Freelancing is an opportunity to work for yourself, doing something you love, and to be in control of your own time.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a move away from conventional employment and freelancing has been growing rapidly in popularity. It is changing the face of the labor market, and business, significantly. The expectation is that 50% of the working population will be a freelancer in some form within the next 5-10 years. That really is cause for thought.
What does it take to be a Freelancer?
A freelancer needs to be versatile; not only because you are selling the skill or service you are good at and enjoy, but also you are running your own business. Success as a freelancer will require the following skills:
First: you need to define your sellable skill and the relevant industry. You need to hone exactly what you want to offer, what to charge based on the market and your skills/experience, and establish what a sustainable workflow looks like for you to achieve a living wage.
Second: you need to work out what your USP is (unique selling point). Here are some examples of what your freelance USP might be:
- reputation and personality – a client is likely to choose someone who is likable, rather than someone with more experience but is difficult to work with;
- a niche – make yourself exclusive and become known as the go-to person for a certain problem;
- partnerships – you may work with and know the most talented graphic designers, copywriters or some other professional that compliments your service, and this will make you desirable;
- pricing – make it a benefit, whether you’re competitive, offer value with packages, or pitch for top-tier clients.
- Attention to detail
You need to know and observe the laws and regulations affecting your freelance business. Of course, you don’t need to be a lawyer, but you do need to be smart, careful and do your research. Seek professional advice if you are not sure of something – it is well worth the investment. You may also need to hire a professional accountant, but at the very least you will need to maintain your own billing and bookkeeping in an organized fashion.
You need to be able to pitch yourself and your work to make a sale. Whether you find your clients in person or online, your online presence gives you credibility -especially with a portfolio and testimonials. Also, make sure you have the contracts and processes you need in place so that you are ready when you find a client.
The freelance hustle is real. You have to continually pitch yourself, attend events, and network. Ensure your USP stays fresh. Update your portfolio and reposition yourself to remain competitive.
Managing your time, where you work, clients, picking and choosing projects – these are all perks of working as a freelancer. And of course, you can work in your PJ’s if you choose! But you have to be able to get work done. Motivation and time management are key. Your working routine is entirely up to you, but you need to optimize this to reach your freelance potential. Try taking this Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire to find out when your brain is most efficient.
The time is NOW
If you have received an associate’s bachelor’s or master’s-level diploma with OpenClassrooms, you are well positioned to thrive as a freelancer. If you haven’t started a Career Path with OpenClassrooms come take a look at our programs.