Everyone I know wants to work for themselves. And who wouldn't? We make great bosses of ourselves, after all. We know how we work best, where we find our inspiration, and how to get the most out of ourselves. So why isn't everyone at it?
Making the move to freelancing is terrifying, but whether you're a seasoned executive or fresh talent, everyone has the ability to make themselves work for... Well... Themselves! But before you jump in, consider these most frequently asked questions about freelancing.
How Do I Start?
Quit your job. Do it immediately. I call it getting "the fear". If you haven't driven yourself to work solo so far then you need something pushing you to do it, and there's nothing like cold, sickening fear of those bills and responsibilities to get you going. I know a guy who quit his job one day and flounced out of the office, only to have a panic attack on the tube when he realised what he'd done. But once he was home, that cold creeping realisation that things needed sorting was upon him. He knew exactly what he needed to do... Unwittingly, the hard part was over. My only advice... Jump in. Like cold water... It's actually very refreshing once you've taken the plunge.
Where Will I Find Work?
In this modern landscape of multiple platforms for freelancers, it's actually impossible in my opinion not to find work. To begin - Set up, quickly, on social media and find a space to place your portfolio if the time to set up a website is not at your disposal. On PeoplePerHour, the portfolio space of my freelancers is their strongest selling tool. It's their CV, their work samples and recommendations all in one place, and the layout is easy for your fresh clients to take in. You could have all this set up within five minutes, then it's time to find work. You can either simply post your skills and let the work come to you, or go and pitch for it. Once your portfolio is set up, you can begin to bid on jobs that have been posted in real time, and within seconds you'll have narrowed down as many as ten projects that have gone live in the last hour for you to contribute to. It's like the eBay of professional freelancing... Fastest finger first and strongest pitches place. And with your portfolio open, you can be sending the link out to your network in an email. Easy.
How Do I Build My Portfolio?
A quick glance at your competitors is enough to send anyone running to the bar. They all look so polished, don't they? So far ahead of you? But remember, the freelancing market has flourished tenfold in the last five years so a lot of them will only be a few steps ahead. The best advice is the "Fake It Till You Make It" concept... Make the most of what you've already got. You'll be used to your traditional CV layout - How many years here and there etc, your resume essentially a storyline of your professional journey so far. The trick is to look at it differently. Break up your CV into a more linear outlay of skills. Break up your roles into what your main responsibilities were and add them with the same skills used previously, combining them into timeframes of experience as opposed to listing what you did separately in each and every job. For Example, instead of "3 years Head of Marketing", 2 years "Assistant Marketing Director", 5 years "Marketing co-ordinator" you have "10 Years Marketing Strategy and Conceptual Design". This is how to translate a CV in to a Portfolio.
How much Should I Charge?
This is a tough one. In a lot of industries, the fees that freelancers charge wildly differ and can be based on a formula of "skills + time = hourly fee" all the way through to "Because I said so" and this makes your pricing complicated. Don't undervalue yourself or you'll look like a rookie (you wouldn't buy a £50 car without raising some serious doubts, would you?) but don't price yourself out of the market, either. The best way to do it is take your hourly rate for your last role as a benchmark, then find three professionals doing what you're already doing and find out what they're charging. The middle ground of these figures is probably a good starting point, then get ready to negotiate.
Learn from each other. But in the meantime, get the fear, jump in and start flourishing in freelance.