Every other day a news article pops up, lamenting about how millennials and working adults are gravitating away from traditional full-time positions to do freelance or part-time work that will give them more flexibility.
The truth is, the freelance career is fast becoming a reality for many young adults (and even experienced PMEs) due to a less stable world economy and more number of graduates entering the workforce yearly. With more people competing for less vacancies, young adults are increasingly depending on gigs for income.
So how does one thrive in the “gig economy”? Here are some ways you can establish yourself as a “skilled freelancer”:-
1. Put Yourself Out There
Just like with any other job search, freelancers should actively look for opportunities and job advertisements. Yet there is another more passive way that freelancers can obtain gigs, by listing themselves on related websites.
STROFF (www.stroff.com) is a great avenue to do this, as many potential clients have a presence on the professional networking website. List your previous experience on the site, and be sure to include the word “Freelance” in your present position title, which makes your profile more visible when potential clients search for freelancers to work on their projects.
Besides Stroff, you can also create profiles on other niche sites that are specifically for your chosen industry. For instance, if you are a freelance writer, you should consider portals that cater specifically for writing gigs.
2. Know Your Worth
Navigating clients’ budgets and your personal monetary expectations can be tough, especially if you and the client don’t see eye to eye. There might be instances where clients may even suggest you do work for free, in return for exposure for your work.
It might be tempting to agree to a lower sum than what you expected, for fear that the client might decide to engage someone else with a cheaper price tag. While freelance rates vary from person to person, it depends on a large variety of factors.
When deciding the lowest sum that you’re willing to work for, consider the following factors:
• How much experience do you have? A freelancer with 10 years of experience will definitely be able to charge more than someone who is just starting out.
• How much work does the project require? A project spanning several months will cost a lot more than a project that you can finish within a few hours.
• How much do you think the client is willing to pay? This might sound tricky, but different clients are willing to pay vastly different fees, depending on the size of the company and the urgency of the project. One good way to establish this is to ask the client if they have a specific budget for the project.
3. Get Everything Down In Black And White
Freelance work differs from full-time work in one very important aspect – you don’t have the same protection that most full-time staff have. This is especially true when it comes to payment.
You’ve done the work for the client, responded to all their emails and met their deadlines, and now all that is left is for them to pay you. Except they have suddenly stopped replying to your messages, and you’re left wondering what is happening and how you can recover the money owed to you.
Make sure to keep a record of all correspondence with the client, including telephone calls. One way you can do this is to take notes of what was discussed in phone calls, and reiterate the points in a follow-up email after the call. Once the work is done, you should send the client a detailed invoice listing down the work done, the amount owed to you, as well as the latest date for the client to make payment by. This way, you will at least have evidence to support your claims if there is a dispute.