Freelancing after 50: 10 tips to get started

freelance woman busy working on laptop computer at office.

If you’ve heard all about the benefits of becoming a freelancer and want to try it for yourself, you’ve certainly come to the right place.

freelancing woman busy working on laptop computer at office.Women in their 40s and 50s are increasingly turning to the gig economy to start a new and exciting career that just wasn’t possible only a few years ago.

Here’s everything you need to follow them and create your own incredible new career.

1. Follow your passions

Just because you’ve had extended time away from the workplace as you raise the kids, or you’ve been stuck in a career that just didn’t really do it for you, doesn’t mean you can’t kickstart things today. Becoming a freelancer is all about following your passions by working for yourself and freeing your time up.

If you become a self-employed version of what you already do, you’ll probably come to regret it before long. But if you take the time to follow your passions, figure out how to make money from them, and then devote yourself to success, you’ll never want to look back.

2. See what others in your niche are offering

One of the best ways to get a head start is to see what established names in your chosen niche are offering in the way of products and services. You might be a talented writer for example, and think that the way to go is to try and pen the next great novel. But when you look at what other writers are doing you may well be surprised to find just how lucrative copywriting can be. This is just one example, and there’ll be plenty for whichever niche you’re looking to establish yourself in.

3. Create a personal brand

You’re a one woman band from the moment you become a freelancer, which means your personal brand has never been more important. It’s what shows interested parties and potential clients what you’re all about, and it’s what you’re building as you create a solid foundation of repeat customers. Take the time to create a brand that reflects who you are, what you offer, and what you are like to work with. It will make all the difference to your success in the long run.

4. Build a portfolio of work

In the world of freelancing, your portfolio is your business card. As you get more and more enquiries about what you offer, you’ll find you get asked for it on a daily basis. By taking the time to put one together you’re helping yourself secure business today, tomorrow, next week, and in the months ahead. It really is the best investment you can make as a freelancer.

5. Ask for recommendations and testimonials

You’re a woman of experience, which means you’ll have worked with plenty of people over the years who will be only too happy to recommend you. By creating a LinkedIn profile, adding all of your relevant skills, and seeking endorsements, you can start to advertise yourself from the moment you decide to make the switch. Ideal if you want to give your freelancing efforts that all-important bedrock of credibility that can make all the difference.

6. Promote your services on social media

Social media is free, which in itself makes it a great tool. It’s also ideal if you want to announce a change in direction, showcase your latest projects, and generally just advertise your services. Create a social presence that reflects the core ethos of your freelancing brand and you’ll find it enhances your efforts and expands your reach.

7. Pitch for work on freelancing sites

Sites like Fiverr, UpWork, and Fivesquid are great options if you want to save money on your advertising budget. They will of course take a commission, but the ability to connect with thousands of new buyers on a daily basis is something no freelancer can afford to overlook. They also offer the protection of an escrow account which means you won’t have to worry about not getting paid as you find your feet.

8. Be realistic about your prices to begin with

You’re not going to be able to charge top dollar from day one, no matter how great you are at what you do, it’s just a fact of life when you become a freelancer. What you want to do is start off with modest prices that still enable you to make a living, and gradually increase them over time as your workload increases and your 5-star reviews pile up.

Just make sure you don’t make the age-old mistake of pitching as low as you need to secure a new order. You’ll kick yourself if you spend all afternoon working for a tiny amount of money when you could have spent it growing your brand in other ways.

9. Don’t try and offer everyone everything they ask for

When you first make the switch it can be tempting to accept every job you’re offered just so you feel you have some work coming in. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get straight down to work, you don’t want to become a jack of all trades and master of none. Don’t offer to do anything you don’t already know how to do, just because someone has offered you money to do it.

10. Refine your offering over time and focus on what you do best

Last but not least, to become a 6-figure freelancer you’re going to need to turn down work and refine your offering. If you can create a narrow niche for yourself that you know inside out, people will pay handsomely for your expertise. You’ll also have the benefit of getting to practice it day after day, rather than having to hop between half a dozen unconnected projects.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve heard all about how to get started in the fantastic world of freelancing, all you need to do is start putting the hints and tips we’ve given you into practice. It might feel a little daunting at first, but if you power through the first week or so you’ll be up and running in no time at all. Just what you need when you want to build a career you’re proud to call your own.

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About Kristin Savage

I nourish, spark and empower using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing my degree in Creative Writing, I was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors.