The beauty of being your own boss. The flexibility. The work-life balance. Working as a freelancer is one of the best jobs you can do if you love the sound of working from home.
Nowadays, freelancing is a widely accepted and growing field across many industries. Whether as a freelance writer, designer, programmer or consultant, becoming a freelancer in your niche industry is far easier than you might think.
For anyone just starting out, consider this as your jump-start guide to landing a job as a freelancer.
What is a freelancer?
A freelancer is someone who is self-employed. While freelancers do take on contract work for different companies and clients, they ultimately work for themselves.
Freelancers can work in any number of roles and industries that support telecommuting and working-from-home. Some of the most popular freelance jobs include freelance computer programming, freelance writing and freelance web design.
There are several reasons why you might consider working freelance. These include:
- As a way of earning extra income on the side
- Better work-life balance
- Greater flexibility. You can often choose your own hours and work around personal commitments – making it great for parents/families.
- Potential to earn great money (some freelancers can earn upward of $90,000 per year)
- Opportunity to work on a part-time or full-time basis
- Ability to choose your workload and oftentimes, your projects/clients
- No more commuting
There are, as with any job, some downsides of freelancing. So before you set out to make freelancing a full time career, be aware that:
- You have to pay your own taxes and super
- You don’t get any benefits such as insurance or overtime pay
- Work may be sporadic. You may go weeks without regular work.
- You’re isolated. There’s no office camaraderie found in traditional jobs, and interactions with clients are often solely over email or phone.
What do you need to get started?
To get started in freelancing, you generally need to possess the skills required by your chosen role or industry.
You also need a good understanding of what kind of jobs are in demand. In-demand jobs means that you have a higher chance of making a steady income working as a freelancer (since there is demand for those specific skills or services). For example, anything in the tech industry – such as web design – is always required, along with project managers and more recently, automation specialists and machine learning engineers.
Once you’ve chosen your industry and specific role, you can work on gaining the required skills and education needed to get a foot in.
Some other useful things you need to get started in freelancing include:
- A good home office setup with fast internet connection
- A website or social media profile advertising your services
- A LinkedIn profile
- A dedicated business phone
- A business growth plan
You should also develop a suitable portfolio so that you can showcase your experience to potential employers and clients. Once you’ve determined your specialty and gained the basic skills to get started, all you need is a well-crafted resume and some patience as you begin looking for work.
Finding freelance work
You might already have an existing network of potential clients or contacts. If so, you can often cold pitch or reach out to those contacts and secure a project.
If, however, you have no existing network, you can find freelance jobs the old fashioned way — via job listings.
You can find freelance jobs in just about any reputable job listing site. Many employers advertise freelance roles on websites like SEEK, Indeed and Glassdoor. Application is exactly the same as a regular job, where you’re required to send a cover letter and resume. From there, you’ll often be invited for a phone or video interview.
For freelance creatives such as writers and designers, sites like LinkedIn, Upwork, Guru and Freelancer are other great job listing websites with the potential to gain clients and a network.
Of course, you can also build your own website or social media profile and market your services there, too. Ultimately as a freelancer you should do all of the above in order to maintain a regular workflow and client pool.
Freelancing is the ultimate job – if you’ve got the time and patience to do it. Because you’re working for yourself, you need to have a degree of discipline. Essentially, you have to be master commander of all your business processes including your time management, cash flow, workload and business management. Starting out freelancing can be slow going at first. It’s definitely a case of the longer you do it the better it gets. Once you build up a loyal client-base and gain some experience and exposure, you’ll find that you’ll be getting more work than you can handle!