I recently quit my job for full-time freelancing, and I decided to share my journey with the world. I currently have no clients, no proper portfolio to showcase my skills, and no stable income. But I have a plan. I will be sharing my roadmap and goals below ⬇️
How did I decide?
Well, it wasn't easy. I used to work as a freelancer in Istanbul before I moved to Stockholm, but it's my homeland, and I already had a network where I could find clients. But, Sweden is a new country, new culture, and I don't feel that safe anymore. So I have to start from 0.
Due to the difficulties, I had to postpone my decision many times. For four years, I waited to get a permanent visa. Then there was a global pandemic, and it wasn't wise to leave a stable salary. During the pandemic, I transitioned from UI/UX designer to Product Designer, and I didn't feel confident enough to showcase my skills.
But now, I feel ready to deal with all the challenges ahead and start the journey.
These are the challenges that I'm planning to overcome along the way:
I've been saving money for this day for a long time, but I will try not to rely on that. I've also been paying for Akassa, an insurance system that pays 80% of your last salary for some time. So, I will have approximately 7-8 months to establish a stable income.
To be frank, this is the biggest challenge. Unfortunately, works in my Dribbble and Behance accounts are 6-7 years old. And, there was no work worth adding to my portfolio during my time in my full-time job. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to quit. But I worked on a side project two years ago and added it to my website; I just need to create four more case studies to kick in the search for work/clients.
No business network:
This is my fault. I had to focus more on having a business network if I wanted to become a freelancer at some point. However, this is not the highest priority; it will just get better in time. I will be looking for opportunities to make a presence in the business community and meet new people.
There are many ways to find clients. However, since I don't have a network where I can get jobs, I will need to dig Linkedin and freelance job platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. But I know one thing: people find you if you are good enough. Like the quote from the book "Show Your Work" by Austin Klein: "Be so good they can't ignore you." So, for my works to be seen, I must build a solid online presence and be easy to find.
Roadmap & Goals
1- Build a strong portfolio
I can't do anything if there is no work I can show. So I'll start by adding at least 5 case studies to my portfolio, which is also a requirement by Toptal (a freelance talent platform that matches businesses and professionals). This is my top priority.
2- Build an online presence
I have a personal website, ozanoz.me. It will be the primary platform to showcase my work and give information about who I am and what I can do. But it is not enough, unfortunately. I need to use social media effectively. I already have several Instagram accounts, which I've been planning to use for sharing work and information, but I decided to use Twitter instead. Organic reach and engagement are way better, and it is possible to access higher quality information.
Eventually, I want to start a YouTube channel. I believe that it will be the most significant step to establishing a solid online presence. It won't only help me be more accessible but allow me to keep my creativity sharp or improve different skills like writing and storytelling.
Using Linkedin is vital. When I create work-in-progress posts out of my work, I plan to share them on Linkedin so that I will be more active and findable on a business platform. It is all about being seen, after all.
I started writing a blog. It is essential to keep all the channels open so people can find you. The best way to learn better is to teach what you know. I'll share my experiences and things I've learned in my blog.
3- Create a network and find clients
This will be an ongoing process. After having a portfolio with high-quality works and establishing a solid online presence, finding clients will be much easier. Still, I may invest some time on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to create a flow of income.
By the end of a year, I want to be able to successfully earn enough as a freelancer, create a YouTube channel, actively write on my blog, and maybe start my own company. I'll share the updates here. Let's see how it goes!