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Freelancing – the Basics, Before You Quit Your Day Job

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Freelancing – the ultimate career freedom. But, it doesn’t just happen overnight (unless you are fortunate, or have a magic genie or something). It takes hard work, a lot of dedication, some carefully planned actions and… A few other things that we will be talking about in a moment. Freelancing is in a massive growth period, and it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon, and maybe you’re not in on the act yet, or you feel like you’re missing out on a trick how to make it work for you?

So let’s look at a couple of things that can either help you make the leap or give you a bit of direction if you’re just starting out.

Don’t say yes to everything. It might be very tempting to accept everything and anything when you first decide to spread your wings and head off into the freelance sunset. While taking some paid work is going to be the best thing to do, taking on the wrong clients or spreading yourself too thinly on the skills front is going to get in you in trouble. Try to be specific in where your strengths are and use that as the guide for the work you should be taking. Specialization is going to be your friend because you’re going to become an expert in that field. Experts get hired by the right people.

Who are your clients? While it might be nice to daydream about millionaires who hire you full time and you can spend your days lazing by a pool, it is time to get clear and practical. Think about the following things:

  •    What do they need from you?
  •    Can they match your pay expectations?
  •    Are they local/global?
  •    What sector do they work in?
  •    What problems does your service solve for them?

Are you showing off? Seriously, if you aren’t shouting about your services, then why should your previous clients? Get social, and get a high-quality portfolio put together. You can build this yourself or hire another freelancer with the experience to do it for you – the choice is yours but try and include the following:

  • Eye-catching
  • Easy to navigate to the contact me
  • Mix it up in your ‘About’ section, talk about you AND why you are passionate about the sector you are in
  • Showcase your previous works where possible. Sometimes it is a little difficult with NDAs, ghostwriting and other anon work. In these cases, you can talk about the work undertaken rather than show the work directly, or mention any compromising information.
  • Hire work spaces to take client meetings in and bring your  physical portfolios for them to browse, get an office to rent in London it it easy to access and comes with the bonus of being in the middle of a freelance hotspot.
  • Go to networking opportunities

Don’t just do it. Quitting a regularly paid job in order to freelance when you haven’t got clients ready in the wings is a dangerous thing to do. It puts you under far more pressure than you need to be. Where, and if your contract permits it, freelance alongside your day job until you are earning around 50% of your current wage (or enough to cover essential bills) – then do it.

Freelancing is a unique and exciting way to earn a living, and if you’re smart, you can build your ideal working life with ease.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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