands and businesses pay Instagram and social media influencers well to put up brand posts. Creating content and growing a social media following in your niche is a great way to set the stage up for some extra-income. 

  • Digital communities: Facebook, slack, and discord groups are very popular. Online engagement is today’s currency. Growing a community with good engagement on these platforms can help you generate some extra income.

     
  • Online courses: Have some experience that you want to share with the newbies entering your industry? Create an online course and charge a fee upfront– Because if you are good at something, never share it for free. 

Want to start making real money as a freelancer in India? Sign up for this free webinar now.

How to start freelancing in India?

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