A complete guide on how to start freelancing and land your first freelance project as a Mechanical engineer.
As we know that in recent times the demand for freelancers and independent professionals has increased so much.
Therefore, the number of freelancers has also increased resulting in more competition across the industry.
Now it is very necessary to have a planned strategy on how to start freelancing so that whenever we are starting our freelancing career, we are well prepared and ready to compete.
Since I started writing this blog, to date I had completed more than 500 successful projects related to Mechanical engineering, CAD/CAM, Robotics, Industrial design, Product Design, 3D Printing, and Architecture.
Now I am working as a full-time freelancer, I quit my 9-5 job and I had shifted to my hometown, taking care of my family, and living a healthy life.
Now I am also able to spend lots of my time learning new skills and experimenting with different niches.
This is all happening because I had dedicated my 4-5 years of time to master the bits and bytes of this freelancing industry and still learning to be updated with new technologies and trends.
But you can start and get going quickly without wasting much time if you follow the correct strategy.
I am going to explain this guide in multiple steps that will help you to land your first project as a freelancer.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is starting a business where you are your own boss, You will have full control of your time and actions.
You are responsible for Marketing, Project executions, quality, deliverables, finance, and all project-related activities.
You had your own comfort zone to work on your projects.
But still, I prefer you to follow a schedule that will help you keep organized and focused, and healthy.
What are the skills needed for Freelancing as a Mechanical Engineer?
As we know Mechanical engineering is an ocean of knowledge, and it’s impossible to master all aspects of it.
So focus on your core strength and try to figure out how you can benefit the industry most while working remotely or in person.
Try to find an area that interests you the most, for example, I love doing CAD designs and DIY projects so I started exploring this industry through all the online affordable learning resources available.
Still, you need to analyze the industry to understand the current or future trends and focus on developing your skills around them.
Learning obsolete skills is not going to benefit you in the long run.
To analyze the industry you can talk with some of the established freelancers, Professionals, and experts, and ask them to share their views and experiences.
Here is a podcast link on “Everything about Freelancing for Mechanical Engineers”
In my view here are the Top Five Skills that you can learn:
- 3D Modeling (AutoCAD, Solidworks, Fusion 360, etc.)
- Industrial Design (Solidworks, Fusion 360, Blender3D, etc.)
- Product Design ( Solidworks, Fusion 360, keyshot, etc.)
- Rendering ( Keyshot, V-ray, etc.)
- Drafting ( AutoCAD, etc.)
All these skills you can learn for free through Online learning resources.
Who can be a freelancer?
Anyone can be a freelancer who will be able to manage or handle all the activities related to it.
You can start freelancing when you are in college, you can start upgrading your skills that are trending in the industry.
For Mechanical engineers Master skills like Machine Design, Robotics, Simulation, CAD, Advance Manufacturing, Product Design, Industrial design, DFM ( Design for Manufacturing), DFAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing), etc.
Also, Improve your communication skills (English), and negotiation skills If you are serious about it.
Since you are not only participating in local projects, you will also be handling lots of global projects from countries like the USA, UK, UAE, Canada, etc.
Mastering the skills
Try to be a part of projects, I would prefer open-source projects where you can contribute your part.
By doing this you will learn practical knowledge and experience Because just having the curriculum knowledge is not sufficient.
The best examples of Open source projects that you can contribute to are Open Source Oxygen Concentrators.
Building a Killer Portfolio
And when you start working on a project or start being a part of it, It is very necessary that parallelly start working and building your portfolio.
Because the portfolio is the only thing that you will be able to share with your leads/clients to expose your experience and skills.
You can also check out my portfolio for your reference.
And also check out this complete video about where to make your CAD design portfolio for free.
Deciding a platform to start.
I will recommend you start from a freelance platform.
There are lots of platforms where you can create your profile and start your freelance career. All of them work differently and I will give a small brief & tips about some of them.
Here are two of the most recommended platform based on my experience.
Both Platform works differently.
You can also use social media sites to look for the first or ongoing projects.
Also, you can talk with your colleagues and seniors or connections and ask them for the lead.
Check out these videos that will help you get started on freelancer.com.
Utilizing digital media platforms to generate leads
Since we are living in a digital era and everything is becoming connected to the internet.
Almost everyone on this planet has access to the internet and smartphones and uses social media platforms.
So I highly recommend you try to build your presence on all the available social media platforms and be active on a few of the famous platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Because the more you show your presence online the higher the chances to get noticed by the industry.
If you want to check out my social medial handles for your inspiration just Google “3diest”.
Dedication to delivering on time without compromising the quality
Always try to deliver on or before time without compromising the work quality.
If you feel at any point in time that you need more time to complete your project just contact your employer/client and explain everything.
Instead, I will always suggest you discuss everything before accepting the project like the inputs you need, deliverables, time frame, and project budget.
Because quality is everything, once you start delivering quality work to your clients they will the returning customer to your freelancing business.
Beware of Spam
Beware of spam projects/clients.
Do not start working without the milestone having been created.
Once you will start working on freelancing platforms like freelancer.com and Fiverr.com before starting or accepting the project ask your client to create a complete milestone.
A milestone is an amount that the client will deposit with the freelancing platforms towards the discussion of the project between you and your client.
Once you will meet or deliver your project as discussed the client will release the milestone and that will be credited to your account.
And avoid those clients whose profile is not verified or if someone is asking you to contact them outside the platform.
Because once you will share your personal contact details on these platforms your account will be banned or revoked for avoiding their policy.
Also if you are working with some local referred clients ask them to pay some advance money in case even the project is not successful you are not going to lose much.
As per my experience, clients easily agree on the advanced amount if they feel confident about your work or portfolio.
Believe on yourself
Believe in yourself, it’s not a career where you will succeed in a day or a month.
You need to start building relations and start providing quality work.
keep learning and improving your skills to communicate better.
Ask for testimonials / Reviews
When you are done with your project and received the milestone/payment, do not forget to ask for a review of the experience you had with the client.
Having positive feedback is really important to attract more clients.
If you want to learn more about Freelancing just comment below with your questions/suggestions.
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- What are the Best websites to learn AutoCAD for free?
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- How do you move an object to the origin in Fusion 360?
- How to create a perfect Dynamic Block with attributes in AutoCAD 2021?
Honest narrative, especially deliverable milestones within the terms and conditions of the platform provider. Best wishes for your endeavours, a provison for feedback from peers n contemporarie like me who wishes to give there value addition insights too
Thanks for your feedback.
As u mentioned in ur blog we need experience for being freelancers how we can gain that experience in design before starting freelancing
You can gain experience by working on open source projects and contests related to your domain.
Thank you sir
As I know CAD software’s are too much expensive to purchase by a freelancers. How to get the software like solidworks, NX, AutoCAD to work on 3D model or P&ID level projects.
hey Joe, I understand your concern, when I had started I started with education licenses (Like for fusion 360 & AutoCAD) and once I started generating revenue, I had subscribed to the paid versions. Whereas for premium softwares like NX & solidworks I mostly outsource the work from fiverr.com & freelancer.com
Thanku so much for create Blog …which full of information regarding what is actually freelance nd how can we join apart from that they give knowledge how to work in competition world
Thank you so much for your feedback, I appreciate your words!