Transitioning from traditional employment to a freelance job may seem like a 180-degree switch from what you are accustomed to. However, the foreseeable adjustments must not deter you from making the switch. The expected 14% growth of freelancing shows that it can offer a viable and stable career or profession.
How to Start?
The biggest challenge for transitioning from office work to freelancing is how to start. Your first steps can make or break your goals, so avoid making freelancer mistakes. Preparation is vital before making the transition to avoid getting overwhelmed. Do your research and reach out to successful freelancers to have a good idea about the freelancing world before you enter.
Ready to test the waters in freelancing? Here are some critical actionable items to help you get started.
Identify your skills
To have a successful freelance job, you must have a clear idea of the types of services you will offer. To do this, you must first identify your key skills. Is it writing? Photography? Accounting skills? Writing them down will help you visualize the services that you can offer based on your skillset.
Additionally, ensure that these are reflected on your career change resume. Although a resume is not always necessary when applying for freelance jobs, you want to be ready for that client who will request one.
Although freelancing can be different from traditional employment in many aspects, there is one common element between the two. You will need to establish your credibility and expertise. One of the best ways to do this is through an impressive resume.
Take advantage of your network.
Networking is one of the most important things you can do when switching to freelancing. Connecting with others can help provide you leverage as a professional. If you do not know other freelancers, start with your immediate network. Begin with family, friends, and even former colleagues, then slowly expand from them.
Networking is the best way to build a credible presence, connect with potential clients, and gain industry knowledge.
Estimate the cost of your freelance service.
Once you have decided what services to offer, you need to determine your freelance rates. Aside from the labor and your cost of living, consider overhead expenses like internet, supplies, and accounting fees. Moreover, consider the value of the service that you are providing your clients.
Determine the difference between hourly and per-project charging.
In addition to determining your freelance rates, you need to decide whether you will charge per hour or project. With an hourly rate, you are paid for the time you spend on the job. On the other hand, per project charging is results-based instead of the time invested. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so invest some time researching each before making your decision.
Be open to price negotiation.
One fact in the freelancing world is that price negotiations are very common. So, don't be closed to the idea. After all, not all client requirements will be the same. Every client you meet has different needs, and being flexible on your rates will help you meet them at a desirable point. Rate flexibility also helps you stay competitive in the freelancing job market.
Determine the difference between short- and long-term contracts
In freelancing, you can either accept short or long-term contracts. With a short-term contract, your client may request your services for a specific project or a campaign. Duration is dependent on the client's requirement and the complexity of the project.
On the other hand, a long-term freelancing contract can run for months as you deliver the same service to a client.
Build a precise freelance contract agreement.
One thing that you must avoid as a freelancer is working without a contract. A specific freelance contract agreement keeps you away from vulnerable situations, financially or legally. A detailed contract presents everything in black and white regarding your and your client's responsibilities. Keep in mind that this serves as a protection for both client and freelancer.
Make a standard freelance invoice template.
As a freelancer, one of your responsibilities to yourself and your clients is to create invoices for payment. This keeps expense requests and status of payments documented for your protection. Aside from tracking your services, a freelance invoice helps you receive funds on time.
Creating a standard freelance invoice template is easy. You just need to make sure it contains an invoice number, your information, your client's business data, and services rendered. It must also include the invoice date, the amount owed, and the due date.
Clarify your freelance working schedule.
Lastly, establish a healthy work-life balance while freelancing. One common error among freelancers is not creating a work schedule. Since most freelancers work from home, the lines between work hours and personal hours can get blurry.
To avoid this, be clear about your business hours or expected timeline so your clients are aware. Most importantly, this helps you set a clear and healthy boundary between work and family/personal time.
The switch to freelancing sounds challenging at first, but it can be a liberating and fulfilling career switch with the right tools and preparation.