loading
drag

What you need to know to start freelancing and tips to get you there

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHANNON MAY POWELL
WORDS BY GENEVIEVE PHELAN

Going solo.

Maybe your full-time workload has hit the brink, or you’re deeply enamoured with a creative field you want to pursue all on your own. Perhaps autonomy is important to you, and there’s a niggling feeling of restlessness you just can’t resist any longer.


Want more career advice? Check out our Life vertical. 


If freelancing is on your radar but you haven’t got the slightest clue how to get a fledgling idea off the ground, we’ve teamed up with global freelancing network Fiverr to unpack the recipe for success. In conversation with some local and international creative connoisseurs, here are just a few things to consider when setting the freelance wheels in motion.

Look outwards 

When you use Fiverr, you have the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. Take a job in country A, and source expertise from a freelancer in country B. While we’re exceptionally connected in the Australian creative community, we often neglect or overlook talent from across the way. In times when the globe is physically riven apart, this kind of skills cross-pollination can support faraway talents as well as add a point of difference for local brands.

One foreign freelancer making brushstrokes in both hemispheres is Sailorlun, an illustrator from Ukraine. The woman behind the popular Fiverr profile is Veronica. With clients from countries spanning France, the US and more, Veronica has a knack for far-reaching networking. Here, she bestows her tips on crafting a memorable and multifaceted profile. 

“I think one of the most important rules is to respond as quickly as possible to messages, because the market is very crowded and procrastination can cost an order. I always try to give a little more than the customer expects to receive, more color options or some additional details, I think this is always nice for my customers,” Veronica says. 

Veronica is an advocate for the ease of freelancing platforms like Fiverr, making a strong case for that middle-man ability to cut down the client search part of gig-culture. 

“It’s great that you don’t have to look for clients and great people come to you themselves and you can focus only on work. Just come up with a clear title and tags that match your services, plus an eye-catching image. Try to be clear about what you can do, but don’t write too much on there. Add extras so the customer can customise the order as much as possible, too.”

Leverage the talent you need

In the fashion sphere, Fiverr has an internal design store, housing experts in fields like technical drawing, logo design, styling, photography, pattern making and 3D garment design. Perhaps one of the best things we can do in the pursuit of a healthy freelancing career is engage and learn from the aficionados around us. If you’re stuck on the actual folio-making part itself, asking questions and scouring socials for people who can elevate your branding, copywriting or visuals could be the best place to start.

Looking closer to home, Australian model, art writer and curator Sabina McKenna knows just how important this online/social presence and folio can be in garnering the right attention as a freelancer.  

“I think sharing your work and keeping your channels up to date is important because people see that and think of you as opportunities arise. This means there is less of you having to go out and put your hand up for jobs,” says Sabina. Platforms like Fiverr allow freelancers such as Sabina to share their folio, contact details and case studies directly to prospective clients with ease. 

Don’t fear change and embrace adaptability always 

Sabina also implores budding freelancers to hone a diverse set of skills. She’s found “it’s gone a long way”, noticing how rare it is these days to land a job in the creative realm that only involves what’s in the role description, so being versatile and eager to learn goes a really long way.

Melbourne podcaster and writer Jasmine Wallis echoes Sabina’s message, continuously striving to expand her knowledge of the industry in order to diversify her work. Not only is it important for Jas to keep things fresh and creatively driven, but she realises the necessity of adaptation to stay relevant and appealing to prospective clients.

“Whether that’s starting our podcast or writing with SEO in mind, there’s always a new tool to share stories. I love exploring lots of different talents and facets of the same industry. Freelancing means there’s never a dull moment,” says Jasmine.

Never rest on your laurels and keep feeding your passion

Another Australian creative force is Jess Brohier. Jess is an exceptional fashion photographer and founder of visual production mecca Alt—House. Maybe one of the most integral ingredients for takeoff in the freelancing world is resilience and commitment to your cause. Jess deems passion the sustenance for freelancers in that initial phase and beyond, acknowledging just how paramount it is to be completely besotted with your craft. 

When asked if she’s planning to ever return to full-time work, Jess responds with a firm no. “As unpredictable, emotionally draining and stressful as it can be at times, I wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything,” she says.

“…When it’s good, it’s really good. I get to do what I love on my terms, and freelancing as a creative also allows the potential to make a decent income if you work hard enough (despite what they told us in school). Maybe it’s like falling in love. When you’re completely focused on it, it doesn’t appear. To help with low periods, I stay busy and use the time to get creative.”

For more expert tips on how to get your freelance career started, head here.

Lazy Loading