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Is being a freelancer really for you? I'm not talking about supplementing your full-time job with some extra work but instead becoming a fully-fledged, full-time independent worker. According to a study by LinkedIn, it's imperative for new freelancers to understand how to negotiate a reasonable pay and leverage work distribution platforms to ensure a steady stream of clientele.
Forbes interviewed a number of freelancers and discovered the most common competencies were a "Can do" attitude and the adept use of various mediums for self-marketing, such as social media, attending network events and blogging.
Before going into freelancing, you'll need to list out all your competencies and skills and determine whether they can generate an income. You'll also need to calculate the initial investment needed to offer your services, for example if you're a photographer you'd need to purchase your own camera equipment. Lastly, you'll need to understand the market for your particularly service offering and what the market rates are for varying levels of experience and complexity. As mentioned above, it's imperative for any successful freelancers to correctly set their price point.
As a freelancer you're essentially running your own business and like any business you'll need to be professional, consistent and well organized. This extends to your CV, portfolio, business cards, website and social media presence - all of which should provide a consistent impression of your services and quality of work.
In the early days it's usually a challenge to attract clientele and as a freelancer this means you're not getting paid. The key is to build a network of referrals from successful contracts, so applying for smaller/lesser paid jobs in the beginning will reward you later on. There are also a number of online platforms designed for freelancers to market themselves, but they will usually take a fee, so cultivating a referral network will provide the most income in the long run.
They'll be plenty of periods in-between contracts or when you're waiting for clients to respond which offer the perfect opportunity to market your personal brand. This should include updating your personal brand platforms and attending networking events. You can even do some volunteering work, as you long you stay productive even when you don't have any freelancing work on.
Freelancing isn't for everyone but if done right can provide a good income and an enormous amount of flexibility and freedom. Good Luck!
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