According to an article published by Business News Daily in December 2021, the gig economy is booming! There is an increased demand for freelancers across different niches and industries with a steady decline in the traditional 9 to 5 jobs.
So, what does it mean to be a freelancer and what are the top six things you need to know before you take the plunge?
Well, for a start owning and running your own business means you automatically become the boss and you have to deal with a lot more than you may have had to deal with in your past roles. All of a sudden not only do you have to produce the goods, but you are also responsible for pitching for new work, looking after the finances plus time and project management. It can seem daunting at the start but the best advice we can give is to be prepared and make a plan. Find somebody else who has gone down the freelancer route and ask for their advice, hearing their story may help you avoid making mistakes and lead to a much smoother transition into the new world of self-employment.
To better understand the nature of freelance work, we have compiled a list of things that we believe all potential and existing freelancers need to consider. It’s not an exhaustive list but includes what we believe to be of most value.
1. The importance of communication.
When you work as a freelancer for a company, your point of contact effectively becomes your boss for the duration of the project. It is vital to keep the lines of communication open between both parties to ensure a successful outcome of the project and in particular that the delivered outcome is what was expected.
2. Freelance work isn’t just about one-off projects.
Whilst traditionally smaller businesses and start-ups hired freelancers for short-term projects, this trend has changed in more recent years, with companies integrating freelancers into their core team. Some larger businesses are using freelancers as part of their contingent workforce as they aim to be as lean as possible. This is an important trend for freelancers to be aware of and pay attention to if they wish to look for more steady work.
3. Always build your pipeline.
Freelancing can be a numbers game. One where you need to send out a sufficient number of introductory letters, pitches, and cold calls. Even when you think your schedule is full and times are good, it is always important to keep adding to your pipeline. You just never know what is right around the corner. The key is to stay one step ahead and plan and schedule work for the future so that you are never without it. Keep working on new ideas and hone your pitch. This way you can communicate regularly with prospective clients.
4. Become an excellent time manager.
Because of the nature of freelancing, where you may be juggling several clients at a time and balancing the needs of each of them, it is important that you allocate sufficient time to each. Often the scope of projects may change and suddenly you have more than one urgent deadline. Using a time management tool will avoid adding any stress and avoid you the opportunity to adequately divide your time.
5. Rejection is part of the job. It’s not you, it’s them.
Rejection comes with the freelance territory but what you need to realize is that it’s not just about you. More often than not, it has to do with company resources, changes in internal personnel, or even a complete change in the scope of the project. The most important thing is not to get discouraged. Keep going, you’ve got this!
Being a freelancer isn’t easy and doesn’t always go according to plan. See it as a work in progress and don’t get too caught up if you’re not where you hoped you be. The important thing is to keep up the hard work, make sure to be consistent, build relationships, and above all make yourself known.
6. Find a community.
Working on your own can be an isolating experience, particularly if you have been used to a busy work environment. That’s why it is so important to have a community you can turn to for advice and guidance or just to chat to during the day if you need some time out or even some inspiration. We guarantee that finding the right community will be a motivating, enjoyable, and very rewarding experience. You can share in each other’s successes and commiserate if things don’t go according to plan, you can learn from each other’s mistakes and take advantage of the knowledge shared.