I began using Twitter when I was 14 just to talk to my friends and occasionally share my love for the most recent pop stars. But little did I know that one day I would leverage Twitter to create my own online agency.
The story goes back to 2020, I get a call one day from my workplace stating that I could no longer come in because the government was announcing a lockdown.
I felt like it was a cruel joke, my main source of livelihood as a student in university just got snatched from me. There was a helplessness that surrounded me and there was nothing I could do.
As a young adult with free time, I had to make a choice. Was I going to sit there and mope over what had happened to me or do something with the time I was given?
This is when I decided to change my life, I formed a strict schedule around my diet, exercise and began looking for alternatives for work. I took a graphics design course to help me get started somewhere and just began posting my opinions on the world, sharing my perspective and people began to resonate.
I’m going to have complete transparency for the time it took me to get where I am and how I did it.
This is how I began working on step one of becoming my own boss:
I developed an online presence
I had heard the word “freelancing” a lot but didn’t really know how to start getting my own clients.
I felt it was important to start out with my own name – and to self-host so I could make sure to work in a way that aligned with my own values.
I created a blog that I shared my monthly ideas on, I was posting on Twitter and slowly becoming recognized. The tweet that kind of out me on the map was:
And truth be told, I could not be more glad for being known for this because these are the ideals that you find my “niche” attached to; family, love, truth.
From here, I began following accounts and interacting with people in a similar niche. I was focussed on sharing what I believed in and I never faltered from that. A few months later, I scored my first client.
I got in that call and was nervous but I began sharing my ideas for the brand and the content strategy I would apply, and well, the rest is history.
My point for talking about this is not to boast about what I accomplished, but about what is possible for you to achieve if you really want it and put in the work for it.
How to Discover Your Strengths, Create a Portfolio, and Attract Clients on Twitter?
You have to start somewhere, so think about this: What is your God-given talent? And how can you leverage it as a skill?
Once you have that, start reaching out to people who you can work with. Twitter will be your bestfriend for that, deep dive on people’s profiles, find out what you can improve and how long it would take you to do it.
Then reach out to them and share the information.
At first, you may need to work for free just to get one testimonial. But how you carry yourself through that one client could make or break the next step.
The most important thing here is patience. You are still learning and it will take time to perfect your systems. Do not give up. The work you’re putting in is going to pay off.
Your next step is to create a portfolio. One of the most important things for a freelancer is to have a portfolio that showcases their work and skills.
I decided to create a link that featured some of the projects I had done for my clients, as well as some personal projects that demonstrated my creativity and versatility.
I included testimonials from satisfied customers, a brief introduction about myself and my services. This is what I shared after I found potential clients on twitter.
How to Determine Your Worth and Charge Accordingly as a Freelancer?
When you work for someone else, they usually decide the compensation you’re going to receive for the work you do. But as a freelancer, you need to know how much to charge for your work.
Here is how I decided how much I was going to charge: I did research on the market rates for graphic design and content creation, and considered factors such as the complexity of the project, the deadline, the client’s budget, and the value I could provide.
In the beginning, I decided to charge by the hour for smaller projects and by the project for larger ones. I also learned how to negotiate with clients and communicate my value clearly.
What are the Best Ways to Attract and Work with Clients Who Share Your Vision as a Freelancer?
One of the most rewarding things I have done as a freelancer is to work with clients who appreciate the work I’ve done for them and how I’ve shared their vision.
But how do you find clients like that? Well, I decided to focus on finding clients who were in my niche, who had similar values and goals, and who were looking for someone to provide certain services.
I have exercised various methods to find them, such as searching on online platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, reaching out to people in my network, asking for referrals from existing clients, and even marketing through my Twitter.
The most rewarding way has always been through Twitter.
After I began securing more clients, it was time to learn the art of management.
How to Balance Your Workload, Quality, and Wellbeing as a Freelancer?
When you work a 9-5, you report to someone. Your organization has softwares, management tools, deadlines but as a freelancer, that all falls on you.
One of the most challenging things for a freelancer is to manage multiple projects at once and deliver quality work on time.
I am someone that works off spurts of inspiration and I decided I had to use tools and strategies to help me organize my work and stay on track. I created a calendar with deadlines and milestones, using project management softwares like Trello and Notion.
I set clear expectations and boundaries with clients, outsourcing some tasks to other freelancers or agencies, and taking breaks, ensuring self-care and making time for family.
What are the Secrets to Surviving, Thriving, and Growing as a Freelancer?
I want to implore you to think about the reason you are beginning this journey, whether it is to have some extra cash, replace your day job or to have freedom with your time. You need to accept that there will be times where you’ll run into roadblocks.
You might get 100 no’s before you get a yes. You could become acquainted with the wrong clients or mentors. You might fail at setting boundaries between your work and your free time and feel burnt out.
So I do have advice for my aspiring freelancers who want to follow down this path to freedom:
- How to network effectively: You need to know how to network as a freelancer, this is how you will find new opportunities, learn from others, and build relationships. Some good ways to network are to join online communities and forums related to your niche, attend events and workshops, reach out to people you admire or want to work with, and offer value and support to others.
- How to pitch yourself confidently: Pitching yourself is the art of selling your skills and services to potential clients. The easiest way to exude confidence in your calls is to research your client and their needs, craft a personalized and compelling proposal, highlight your unique selling points and benefits, showcase your portfolio and testimonials, and ask them questions of why they might have reasons of hesitation to go with you.
- How to balance your work and life: Balancing your work and life is the key to avoiding burnout and enjoying your freelance journey. The ways I’ve balanced my work and life is by setting a regular schedule and routine, creating a dedicated workspace, prioritizing my tasks and goals, delegating or outsourcing some work, setting boundaries with clients and family, and taking time off to relax and recharge. If you follow me, you know that a complete day of rest from work is Sundays for me.
How to Grow Into Your Creativity, Growth, and Freedom as a Freelancer?
People make it seem like it’s easy, like making money online is done without having a strategy. The truth is it is half-discipline and half-luck. You can do all the work but if you are not in the right call at the right time, that is an opportunity missed.
But do not let it discourage you, go back to the drawing board and review where you can improve. Implement. And come back stronger.
You can’t live your own life as a stranger, and having freedom over your own time is the first step of freeing yourself from a system full of don’ts and can’t dos.
I believe that every person has a unique way of existing and that, collectively, we can learn from these individual experiences. My freelance journey was timed when everything around me became uncertain. But I came out working on something that I am truly passionate about, and I would not change that for anything.
I urge you to reflect, map out the plan and take that leap.