24th July 2015 - 5 min read
If you decide to opt out from being an obedient employee and turn to a freelance career with flexible working times, take note: there’s hard work and some handy managing ahead of you.
But don’t be discouraged. If you’re determined to make a career of it: here are a few tips to help you along.
As a freelancer, having a portfolio will help you showcase your work more efficiently over the net for your employer.
The key to a good portfolio is giving it a specific focus, mainly on the things that you would want to specialise in.
So narrow it down. Ask yourself, what exactly are you specialising in? Writing? Graphic designing? Script writing? Catering?
Getting a specific voice for your portfolio will give recruiters a clear picture about your work specification and skills. So display only your key skills and abilities. Nothing more, nothing less.
Few companies want to take a chance on a freelancer they are not familiar with especially when it involves larger prices. Show them what you can do for their brand with a one-off free service.
For example: if you are a freelance content writer, approach a company and offer a sample of your work tailored for them before applying for a freelance position.
You can keep it simple but showcase your talents.
It is the same as a store offering a free taste or free sample to get you to purchase. If your work speaks for itself, there’s no reason that the money (ie. paid work) will not soon follow.
Communication is the key to ‘putting yourself out there’. You can publish your freelance job portfolio everywhere…on social media networks, passing links around via e-mail, and through word of mouth. Talk to everyone you know, and tell them about your new career line.
As for the advertising bit, you can promote your freelance abilities via:
Setting a rate for your freelance service is actually the most difficult part. Unless you are already well established in your industry of choice, with an excellent portfolio; a high asking price will only drive companies away.
However, setting the bar too low may also keep you stuck. Impressions count and a suspiciously low fee may have companies wondering why you are pricing your work so low.
The key is balancing and it isn’t the easiest to manage. Here are a few steps you can take which will help you reach a realistic solution:
Tip: It’s always good to start at a slightly lower than market price to build a good name for yourself as a freelancer before increasing this in time.
Freelancing is not without some risk. Beyond the possibility of not getting any assignments for a long period (work is often seasonal depending on your industry): a freelancer faces the risk of not being paid on time or getting cheated by a client.
To avoid this problem, conduct your business, as much as possible, in writing. Write emails to the prospective employer confirming rates, deadlines and payment dates amongst others.
Depending on the industry, you may or may not want to draft an agreement of sorts to clear the terms of your work.
Once you have a bit more experience, you may be in a better place to negotiate more flexible arrangements with employers.
There will come a time when you would want to grow your freelance business for a more rewarding revenue base (I mean, who wouldn’t, right?).
It would be nice to have your own office, where you can work while you chill. You might even consider to expand your career into a freelancing agency, recruiting more freelancers and gathering clients.
If you are facing financial barriers, you can apply for a loan with minimum documentation.
A loan is far better than committing your lifetime of savings into your career, having nothing for your rainy days. You can also opt for partnership with a trusted entity to divide your financial cost.
Getting into a freelancing career is indeed rewarding if you have the right attitude towards it. With the right amount of dedication and preparation, this rewarding career can earn you good money.
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