How to get freelance jobs in Hong Kong (4 steps)

7 min read
Siew Ann Tan

Are you considering becoming a freelancer or looking for freelance jobs in Hong Kong? For many people working in full-time jobs, it is hard to imagine taking on part time work as a way to supplement income. As for those with specialised skills, it can be tedious to flip through job ads in search of a permanent role.

Whether you are looking to build an extra income stream or prefer flexible work hours, working on a freelance basis is a good option to consider! Whether a part time arrangement or doing it full time, the possibilities are endless. With workforces becoming more remote, many companies are starting to build a stable of freelance talent they can tap on. On Hong Kong Island, such opportunities are increasing. In fact, it might be a better option than continually needing to find a good part-time job.

Excited to get started? It’d be nice to wake up to countless emails from clients who want to hire you, but it’ll take some time for your reputation to grow to that extent. Before you can start raking in the dough, you need to prepare yourself and do your research.

So in the meantime, you’ll need to get your hustle on and look for potential clients. Here is a four-step guide on getting freelance jobs in Hong Kong:

1. Decide what freelance services to offer

Man Holding Camera

Freelance clients will be paying you to get something done for them. What exactly will this be? In other words, what freelance services will you be offering? In Hong Kong, common types of freelance work include anything from data entry to providing translation or graphic design services.

If you are wondering what jobs can you do freelance in Hong Kong, you can be a freelance:

  • Photographer
  • Writer
  • Video editor
  • Web designer
  • Web developer
  • Graphic designer
  • Social media marketer
  • Translator or online language tutor

That’s a lot of options, and we’ve only just scratched the surface!

How to decide which freelance jobs you can take on in Hong Kong?

To help you decide, think about what you naturally have a flair for, or what other people say you’re good at.

If your photos always get a ton of likes on Instagram, then being a freelance photographer might be right up your alley. Or, if you have a knack for explaining concepts in writing, then you might want to look for writing jobs. A lot of companies tend to maintain strong databases of freelance video producers, photographers or other forms of creative professionals. Hence, these are great areas to venture into if you prefer doing creative work.

Also, keep in mind that you can also specialise within each of these broad niches. As an example, some photographers shoot only weddings, while others shoot only portraits. Similarly, as a social media marketer, you might decide to specialise in only the Instagram or TikTok platforms.

However, don’t feel pressured to specialise—or even settle on your main niche—right away. You can explore offering a range of services first, then niche down as you go along.

On the other hand, if you prefer to freelance in work with a lower barrier to entry, you can always look for roles in retail sales, data entry or basic translation. Take a look at job ads for part time roles in these areas, and have a look at the company description and job summary. More often than not, these roles can be performed on a freelance basis. These role are also great for you are wondering which types of freelancing jobs are best for beginners.

2. Prepare your freelancing portfolio

While looking to get freelance jobs in Hong Kong, it’s important to put yourself in a potential client’s shoes:

When a client decides to engage someone whom they’ve never worked with before, they might be incurring a lot of financial and time risk.

That’s because if the freelancer doesn’t deliver to their expectations, then the client will have:

  • Wasted money in hiring someone who isn’t a good fit for the project, and
  • Wasted time, as they’ll never get back those hours spent working with the freelancer.

So if you want to close a project, then you’ll need to prove that you are the right person for the job. And you can do so by preparing an outstanding portfolio.

A portfolio is a collection of past projects demonstrating your skills and the quality of your work. Your clients will be evaluating you based on your portfolio, so include only your very best works in it.

If you’re completely new to freelancing, you might not have any paid projects to feature in a portfolio. In this case, you can prepare samples to show to potential clients.

You can also include personal projects that are relevant to the services that you offer.

Editor’s Note: Need a website for showcasing your portfolio? You can build one using the GoDaddy Website Builder—no tech skills needed.

3. Start marketing yourself as a freelancer based in Hong Kong

Freehunter Website

With your portfolio in hand, it’s time to search for freelance clients!

There are many ways of getting freelance jobs in Hong Kong. Here are some ideas:

  • Applying to jobs on freelancing platforms, such as Freehunter, Workeroom and Upwork if you offer creative services. You can also check out more conventional job boards such as JobsDB Hong Kong.
  • Sending cold emails: this involves you emailing potential clients, who don’t know you, for work. Because the introduction is “cold” as opposed to a “warm” one, your chances of successfully closing a gig may be lower. But don’t give up too quickly!

Also, tell everyone you know that you’re available for freelance work. Your family, friends, even your distant relatives whom you see only once a year.

The people in your immediate network might not need your services. (Though of course, if your dad wants to hire you for video editing work, that’s awesome.) But, they might know someone who does—which is when they can refer you.

And because you come as a trusted recommendation, this “warm” lead might just pay off big time.

Related: How to kickstart your online presence when freelancing

4. Deliver fantastic work in your freelance jobs

Heart-Shaped Stress Ball in Pile of Smiley-Faced Stress Balls

Managing to get projects is only half the story. After that, it’s time to wow your client with amazing work.

Naturally, this will mean delivering to the best of your ability.

It can be tempting to cut corners to save time, especially if you’re being paid a flat fee for your work. But if the client isn’t impressed, you can bet that they won’t give you repeat business. In a small country like Hong Kong, your reputation as a freelancer is critical and built upon good references from your earlier clients!

Apart from this, delivering fantastic work also involves:

  • Following the client’s instructions. While you can exercise some creativity and judgement on your work, be sure to give the client exactly what they want!
  • Submitting your work on time. Missing deadlines is a big no-no. It shows a lack of respect for the client’s business needs, and makes you appear unprofessional.

When clients are happy with your work, they might just recommend you to others. They might also give you a glowing testimonial that you can show other clients! So need I say more about the importance of giving your 110% on every project?

Your freelancing journey awaits you!

That’s the end of this guide, but here’s a final tip before I send you on your way.

As a freelancer, you will be your own boss.

And no, this doesn’t just mean that you get to decide where and when you will work. (Though these are definitely part of the perks!)

It also means that you will be in charge of running a business, which includes:

  • Footing your expenses: including office rent, which can be a killer, and
  • Paying your business taxes.

Are you prepared for these potential challenges?

Freelancing definitely isn’t an easy path. But if you keep at it, you might just find it to be so lucrative that you decide to pursue it full time.

All the best as you look for freelance jobs in Hong Kong!