By Michelle Lim on Jul 17, 2019, 6:04:00 PM
Screaming bosses, unappreciative colleagues and endless traffic.
Not to mention going back ridiculously late but being underpaid, or not being paid to overwork at all…
But what if you can work...independently with none of the above? And set your own hours?
In that case, welcome to the world of freelancing.
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing is basically starting your own business and being self-employed. You can work for multiple employers without being tied down to them.
Being a freelancer gives you a lot of independence, autonomy and flexibility. You basically set your own work hours and schedule, which is a dream to many.
Freelancing isn’t without its difficulties, of course. Common questions that freelancers get include:
- How do you make money?
- How/Where do you find work or jobs?
- How do you figure out where to start?
- Are there any insurance or benefits?
But wait! Is freelancing for you?
Before jumping into making a decision, let’s take a couple of minutes to do a little self-analysis.
Why do you want to freelance?
Is it because you dislike mundane office work and boring routines? Do you just want a flexible schedule or are you looking to expand your horizons?
It’s really important that you understand why you want to freelance. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’ll be tough. It won’t be easy. Pursuing freelancing for the sake of just wanting a flexible schedule or something isn’t just enough. You gotta really put your mind to it and commit.
There are no right or wrong answers here. What matters the most is that you’re willing to work for it and do your best :)
Can you afford to freelance?
Freelancing takes time and effort. If you already have a full-time job and are planning to freelance on the side, then it isn’t much of an issue. Just take care yourself and manage your time well :)
But if you’re planning to freelance full-time, make sure you have enough money set aside while setting up your freelance business.
Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable?
With freelancing, you’re going to have to weather some things like not knowing when your next income is going to be. Sometimes it might be too much, and it might be awhile before your freelancing business stabilises.
What can you bring to the table?
What are you good at? Can you write articles that will help generate traffic and social engagements? Are you great at programming and don’t mind offering your service for coding projects?
Top 10 Fields In-Demand for Freelancers
- Computer & IT
- Project Management
- Software Development
- Accounting & Finance
- Customer Service
- Medical & Health
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelancing
- You’re the boss. Your schedule is your own to decide, and so are your rates and what jobs you choose to take on. Even if you want to work in pyjamas...
- Make more money. High risk, high reward. Your salary is pretty much whatever you want; it just depends on what you charge and how much you work.
- Work-life balance! Instead of rushing to the train and having to commute 24/7, you can just go anywhere like a cafe and do your work there instead. Maybe even at home in your pyjamas. You can basically work wherever you want and live where you want :)
- You’re the boss. You’ve to make all the decisions, the planning, the strategizing, the - well, you get what we mean. You’re basically the business.
- If you don’t work = No money. It’s great that you can do whatever you want like take a two-week vacation without notice, but that won’t give you money.
- The lack of stability. Freelancing isn’t particularly stable, especially when you’re just setting up.
If you’ve read all of this so far, congratulations :) Now that we’ve established a basic understanding of what being a freelancer is like, let’s talk about getting started.
Starting out as a Freelancer
Like all businesses, you gotta set up. Know what you’re doing, what you’re gonna do and how you’re gonna, well, sell yourself as a brand.
Building a brand
...is really important cause it establishes your authority as a freelancer. It also helps create and leave impressions on your clients. You should have a good logo (maybe get a graphic designer to help or hire one) and business name. Another option for your logo would be to do it yourself on design tools like Adobe Illustrator or Canva.
This usually means a website of your own and public social media accounts to display your logo, business name, portfolio, testimonials and everything.
Your website domain and social media handles should match. For example, if your website domain is Casual Business, your social media handles should be Casual Business.
Create a Portfolio
It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer or not. A portfolio is really important for showcasing your work in action. It helps potential clients to get an idea and understanding of your skill level and how you work.
Don’t include all your work in the portfolio though. It should showcase your best work and diversity in your skills. Some common ways that people use for their portfolio are Dropbox, Google Drive or links on your business’s website.
Getting a job
Trying to find a freelancing job when you’re just starting out can be difficult. Usually, people get their name out through word of mouth. But with social media, the difficulty has somewhat lessened. But still, it’s better to keep ears out for opportunities. You never know when you’ll find a client! :)
Some popular freelancing sites used:
How much are you going to charge?
Know how much you’re worth and set a payment rate. Ask other freelancers if you know any and do some research on the average freelancing rates for your field. Get an idea of the market rates.
Online freelance sites usually have the clients set budgets which makes it a lot easier, so that’s a great way to start.
Make sure you get paid
Before you start the job, make sure that you’ve already laid out your payment terms. Like if you’re charging by the hour, by the day or the entire project (lump sum). Also state when and how much you’re to be paid as well as how (e.g: bank transfer, cash, cheque). Have a standard agreement or contract done and signed by your client. It’ll save you from a lot of trouble.
Freelancing is a great way to help you save some money and pay the bills :)