6 things to consider when becoming a freelancer
We all know someone who lives his life to the fullest – working for himself, setting his own time for hobbies in the middle of the day, or working from a nice beach house instead of going to the office. Being a freelancer and achieving this may sound like a dream, a natural next step in professional development, or just an opportunity to change your life in a way to have more time for pursuing your passions. You may be considering it for years or just decide on it overnight. And one day you just know – that’s it, that’s how you want to live your life!
Congratulations on considering the exciting and rewarding career path of IT freelancing! Whether you're looking to supplement your current income or make a full-time transition, freelancing can offer flexibility, independence, and the opportunity to choose IT projects that align with your interests and goals. But freelancing also requires some adjustment, new skills, and focus different that the corporate work life. We spoke to people who have made their professional careers as freelancers and gained great experience and know-how about the “gig” work and lifestyle, and we present to you their top 5 things to keep in mind as you embark on your new freelance journey.
- Create a strong online presence. In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for freelancers. This includes creating a professional website or portfolio, as well as maintaining an active presence on social media and professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. Having an online presence allows potential clients to easily find and learn more about you and can also serve as a way to showcase your skills and experience, especially if you are a web developer, a designer, or have a skill set that can be put in action in building a website or portfolio online. There are plenty of social, jobs, and freelancing platforms, and maintaining your profile on each of them may be time-consuming.
If you haven’t done it yet, consider joining GigsRemote.com – with our smart platform and dedicated team of experts, you will never walk alone in the woods of online networks.
- Stay organized and manage your time effectively. Freelancers can juggle multiple projects at once, so it's important to stay organized and manage your time effectively. This may involve creating a schedule or to-do list, setting aside dedicated work time, and using project management tools to stay on track. Even the simplest spreadsheet file will work, but you need to really dedicate some time to focusing on your project’s planning. If you fancy more sophisticated solutions, Trello offers free plans for individuals, and we can confirm it’s a nice and enjoyable solution. Here’s a helpful list of the top project management tools for freelancers.
- Take your professional network seriously. While freelancing, in general, is considered a solo pursuit, it still requires the involvement of more folks – clients, partners, and colleagues you work with (yes, there are such even in freelancing!). Experienced freelancers often share that their chances to find better-paid projects depend greatly on their right connections and trust built within the professional network. You may think of freelancing as being alone on the road, but the truth is that you still need to work on your professional development and stay up to date on industry trends. Not to mention that IT workers generally need to stay on top of the newest technologies, regardless if they are niche workers or more general software specialists.
- Take care of your finances. Freelancing can offer a lot of flexibility and freedom, but it also comes with the added responsibility of managing your own finances. This includes setting and tracking your rates, invoicing clients, and paying taxes. It's important to have a system in place to manage your finances and ensure that you are getting paid fairly for your work. Finding a trusted accountant is crucial in this journey – you don’t want to become an expert in accounting, right? Your accountant should be a partner on your freelancing journey, but nevertheless, your finances and taxes are your responsibility. Being a freelancer is just like being the CEO of your own professional life. You can also trust a platform partner, who can manage that for you. Depending on the business model some platforms would do that as added value, while others will not interfere in the financial flow between the customer and you.
- Keep your boundaries and communicate effectively. As a freelancer, it's important to establish clear boundaries with clients to ensure that you have a healthy work-life balance. Your relationship with clients should be based on partnering and setting the right expectations regarding scope, timelines, and budget. More than ever, you will need to focus on estimating your delivery time, knowing your skills and expertise, and making sure that you can handle the projects within the deadlines set from the beginning. You may find yourself in a situation where unexpected circumstances influence your work on the project. When this happens, you need to communicate clearly with the client, take your share of responsibility and look for a way to serve both the project and your own interests. Communicate your availability and price for your work without fear – agreeing on these, in the beginning, is the winning formula in every business.
- Implement lifelong learning as a habit. The freelance market is highly competitive, and freelancers who have a diverse set of skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends are more likely to attract new clients and retain existing ones. New skills definitely help with having a better competitive edge. Developing new skills can open up new opportunities for freelancers to take on higher-paying projects and charge more for their services. Freelancers with a diverse set of skills can take on a wider range of projects, expanding their job opportunities and increasing their chances of finding long-term and repetitive clients. Freelancers who develop new skills can attract new types of clients and industries, which can lead to more business and increase their income. Skills development helps freelancers to grow their careers, and they can become an expert in their field and command higher rates for their services.
There are many more things to keep in mind as you embark on your freelancing journey and with time you will find that this exciting new road can unlock great potential for your professional and personal development. But if you manage to tame these essential five, you will find yourself well-prepared for being your own boss.
- Create a strong online presence,
- Stay organized and manage your time effectively,
- Take your professional network seriously,
- Establish clear boundaries and communicate effectively, and
- Take care of your finances.
- Implement lifelong learning as a habit.
With a little planning and preparation, you can set yourself up for success as a freelancer and enjoy the many rewards that this career path has to offer.
And while the first thing one thinks of when people say “freelancing” is “being alone”, it doesn’t need to be so! For all the above and even more, you can rely on a platform partner, freelance community, and professional networks. Some freelance portals provide a job board for gigs and connect you directly with the clients. Others, like GigsRemote, go even further helping you to present yourself in the right way to get the right project, but also providing a community that supports your professional growth.
Thinking of becoming a freelancer? Start your journey with GigsRemote here.