Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Get a Head Start as a Professional Freelancer

By now, you may have made up your mind whether freelancing is something that you'd do part-time or full-time. There may seem like a lot of things of which you'd need to take care of to get your career started. Let's break them down one step at a time.

Success as a freelancer requires skills in six areas -- marketing, communications, negotiating, legal, bookkeeping, and finances. You don't have to pressure yourself to master all areas at once. As a beginner, or "newbie," concentrate on "being visible" first, which means that you have to let people know about the kinds of services you offer.

Decide on a maximum of three competencies that you could use, either to get people to "outsource" jobs to you, or to help people meet their goals in business.

Arm yourself with the right materials so you can reach your target clientele. Most home computers have built-in publishing software, and if you want a cost-effective way of making yourself known, you can make your own brochures or flyers. Provide brief yet concise details about the nature of your work, and make sure that your contact information is accurate.

The next step would be to seek out clients. Ask yourself, "How can I get myself out there? Where can I find the kind of people who may need the services I'm offering?" 

If you want to write advertising copy for small-scale enterprises, make yourself familiar with the kinds of small businesses that are steadily generating profit, even if they're not competing with larger or better known enterprises. If you're interested in handicrafts, visit bazaars in your community, get to know the owners, and give them one of your flyers. 

If you're an artist seeking jobs in illustration or design, make sure that you have a portfolio handy. Potential clients demand that they see proof of your work before they consider giving you a project. 

If web content is your expertise, get in touch with people who may need the touch of a professional in order to drive more traffic into their websites.

Check back soon, because in my next few articles, I'll discuss several ways to talk and negotiate with clients should they find you fit for the freelance job.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Freelancing: A Career, or Just a Part-Time Job?

When some people hear about freelancing for the first time, the aspect that they consider most appealing is not having to work for a boss or employer.

And yet, the majority of aspiring freelancers quit soon after deciding to take the plunge. Usually, these individuals aren't lacking in skills, talents, or abilities. In my opinion, there's only one recurring reason for their failure:

Aspiring freelancers don't take enough time to set themselves up for success.

It's useless to try to soft pedal or sugarcoat the reality of life, especially now that we're in the twenty-first century. Bear in mind that you have to compete with salaried workers in a tight job market. You would need to learn how to negotiate effectively with potential clients.

Another attitude that I notice in most aspiring freelance workers is an apparent lack of discipline. Once you decide to work without a supervisor, you can set your own hours or create your own schedule. Since you don't have to be at the office before 8:00 a.m., it's easy to relax your guard, wake up late, and start your day late. This could mean reducing the hours you should spend working. 

And to be fooled into thinking that you have plenty of time throughout the week to perform your tasks is a surefire way for your career to end abruptly, because if you can't finish a project and fail to deliver it on the date that you and your client have agreed upon, you could earn a reputation for being unreliable.

The situations I mentioned above are just a few of the challenges you have to think about. Temptations are abundant in the life of a freelancer.  

So now is the best time to ask yourself: Do you see yourself fit for this career?

Of course, you don't have to get into full-time freelancing, especially if you have a family to raise and support and a sudden career change would mean difficulty in handling cash flow. And if you have a job, corporate or otherwise, you have the option to freelance part-time.

Keep coming back for more articles.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Freelancing -- The Perks and Privileges

If I were able to entice you with my introductory article about getting into freelancing, you may be left wondering if it would really be worth your while to be a freelancer in order to make money.

Now, I would be the first to say that every money-making venture, enterprise, or activity comes with certain risks. Although working on task-based projects and getting paid on a freelance basis doesn't carry a lot of risks, you also have every right to get access to information that is reliable and practical in order to set yourself up for freelancing success.  

Let me cite just a few of the fantastic perks and unique privileges that a competent freelance professional enjoys. Here they are:

  • A freelance worker who has nailed down his special skill or skills set can choose which projects to accept. If an offer doesn't sound appealing to him, he can simply decline politely, or, if he's included among a network of fellow freelancers, he can pass the job to another qualified worker who may be better able to accommodate the potential client's request.
  • If he is disciplined yet can remain flexible, a freelancer can pace himself and work around the hours that are most convenient for him.
  • A freelance worker who was able to master a highly specialized skill and can present himself to potential clients can command higher rates or fees. 
  • If he has set his rates and a potential client claims that he is "overcharging," or for any reason the client can not give a specific time frame for the completion of tasks, a freelance worker who knows how to negotiate his rates effectively will not come out on the losing end of the proposition.

So, was I able to whet your appetite even more? 

If you're still left unsure, I'll gradually introduce you to the mechanics of freelancing. Consider this a time to "test the waters," to know about what you're getting into.

Check back soon, and I'll talk about the life of the average freelance professional.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

To My Readers, Fellow Bloggers, and Aspiring Professional Freelance Workers...WELCOME!

Are you thinking of getting into something productive? Something that will allow you to put your talents and abilities to good use and make you earn lucratively?

Maybe you're an average employee who's working hard on a nine-to-five job, and you realized that instead of watching T.V. during weeknights and the weekends, you'd like to accept a few projects in order to augment your income from your monthly paycheck.

Or maybe you have a hobby that you may deem "odd," "quirky," or "unusual," and you're thinking about tapping into it but wondering about its potential to earn you some cash.

Still, you may think that after working for ten, fifteen, twenty or more years, you have nothing to offer but a set of skills that you deem is meant for "menial" tasks, and cannot do much to contribute to your earning capacity.

If you fit into any of the categories I mentioned above, I highly recommend that you start learning how to get into freelancing.

But first, allow me to lay down the ground about the basics of freelancing. The word freelance simply means not working for an employer, boss, or supervisor. A freelance worker is someone who taps into a skill or set of skills, hones them, and makes money by offering his services to the right kind of clientele. 

Let me just clarify that the word freelance should not be confused with the word amateur, or, even worse, unemployed, just because a freelancer is not in any company's payroll. 

There are a lot of perks and privileges that come with choosing to work as a professional freelancer. I'll discuss them in my next few articles.

(A Guide to Profitable Freelancing will be updated every Monday, Thursday, and Friday.)