I have been a freelancer for four years now. Due to my young age, the ability for me to turn a hobby of mine into something sort of like a career is quite rare, being that this has been my first job ever.
That being said, very few people are in the same shoes as mine. Most people get into freelance later in their career, others use it as a complement to their full time employment, while others who freelance while keeping up a full time job have possibly seen their freelance job as becoming more promising than their stable full time job. For any of these individuals, there were a couple of things they did to prepare, and we will go over how today.
Is Freelancing For You?
Freelancing isn’t fit for just anyone. There is a hint of unpredictability (or some may positively coin it spontaneity) that comes with freelancing. While you may have a contract with the work you do, there isn’t much recourse that comes when you are let go. Since a majority of the time freelancers are brought on as independent contractors, an employer doesn’t have to offer certain things given to other types of employees (insurance, unemployment offers, etc). For some individuals, including families, this could be too great of a risk to take up. Weigh the options before taking the plunge and analyze your schedule of responsibilities (full-time jobs, your child’s schedule etc) before even taking it up part-time.
The Tools of the Trade
Once you have made the decision to go into freelancing either part-time or full-time, it is now the time to load up your arsenal of things to make the freelance transition smooth while still preserving your rights. This will of course include a well-organized resume. That being said, the first thing a freelancer should do is make a list of what they would like out of a freelance opportunity.
Do you want to work in the technology sector, which has a thriving freelance blogging community? Maybe you want to use your design talents and go into graphic design. Then, you should begin to think about how you would like to be compensated for your work. How much are you expecting? When would you like this to be paid out? Do you have a PayPal account? Once these questions are answered, you’ll not only be able to be told what is expected of you, you’ll be able to tell the employer what’s expected of him.
Finding the Opportunities
How do you find these opportunities? The most common way is through job boards online. There are multiple geared toward bloggers. The most common and the one I’ve made use of multiple times is the Problogger Job Board. This job board offers up new opportunities almost every week and cover a multitude of genres. This is a good thing for individuals with varied interests and good writing skills, however if you are certain which field you are interested in (fashion blogging or legal blogging, for example), you may have to be a bit open for other opportunities.
When Opportunity Knocks…
You’ve found your next freelancing opportunity! Great, now is the time to begin work. By this time, you will be informed of the responsibilities of your new job. You may also use this time to finalize your posting schedule and expected pay. If you have special considerations (religious holidays or family responsibilities), this is the time to air them out as well. It’s best to have these issues addressed now before they occur.
Utilizing Your New Opportunities
With your new freelance job, you are walking on a thin plank. While you are in essence an employee of the blog or company, this is still as an independent contractor. This means that you may not be afforded all of the opportunities of full-time employees. You may not be featured on the staff page or invited to company lunches, however you should still find ways to connect with your fellow employees.
Also, letting other know of this position (for example, by sharing your posts you’ve published with your social media followers) will show the employer that despite the circumstances, you still are an active contributor to the company outside of your role. This is impressionable when full-time opportunities come knocking.
However, when you do in fact leave or get fired, knowing how to emphasize this experience when in search of other jobs will be the key to getting your foot in the door. This is especially true if you freelance for a larger company.
Freelancing can open up many doors when you approach these opportunities in a smart way. When that occurs, not only can they reap financial rewards, they can help you gain experiences you never thought you’d be offered. While many times, freelancing is based on offering knowledge to your readers that you may possess, many times freelancing can also be a learning experience for you the freelancer as well. Let us know in the comments below the toughest thing about being a freelancer.