There has been a sharp rise in the number of freelance workers in the number of years, and this is in part due to the economic situation.
But also because freelance work brings many perks over full-time employment. Regardless of the reason for embarking on a career as an independent worker, it can be very challenging to start with as it is a unique way of working which is not for everyone. Fortunately, due to the number of people working independently, it also means that there is a lot of helpful advice out there which any beginner will benefit from hearing.
Create A Web Presence
The internet will be your main tool for landing work as a freelance worker so you need to have a strong presence online. A high-quality, professional website which advertises your expe-rience, skill set and background along with a portfolio is vital as this will act as an online re-sume which will help you to find work. It should also contain references from previous employ-ers or clients - this is an effective tool for showing that you are a reliable worker. In addition to a professional website, you should also have professional social media channels where you keep followers afloat on the latest news related to your work and post relevant examples.
As with many areas of life, it will be a huge help if you have a large network so use every opportunity to meet people and expand your circle. Be sure to give everyone that you meet via networking a business card - even if they are not currently looking for a freelance worker, they might know somebody that is. You can network at industry events, meetups and even online.
One proactive and forthcoming approach is to send tailored emails to companies that you are interested in working for. Be warned, there will be many that do not return a message and many rejections, but you are likely to find at least one company or contact who will be able to help.
Another way to land work and a great way if you are just starting out is on job boards where there will be daily job postings. These can be highly competitive, so you need to create a great application, but this will put you in contact with clients who are actively seeking inde-pendent contractors. You can usually get relevant positions emailed to you each day which can make it quick and easy to find suitable positions.
When it comes to working for different clients, it means that you will need to be flexible as they are likely to have completely different methods of working, brand guidelines and even payment structures. As a freelancer, you must be flexible to their methods and always make sure that you understand the exact goal of the work that you are undertaking.
One crucial skill that any great freelancer will have is time management. If you are working for multiple clients and juggling projects at the same time, you need to be able to manage your time effectively and prioritize your workload. This may involve keeping a diary or spread-sheet so that you always know when your deadlines are.
An excellent way to improve your time management and organization is with project management tools. There are various digital platforms that can make it easy to support your work by assembling custom invoices, managing your various projects, managing different clients and even collaborating with other freelance workers.
Improve Your Skill Set
One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd in a competitive marketplace is to im-prove your skill set. It is wise to have a niche, such as freelance writing, but you will appeal to more clients if you are also capable of web design, social media management, etc.
Seek Out Feedback
It can be intimidating to ask for feedback, but it is important in a realm where you constantly need to prove your worth to obtain work. Be sure to ask for feedback from every cli-ent and project that you undertake so that you can see what you are doing well and areas where you could improve. Another good reason to do this is that any positive feedback that you receive you can proudly place on your website as a client testimonial.
One of the hardest aspects of freelance work is that you are not earning money when you are not working. This means that many independent workers will spend an unhealthy amount of their day working and this can lead to burnout and various other issues. Don't be afraid of saying no or for asking for more time for a project - it is in the client’s best interest that the work is of quality, so you need to feel fresh and focused which means having time away from work.
Separate Work & Personal Life
Following on from this, you must also separate your work from your personal life and espe-cially if you are working from home. This can be challenging, but many people find it beneficial to keep office hours, to work from a home office and to make a concerted effort to get out of the house on a regular basis to avoid cabin fever. It can also be helpful if you are able to meet with clients or work from their offices from time to time.
Freelance work can be a great way to either make a living or earn on the side as it has many perks, but it is not without its challenges and it is not for everyone. It can be particularly chal-lenging when first starting out, but the above advice should help any new freelance worker to land work early and get used to working independently. It becomes easier over time to find work, and you will develop positive working habits, but there may be a few tough times along the way which can be disheartening and a challenge but, ultimately, these will prove to be important lessons.