Q and A Recap: key takeaways

Q and A Recap: Branding 101 for Freelancers

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TapChief has been an active part of the gig economy for more than three years now. Over this period, we’ve realised that the Indian workforce is still coming to terms with the nuances of freelancing.

In light of this, we’ve started an all-new Facebook Live Q&A series featuring successful freelancers. In these sessions, they will answer questions sent by our community members. We hope this will become a platform for freelancers and independent workers across the country to learn from each other and share their experiences.

Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting award-winning travel blogger and freelance writer, Oindrila De. She addressed questions from the TapChief Community on a variety of topics from making the switch to full-time freelancing, building a portfolio that attracts clients, making use of different platforms to get more clients, and much more. 

About Oindrila

Oindrila is a travel blogger and freelance writer who has over seven years of experience. Her clientele includes the likes of BBC, Microsoft Bing, Cleartrip, Air Arabia, Singapore tourism board, among others.

Oindrila has received several awards and accolades— Holidify identified her among the Top Solo Woman Travel Influencers in India, WeAreTheCity named her as one of India’s Top 50 Rising Star Award in 2016, and more. 

Find the full Q&A session here.

Here are the key takeaways from the Q&A.

1. What sort of portfolio should you build before approaching clients for assignments, and how do you present them?

How you present yourself will make a big impact on how your clients perceive you.

  • Establish your presence online by creating your own website/blog to feature your work and pages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Keep your domain/account name consistent across all and maintain an active presence.
  • Share the links and snippets of your work samples, skills you possess, clients you have worked with, and awards and accolades that you may have received on your website.
  • Bloggers/YouTuber – create a media kit, and add your social media links, achievements in terms of engagement/reach, and your blog links. It can be a simple PDF page or a nicely done graphic poster. 
  • Showcase recommendations from clients that you’ve worked with, if available.

2. What are the best channels to market your freelancing skills? 

  • Establish a presence on networking and social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maintain your own website/blog. 
  • Create and update your complete portfolio and details on freelance marketplaces such as TapChief
  • Join freelancer specific WhatsApp and Facebook groups, they are a great source for lead generation. 
  • Use your social media accounts to create a personal connect and network with potential clients and other people in your field. 
  • Ensure you interact with other freelancers on these platforms regularly, it will help you learn and grow.

3. “I’m a recent graduate, and I want to start freelancing till I get a job. How do I show clients that I’m capable of the project without having experience?”

  • Build and maintain your social media presence.
  • List down your contributions to college newsletters or websites. 
  • Create an account on Medium, LinkedIn or Quora and start writing on topics relevant to your field of interest, it will help establish yourself and build credibility. 
  • Find relevant hashtags and use them effectively to reach your target audience.

4. What are some tips to build your personal brand?

  • Build a website or blog, design a logo, and establish a presence on all the major social media platforms.
  • Dedicate an hour a day to branding. During this time, try to push out at least one post, or one article on your various pages — also, curate and share content that is relevant to your audience.
  • Branding is a continuous exercise, ensure you are regular and consistent. 
  • Get a business card. A business card establishes you as a genuine brand. (It also comes in handy when you start building relationships offline or attending networking events.)

5. “I have been working as a software developer, but my passion lies in writing. How do I make the switch?” 

  • Play it safe. Start writing on the side initially. Develop and improve your skills, pursue writing as a passion before you start converting that into your career. 
  • Start showcasing your work on various social media/publishing platforms. 
  • Paid weekend gigs are a good start. Find a part-time job and see if you’re able to make it sustainable. Once you get a feel of the industry and are confident about your skills, it may be time to take the plunge!

Freelancing is very different from a regular job. In the initial stages, you may have to start getting comfortable with compromised pay. But once you start building relationships with clients and getting work regularly, you will see that the perks are many, and all it takes is some patience and discipline.

6. How do you pick skills to focus on in your resume?

  • Have a two-pronged approach – talk about the skills you are passionate about and secondly, talk about the skills that your client would want. The intersection of these two parts is your sweet spot, that is what will land you the project 
  • Highlight key skills which are valuable. You may have a lot of skills, but don’t overwhelm the reader or the interviewer. Only talk about the things they’re interested in and the skills you’re really good at. 

7. What are some tips to manage finances when you freelance?

  • Find out the industry standards, this will significantly help in negotiations in the early stages. 
  • Eventually, if you think you’re worth more than what the industry offers, start demanding more. Unless you demand, you will not get it, especially in a country like India. 
  • Be ready to walk away from low-paying gigs if they are consuming a lot of your time. 
  • Start working with international clients. They usually tend to pay more for the same, if not less, work.
  • If you have little to no experience, try to be flexible with your rate, do not demand too much settle for something that pays you a decent amount but will primarily help build your portfolio. 
  • Ensure you maintain different folders for different clients to keep track of payments. This will help you greatly when you file your taxes.  
  • Create a standard template for your invoices. 

Wrapping Up

We, at TapChief, are grateful for the incredible participation and response we received for the Q&A session.

A massive thank you to Oindrila for being a part of our first-ever Facebook Live Webinar, for discussing all the questions that were asked at length and providing so much value to all our community members.

The next TapChief Q&A will happen soon, watch this space for updates.

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Karthika Anand

Karthika is a Content Creator and Community Manager at TapChief. When not found writing, she's most likely to be found at the gym.