Elance-oDesk’s Annual Freelancer Report
Elance-oDesk recently released its Annual Impact Report. Considering that I talk a lot about oDesk on…
An increasing number of professionals find themselves attracted to the freelance working style. Flexible schedules, scalable income opportunities, and freedom to organize their time exactly how they want – all these benefits lure professionals to freelancing.
Transitioning from a full-time working environment to freelancing isn’t a piece of cake, so here are a few tips to help you do it and launch a successful freelancing career.
Detailed knowledge of the market is a prerequisite to a successful plunge into freelancing. That’s why before you make your move, it’s paramount that you do your research about the sector. You should know how much to charge for projects and estimate how many projects per month you’d need to take in order to meet your financial goals.
Count in the time you predict it’ll take you to keep in touch with potential clients and secure new deals as well. You should know how much professionals similar to you charge for their services – and then think strategically to determine whether to charge lower, higher, or the same.
It’s safe to say that for freelancers, a personal brand is extremely important. Your success will depend on word of mouth and direct recommendations, so the way in which you show yourself to the world matters a lot.
Use the web to your advantage – set up profiles on networks relevant to the sector and actively participate in discussions, adding value to the online community and showing your expertise. Also, consider launching a blog. It’s a great medium for showcasing your knowledge and boosting your reputation in the industry.
Being a freelancer means that you’ll be the one taking care of your finances, so make sure that you possess relevant knowledge about business structures and which ones can bring you benefits. For instance, weigh whether incorporating your business is worth it.
This is not to say that you should do everything by yourself. Hire an accountant to do taxes for you and find suitable tax dedication opportunities – you can find independent accountants on services like Gumtree, which allow various professionals to advertise their services.
Networking is the best way to meet interesting people, who can in turn connect you to exciting projects and new clients. Mingle with the crowd in your sector and attend professional networking events to get to know people who think like you and have similar occupations.
Knowing your competition is not only a way to keep up with industry standards, but also getting new recommendations. Moreover, if you find yourself too overwhelmed by your projects, you’ll have the opportunity to outsource a number of tasks to other freelancers, consequently adding strength to the freelancer community.
Needless to say, transitioning from full-time to freelancing is a serious change and should be initiated in the right moment. Consider when your target clients are likely to spend money on projects you could service. Have a look at your present situation – are you working on a large project that could gain you an endorsement from your employer?
Then, there are the financial matters. Make sure that you’ve got enough money saved up to allow you to survive through downturns that are bound to happen someday once you switch to freelance. Make your move to freelance carefully – be aware of what you’re losing in return for your freedom.
Transitioning from full-time to freelancing can be difficult, but the freedom to organize your schedule and work on projects that you really feel passionate about is definitely a fair price to pay. Develop a plan and stick to it, and your dream of owning your own business could become a reality sooner than you ever imagined.