How to freelance your skills

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freelancing

Source: Entrepreneur.com

If you have got bored of just being on the regular job or looking to increase your income, you can consider freelancing your skills.

Ok, let me ask you other way round. Are dreams of freelancing dancing throughout your mind? If you’re agree, now’s a great time to try your hands on it. As companies scale back on their expensive, benefit-heavy workforce, they’re increasingly turning to outside(freelance) help. If you get a chance to showcase your expertise in the right areas, there’s a good scope for you into a freelance career.

Let Freedom Ring

There’s no question about it; freelance doesn’t start with the word “free” for nothing. Freedom is a very crucial component of freelancing. As a full-time freelancer, you’ll work when you want. You can take vacations when you want, for as long as you want. Weekend getaways won’t have to be confined to weekends, and business suits are mostly a thing of the past. There’s no boss breathing down your neck, nagging you. And there are no irritating co-workers slacking off at the water cooler, driving you nuts.

But in exchange for all those freedoms comes risk and insecurity. As a freelancer, your next paycheck is never guaranteed. Anxiety about where the next job is coming from plagues many freelancers, no matter how seasoned. But insecurity comes with the turf, and dedicated freelancers learn to make peace with it.

The best way to ensure your freelancing future is to offer a service you know people want. Just because you’d like to do something doesn’t mean that there’s a readymade market for it.

“‘Follow your heart and do what you love’ is just a slogan. You need to get real,” says Kelly James-Enger, author of Six Figure Freelancing .

If you’re not offering a service people are willing to spend money on, you’re not going to be in business [for long].

Search your local paper and the Internet to see who’s doing what you want to do, what they charge and who their clients are. Talk to everyone you know until you turn up freelancers doing what you hope to do. Then call them up and pick their brains about which segments of the market are growing and where most of their work comes from. This information is critical to helping you carve out a niche and fill a current opening in the market.

Think about this: Ten years ago, web designers made a pretty penny freelancing their services to corporations, but today the demand has lessened as all those laid-off dotcomers have created a glut in the market. On the other hand, small-business owners are more keen then ever to learn web design themselves, as are retiring baby boomers, so teaching web design may prove more lucrative than doing the actual design work right now.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job Immediately.

The biggest misconception people have is that they’re going to jump right into it and start making money – Not true.

Don’t leave your job until you’re confident you can pay your mortgage and healthcare and put money into a retirement account.

Of course, moonlighting while working for your current employer can be tricky-especially if you’re freelancing in the same field. Let’s say you’re an advertising copywriter who wants to start freelancing on the side. You’ll probably need to tell your employer, who may require you to sign a noncompete agreement in which you promise not to steal, or “borrow,” clients. If, on the other hand, you’re an advertising copywriter who wants to do freelance Japanese translations, your employer probably doesn’t even need to know what you’re doing after hours.

Generating Business

As in any business, your freelancing career is only as strong as the sales you make. Finding clients is the number-one challenge for any freelancer just starting out. How do you attract clients when you’ve never had any? Here are some practical steps that will propel you out of the conundrum and into business:

1. Develop a portfolio to demonstrate the scope of your skills.

If that means working for no pay or low pay initially, do it. Samples of your work will be your best calling card.

2. Tell everyone you know: colleagues, friends, family about your new freelance gig.

Referrals will make up the bulk of your business initially.

3. Join professional organizations–online or in the community–that serve your field.

In addition to all the other benefits you’ll gain, you’ll also pick up insider tips of where to find work.

4. Volunteer in the community doing something you love,

You’ll broaden your network of potential clients.

Another important point to remember is that freelancing doesn’t solely mean doing the thing you love. It also means knowing how to sell and market your services. When starting out, about 90 percent of your time will be spent on sales and marketing tasks.

mm

Admin

I am a passionate blogger as well as an IT analyst. I run my own software consultancy firm. Apart from it I am a regular contributor at quora.com and Yahoo Answers. My prime objective for creation of this website is to guide novice entrepreneurs as well as startups worldwide.
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2 Comments on "How to freelance your skills"

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There are some points to start your business… as you are on your own so you need to check each and everything yourself.

Putting each requirement in its defined box will reduce your work for at-least 30%….

A) Project Initiation Document
1) problem description
2) business unit(s)
3) affected business processes/enabling services
4) solution urgency
5) Project
6) project timeframe (start/end, phases)
project scope
known risks

B) Current State analysis
1) business function
2) business processes
3) findings (pain points/severity)
4) existing enabling business services
5) security requirements
6) sensitive data
7) technology lifecycle
8) architectural constraints

The list continues…. 🙂

mm
Guest

@Kunal, Thank you for your important inputs. Your points are certainly obvious and one should consider those as well

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