Freelancing was once considered something that people did on the side. That’s why it’s also referred to as gig work. A part-time venture that would help someone earn some extra income, develop a skill or explore new work fields. At present, freelance work is an opportunity to turn one’s passion into a lucrative long-term career. With more than 50 million people around the world working as freelancers, it seems that the future of work has more and more independent workers in it. Studies reveal that 40% of the worldwide workforce will be doing freelance work by 2020. However, before you quit your full-time job for freelancing, you will need a full-proof strategy for this transition.
A stable income, medical insurance, and office soda are some to the benefits that you will forgo when making the transition to freelancing. Without a good plan, this transition will be painful and stressful. This article highlights a few tips that will make it easy for you to quit your 9 to 5 for an exciting new project in freelancing.
1. Start saving
Most employed people live paycheck to paycheck and as such, life will become difficult once that paycheck stops coming. It is for this reason that you need to start saving early enough to ensure that you have enough funds for your living expenses during the infancy of your freelancing business. Cash will be hard to come by for the first few months if you don’t already have a client database. You must be ready for everything: clients backing out of agreed upon deals, trouble covering your expenses, etc. Payments can be late and some clients might even rip you off and not pay at all. Your bills, on the other hand, will still be waiting for you and that is why you need about 4 – 6 months of savings for your daily needs. This will enable you to focus on your work and not worry about your income at the beginning.
2. Improve your skills
Freelancers offer services based on their skills and this means that you will have to up your game for other people and businesses to hire and pay for your services. You will also be competing against experienced freelancers and companies that offer the same services and for you to be considered for a job, you need to improve your skillset. Freelancing platforms like Upwork, Jellow, and Freelancer accept professionals at different experience levels, so these are great job boards to start your career and work your way up the ladder. You can start as an entry-level freelancer and take entry-level jobs that will help gain the necessary experience. From there, you’ll be able to qualify for other top jobs. When pitching to clients on these platforms, highlight what makes you worth hiring. It could be your reputation or your pricing that makes you a valuable hire. Just like a company, branding is an essential part of selling your service to the client.
3. Your online presence matters
To grow your freelance gig, you will be reaching out to people who don’t know you and most will use your online presence to determine what kind of person you are. Your online image reflects your workstyle and personality. For this reason, you should strive to have a professional online image. Some of the must-haves for this include a blog, a logo, and an online portfolio of your work. For instance, designers can promote their work on Dribbble. You should also be present on the social channels that are frequented by the people you are targeting as clients. Come up with a tagline that will highlight the value you add to the clients who work with you.
4. Get paying clients immediately
There are a lot of things that you need to do to get your freelance career off to the best start, such as getting a lawyer to do the legal work, building a website, learning how to write bills, and creating a business plan. However, the most important thing to do is to get paying clients for your gigs. The other steps are very important in the long run but for you to make a successful transition into the freelancing world, you should focus on getting clients who will pay for the services that you are offering. This is especially true in countries where the government offers special financial aid at the beginning of your experience. For instance, in France, freelancers pay lower charges for the first few years. It would be a shame to waste the opportunity to earn more money on inactive months. Attend networking events in your local area. Talk to everyone and anyone who you think will benefit from the services you are offering. Interact with seasoned industry players with the hope of meeting clients at these meets ups.
5. Set your price
Most freelancers are not sure how to price their services and as such, they charge whatever feels right for a certain project. This isn’t very professional because it shows you are not confident in your ability to deliver or rigorous in your pricing. Instead, freelancers need a clear pricing strategy for their services. This makes it easy to negotiate with clients and it builds credibility.
Becoming your own boss is fulfilling but there are hurdles to be overcome when making the transition from full-time employment to freelancing. Planning your transition is the most important thing you can do, so remember not to rush into the adventure. Visit official government websites and ask around to ensure you don’t miss out on any assistance offered to you by your government, and to avoid any serious mistakes.
We would like to thank Randolph Bunnell for this contribution. Randolph is an experienced freelance copywriter and marketing specialist. He has a deep knowledge of digital marketing and SEO. Randolph also has a medical background and he is enthusiastic about healthcare technologies. He runs a blog Skin Answer, where he shares helpful tips regarding health problems.
Author: Ali Neill
As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.
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