How to Grow as a Freelancer in 2021: Advice from Expert Freelancers to Newcomers

Nadine Fahmy

With more people joining the gig work army than ever before, we’ve decided there’s no one better to prepare them than fellow freelancers who have gone through all of the trials, occupational hazards, & joys of freelancing themselves.

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2020 has been a lot of things at once; a year of hardships, a pandemic, an unprecedented digital shift, and the year when the freelance culture witnessed a transformation. Not only were freelancers in demand more than ever before, they were also viewed differently, particularly in cultures where freelancers had been largely marginalized and neglected.

In the UAE, for instance, freelance licenses became available in over 48 economic activities for citizens, residents & non-residents alike. In the Philippines and India, gig revenues increased by 208% and 160% respectively. Everywhere around the world, freelancers saw a change in job frequency, client retention, and even a shift in mindset towards freelancers.

With more freelancers joining the gig work army than ever before, we’ve decided there’s no one better to prepare them than expert freelancers who have gone through all of the trials, occupational hazards, and joys of freelancing themselves.

Here’s how to grow in 2021, according to expert Ureed.com freelancers:

On being proactive and prepared

“Due to the current events around the world, the future of freelancing has become more promising. Finding work as a freelancer is very simple. Platforms that connect freelancers with clients are widely available and easy to use. From my personal experience as a freelancer translator, Ureed.com is one of the best and most professional freelance marketplaces. Therefore, my advice to new freelancers is to understand the market well, be flexible, and focus and work on their talents. In the end, you will definitely enjoy the fruits of your success.” — Yasmeen Mostafa, Freelance Translator

On pitching right

“Don’t submit any proposal without reading the job description carefully. Try to build a good relationship with any client you talk to or work with because this will, maybe, help you get a permanent job [if that’s what you’re looking for]. Finally, always be honest with yourself at first and with the clients so you don’t get yourself into trouble.” — Yasmeen Emara, Voice Actress and Translator 

On speed of communication

“Being prompt is what helped me stand out as I began my freelancing career. If 5 minutes have already passed without replying back to a potential opportunity, you’ve already lost your edge. I also advise newcomers to bid using a 1-page document that contains the top qualities and a collection of samples. Last but not least, be patient and persistent. I only landed my first client after 3 months and around 50 failed bids. You will eventually get there; just don’t stop trying.”  — Hazem Khadash, Freelance Translator

On setting your pricing right 

“Remember that your hourly income is what matters, not the rate per word; translating 500 words per hour at the rate of 0.05 is better than translating 250 words per hour at the rate of 0.08. But please do not get me wrong; working faster does not necessarily mean sacrificing quality, because the quality of your work is your most important marketing tool. Therefore, you need to specialize in a few fields which you like or understand well; this will enable you to produce quality faster.” — Hazem Khadash, Freelance Legal Translator

On winning clients

“An honest piece of advice for winning more clients is simply to not only tell them about your experiences and skills, but rather show them practical examples and achievements that reflect that. Showcase your profile and projects in a detailed and well organized way to point out your outstanding skills and experience.” — Sara Abu Salem, Freelance Writer, Editor & Translator

On being patient with oneself

“Always be prepared for a project. And remember, a good creative is always looking for inspiration. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be great, and other times it will not be as good, and that is alright.” — Hassan Sahib, Freelance Graphic Designer

On freelancing in general 

“Whether you decide to be a freelancer specialized in translation, website building or content writing, you need to start big to head towards a successful career.

Here are my recommendations for building the first cornerstone towards a bright profitable future:

  1. Create an eye catching profile where employers can spot your skills and hire you accordingly. Use Ureed.com’s portal to build a free, awesome-looking profile and start pitching for jobs.
  2. Be flexible when working with a client and prove you can get the job done perfectly.
  3. Be organized when managing your time and setting your work priorities.” — Nour Chahine, Freelance Content Writer & Translator

Start the new year with a brand new freelance experience on Ureed.com – connect with top employers from the GCC and start landing your dream projects now.

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