In recent times, freelancing has become the preferred method of working. As a freelancer, you can work anywhere with people you have chosen to work with. If you are reading this post, it’s one of two things:
1. You’re trying to determine if mastering a tool like Solidworks is relevant in the freelance space. Should you invest your time and effort in learning this skill or not? How proficient do you need to be to land your first gig?
2. You already have working knowledge and experience using Solidworks. You now wish to supplement your earnings with freelance jobs or become a Solidworks freelancer.
I will be addressing both cases but let me quickly share my experience as a freelancer.
My short freelance story.
After finishing my undergraduate program, I ventured into online freelancing out of pure curiosity, not necessarily seeking financial buoyancy. A couple of weeks after I joined Freelancer.com, I got a Solidworks job from an instructor in Saudi Arabia. He was a busy man and needed help putting together course materials in a comprehensive format for his students, following a course outline. My existing knowledge of Solidworks made it easy for me to understand how to communicate the basics of CAD using Solidworks effectively. For that project, I was paid $300.
My short story demonstrates an unexpected way of making money from Solidworks: custom course content creation.
The steps to becoming a Solidworks Freelancer are:
· Learn the skill
· Build your portfolio
· Find clients and get paid.
· Rinse and repeat.
1. Learn the skill.
If you are a newbie with little to no experience in Solidworks but are interested in making a freelance career out of it, you need to spend time learning the skill. The internet has made learning easy. You could opt for free YouTube videos, other free courses, or paid courses. With the right materials and lots of practice, you should attain intermediate expertise in Solidworks in about three months.
2. Build your portfolio.
This is the most crucial step of the process. Your portfolio is what many clients want to see; what have you done with your skill? It’s not enough to say you can use Solidworks. Show it. Those practice exercises are a part of your portfolio; put them together. If you can volunteer your newly learned skills to do some free projects, it can also add to your practical experience (portfolio).
For more experienced Solidworks users, this should not be much of a problem. Put together all projects you have the right to display in a folder and figure out the best way to show them. Behance is an excellent place to start. At this point, don’t bother yourself trying to build a personal website. That can come later.
It is good practice to show images or models of what you have designed and talk about the project itself. What was the problem? How did you solve it with Solidworks? Was the model manufactured? How? Answer all these questions in a case study style. If you are a newbie, find a personal project you can easily do. For example, you could model a custom screw on Solidworks that you can’t seem to see in the market and 3D print it. That is a project with a story.
Once you have prepared your portfolio, we need to find you a paying client.
3 Find clients and get paid.
There are many ways of getting clients, online and offline. I started my Solidworks freelance journey by helping my classmates conceptualize their projects in school. I took it a step further by going online to find clients on Freelancer.com.
Different clients have different requirements. For higher-level Solidworks users, you might be required to have taken a certifying exam like the CSWP or CSWE exams. Some may only look at the projects in your portfolio, while some don’t mind engaging a beginner—different strokes for different folks.
Freelance marketplaces are a good start for freelancing, in my opinion. Freelance sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour, etc., can let you see the variety of projects available. Clients posts projects, and you can bid on the ones you are interested in. See an example below. I used Solidworks as the keyword to filter the projects.