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With more businesses ditching their plush offices in favour of remote work, lockdown has prompted a shift away from traditional working practices.
That, combined with the need to reduce costs and in some cases make cuts to their workforce, could mean more businesses consider engaging the services of freelancers.
For those thinking of taking on freelance work for the first time, this could be an opportunity to showcase their skills, while earning extra money – either on the side of their day job or as a full-time job.
If you are interested in freelancing and want to start out but don’t know how, here are some tips for starting and what you can do to expand your services.
Before you set sail looking for freelance work, you need to know your audience and who your potential customers and clients are.
Understanding your target market will allow you to carry out research on your potential clientele and help with your pricing, your social and marketing strategy, and more.
Whilst freelancing, you are working on your own time. It’s unlikely that you’ll be working typical 9-5 hours, which many people prefer.
Although you have the opportunity to choose whichever work you want to do, when starting it out, it might be best to be as flexible as possible on the services you are offering.
Some of your services might be a huge hit at first but could even end up in a dead-end, whereas other services may be in demand more.
At first, it may be best you are clear about your services and skills but also mention you are willing to adapt according to their demand and budget.
To showcase your work and outline the services you offer, creating a website is your best option.. You don’t necessarily need to hire a website designer for this, especially with simple templates available on Wix, WordPress and Squarespace.
Aside from a website, expanding to social media platforms can help to get your work out there and bring potential customers to the website. Your social media platform could also double as a portfolio, for potential clients to view your work.
Even if you are starting as a freelancer and have no previous experience freelancing, you could get testimonials from previous employers, discussing your strengths and the work you did for them as a reference for future clients.
An average testimonial does not have to be very long, and it is best to be concise. You could expect it to be a couple of lines to a paragraph max, highlighting skills which are relevant to the services you are offering.
It could cover your attitude, time management, organisation, teamwork and any relevant transferable skills.
As a freelancer, you are your own boss, and as a result, you will be creating invoices and looking after your own finances. You’ll need to be organised and create a clear pricing and cost structure.
Will you be charging clients on an hourly basis or for each complete project? Before jumping the gun, carry out some research to see you if your prices are in line with your competitors.
Set yourself some targets to stay motivated. These could include goals like “I want to earn £X per month”, or “I would like to boost my Linkedin engagement by posting more content”.
It may help to write these down in a journal and come back to them when your mind is turning to the million other tasks on your checklist.
Speaking of LinkedIn, it is important to network with other people in the industry. As you are freelancing, you miss out on the office environment and seeing and speaking to people who do the same thing as you.
It is a good idea to find a local networking group, which will probably be over Zoom while social distancing measures are in place.
If you can’t find one in your local area, you could always create your networking group, with people who share the same interests as you.
Freelancing is not a straightforward road. There are many ups and downs, and some days will be tough, but you just need to keep on trying.
Being successful as a freelancer will not come without challenges, but if you’re realistic about your plans and willing to put the work in, it’s definitely worth a try.
Good reminder for established freelancers.