Freelance employment is a dream worth pursuing, but to succeed, be prepared to work hard and learn how to promote yourself. This guide will assist you in obtaining, or increasing, your client base as quickly as possible.
Freelance Employment Opportunities
Following the advent of the Internet and telecommuting, freelance opportunities have flourished, but remain competitive. Freelance employment now includes newer positions such as virtual assistants and Web designers. Increasingly, skilled professionals from a variety of job markets, from legal to accounting, are shunning traditional employment for work that fits their schedule and interests.
Freelancing versus Self-Employment
For clarification, it helps to know what a freelancer is exactly. Typically, freelancers are independent contractors, responsible for their own taxes, which they typically file through their personal tax return. Although they may elect to have a business tax status. Full-time business owners and self-employment fields, such as real estate or construction, are not considered freelance employment.
These distinctions will guide you to the proper resources on freelance specific issues, such as job opportunities. To simplify things, this article refers to skills for hire, as typically seen in the freelance world.
What It Takes to Succeed
Earning a living from freelance employment is often more difficult than in a conventional job, but many individuals gladly accept a pay cut in order to be their own boss. If successful, you may work as many or more hours than before. Additionally, self-promotion can be a considerable time-investment in the beginning of your career.
For many freelancers, self-promotion begins on the Internet. Whether you opt for a freelancing service or maintaining your own promotional Web site, an online portfolio is critical to your success. Potential customers will base their decision to enlist your services based on what they see.
Think of a portfolio as a combination resume and sales brochure, with a bit of a twist. You are an unknown in a sea of many good-looking Web sites. The biggest hurdles, therefore, are gaining trust and reaching your audience. This starts with proving information that is meaningful to your consumer base, such as:
- Contact Information: Provide complete contact information, make it visible and show that you are accessible. If you would include the details in a phone book advertisement, include it online.
- Photo and Logo: Sell yourself and make it personal. Individual portfolios with personal photos generally fare better than impersonal Web sites. If you're concerned about privacy, provide an image, such as an avatar, that uniquely represents you. If you are a business, use a logo.
- Work Samples: Examples and references speak volumes. If you lack samples, use unpaid, unsolicited work, such as Web sites, articles or reports you created.
- Consider volunteering to add credible customers quickly.
- Credentials/Affiliations: Here is an area where you can gain trust as a new freelancer. Organizations, such as SquareTrade and PayPal Premium with fraud protection, provide buyer confidence. Consider these options, in addition to professional affiliations, particularly if accepting online payments.
- Experience: Descriptions should be concise, relevant and easy-to-read. Work samples often outshine learning experience but include proficiencies in areas that potential customers find useful, such as computer software programs.
- Testimonials: Solicit testimonials from former clients, employers, volunteer organizations, etc.
Web Site Presence
Your portfolio is best served when located on a Web site with a domain name that you own. This denotes professionalism and commitment and allows for additional avenues of internet marketing. Should you utilize a freelance employment service, you will be equipped on demand to market to your potential customers. Include the following items with your portfolio or profile:
- Web Site Domain: Select a domain name that is easy to remember, easy to spell, and that looks good in print.
- Services Provided: Create a list of services you provide, emphasize specializations or niche' talents and services.
- Fees and Terms: Be direct about your fees if possible. Customers may need to obtain a quote, but are often reluctant to do so without some estimate. Include payment options and guarantees, if any.
Freelance Employment Resources
If you're ready to take the plunge and enter the world of freelance employment or desire to increase your customer base, consider these resources.
Upwork provides freelancers with an oportunity to submit proposals to clients seeking various types of freelance assistance. Freelancers are a required to pay 10 percent of any money they earn through projects acquired through the site. That is the only fee - there is no membership fee to join or cost to submit proposals.
Guru.com is deemed the largest provider of freelancing services. They offer a basic free membership limited to 10 bids a month, whereas the company charges the freelancer 10 percent of the project fee. The next level of membership, offering 100 bids a month, is $29 to $69 per quarter and deducts a 5 percent project fee.
The seventh most visited Web site on the Internet is a free classified Web site called Craigslist. Freelance job postings are widely available here as are business listings. Strict anti-spam rules exist, so comply with the site's regulations.
You need a profile to post at a freelance employment service. Additionally, short profiles are useful for marketing your Web site. Focus on a compelling sales pitch in 250 words or less, add to this as necessary. From there, concentrate on promoting yourself futher with LoveToKnow's marketing articles. Lastly, do not ignore traditional marketing tools, such as business cards and newspaper ads.