Let me first explain one important thing – being a freelancer is not like working from a distance or being your own boss. Freelancers are often hired for short or long term contracts at the company’s headquarters and have a project manager, creative director, company owner and possibly a few other people in the decision-making position who will manage their work. Of course, this does not mean that becoming a freelancer will not allow you to work on your own terms and arrange your offices in your own apartment. However, to achieve such ease of work you need to apply a lot of energy in your strategy. If you really want to make your canoe dirty, you have to face the same challenge as other entrepreneurs.
Therefore, you need to answer a few key questions before you decide to move from a full-time job to your own freelance business.
Before you decide to become a freelancer
If you work full-time and your dream is to work with trendy cafes at the end of the world, everything is in front of you. But it is important to think about a few important things before submitting your conclusion. Answering the following questions will let you know if you are really ready to become a freelancer.
- Can you become a freelancer?
- Do you have a customer base?
- Or an extensive database of contacts that will help you get your first geeks?
- Are you recognized and present on the web?
- Do you have a strong portfolio that will attract your perfect customers?
- Do you know what you want to do and have found your niche?
- Do you know the formalities involved in starting your own freelance business?
- Is it really that important?
Of course, you can decide with the appropriateness of enthusiasm, not leaving everything behind and looking back. No plans, strategies or portfolios. But I have a picture of myself a few years back when a few years later at an advertising agency I decided it was time to change.
After a brief two weeks in graduation and summer, which changed my life, I decided to resign and start a new chapter in my life. I’ve worked as a freelancer before, but I didn’t realize that the few clients who came to me on a casual basis weren’t enough to pull my business and become financially independent.
Believe me, this change would be less painful if I knew the answers to the above questions.
That’s why it took me 4 years to get back on my feet and become a freelancer for the whole time without thinking about paying the bills. That’s why I know how important it is to think twice before making a decision.
You can learn more about my experience one year after becoming a full-time freelancer in this article.
Freelancer work for me
This is probably the most important of all the questions you ask yourself. To answer them, you need to know how the freelancer job actually works. Below are some of the benefits and rules for working on your own.
Difficulty working for a freelancer
- Flexible working hours, often working on weekends and holidays,
- In the first few years there are no paid holidays or vacations,
- Projects uncertainty,
- Managing administrative matters, taking care of payments and other formalities,
- Expenses for promotion and advertising,
- A very small percentage spent on creative work,
- Be responsible for your own actions and decisions.
- Working freelancer professional
- The possibility of refusing to work on projects we are not interested in,
- Set your own rates,
- Flexible working hours,
- Ability to work remotely and from anywhere in the world,
- Continuing to learn and improve your skills,
- Signing projects in your own name.
Things need to be taken care of before you become a freelancer
First, save enough money to be able to support yourself when you have no orders. If you still don’t have a database of regular customers who will flood you with work right now, make sure you have savings that will allow you to survive the next few months.
Take care of your portfolio. Concentrate on what you want to do as a freelancer, which customers want to attract you. Find your niche – what interests you the most and make it so that they attract. If your former employer doesn’t allow you to publish past projects, spend time creating personal projects that will appeal to your ideal clients.
A full-time job can dull your awareness and make you forget to be present on the world network. Therefore, it will be important to prepare for a lost time before you leave the job. The basis is an active profile on your own website, LinkedIn, Behens. More channels are better, but each of them should show you from different angles and be the same.
What knowledge do you need to become a freelancer?
You may have noticed a big discussion recently about what skills a designer should have in the market. Many experts believe that a good portfolio is no longer enough. Currently, clients are looking for not only people who have good technical skills, but also unique interpersonal, communication and business knowledge.
Therefore, to become a freelancer, you should consider not only the quality of your work but also how you approach clients as well as what you can offer in the approach project, how to make them feel special.
Make sure you not only do your job but also show who your clients want to work with someone they know, like and with whom they are able to make deals. A portfolio is not enough to decide whether you are such a person.
Make your customers feel special. How you respond to emails, how you respond to criticism. How you write the message can decide whether the client will cooperate or go to the competition.
Marketing and business knowledge alone will not work for you. It shows clients that you have a broad knowledge and understand the challenges they will face.
Invest in yourself
I mentioned earlier how important it is to have enough savings to be able to support yourself in the first few months. It is also good to invest some funds in self-development. The sooner you start the better.
All kinds of courses, training and educational materials related to your specialization will help you get a better job.
Your future clients will appreciate the fact that you are becoming an expert in your field and you will gain the basis for explaining your case to them. Remember, however, that this is not a certificate of calculation, but real knowledge that will be effective in solving the problem.
How to create a portfolio without experience
First of all, a portfolio is a sign of what you can do, what style you are presenting. Your website must show you the best perspective before customers talk about potential collaboration with you.
So, without projects it would be hard for you to convince someone that you are the person who can meet their expectations. In this case, it should take several months to create such a portfolio. How to do without experience? Here are some ideas: