Leaving a full time job, with employee benefits and a monthly pay-check, to become a freelancer can be a very scary concept. However, in 2018, it could be a very exciting and rewarding journey if you play your cards well.
You don’t have to make your transition very obvious. It’s a learning and progressive process. There would be mistakes, hiccups and even dead ends along the way. But if you are well prepared for the unforeseen, those stumbles and missteps will only make you a better and steadier driver.
We see the biggest challenge for a freelancer is the ‘initiation’ process. You may have the skills and may be open for business; but what next? To answer all your ‘what next’, we have 13 tips that will help your shift from full time to freelance, easier.
1. Start Your Freelance Career from Your Past Employer
This is a great way to quickly start your career. You can ask your ex- employer to contract you work; they will definitely appreciate your willingness and help you out. It will also save their effort from the hassle of replacing you with a full timer. It can be cost beneficial for both of you.
2. Ask Your Ex Colleagues and Employers to Promote You
You can always ask for endorsements from your ex-company if you are leaving your job on good terms. As a freelancer you will have to heavily rely on references, recommendations and word of mouth publicity. So, why not give it a shot?
3. Prepare to Switch Careers at the Right Time
Make sure you research on your market before you decide to leap. You have to see if there are any big project requirements and will there be continuity in demands for your skills first.
You have to have enough funds to meet potential downfalls and emergencies. You can go freelance any time but it’s more effective if you time the switch carefully.
4. Find Yourself a Good Financial Advisor
Regardless of your income or freelance business structure, you will be entering into a realm of TDS, expenses, returns and other accounting stuffs. A good accountant can help you plan the finances, what you need, the tax laws and how you need to file taxes. They will also save you from many foul plays. Maximising tax deductions is an important element of a freelance business.
5. Brand Yourself with a Domain Name
As a freelancer, your name would be your company profile and you will be developing your own brand around it. If you want people to associate your work with your name, register your name as a domain.
Even if you don’t upload anything on the site, use it for a social media presence and redirect it to your thriving account or social media profiles, whenever possible.
6. Start Writing Blogs
You should definitely start blogging. It’s the most opportune way to attract people and create a brand around your name. Blogging helps you to demonstrate authority and expertise in your area of work.
You need to be out there and connect with others in the industry and find potential clients. Blogging will let clients determine your skill depth and talent quotient.
7. Don’t Incorporate a Company Immediately, Learn the Business first
There’s no need to heavily invest on capital. You might never have to incorporate a company as a freelancer. You have to first understand the various nuances and structures of business you are currently in and how each differs in the market.
8. Ascertain Your Market Value Before you Quote a Price
It’s always worthwhile to find out what everyone else is charging for the services similar to yours. Even if you have already decided on what to charge your customers, probably hourly basis or per project wise, you should put efforts to find your current market value.
The best sources for such information are colleagues, online forums and friends.
9. Start from Your Home
Your work place – the environment and the locality will definitely attribute to your success. However, you don’t have to spend extravagantly on your office set-up; in fact your home should be your first office as a freelancer.
Setup a comfortable and chaos free place from where you can work on a daily basis. Comfort is the key. Take some time and ensure your home office is ventilated, well-lit and has all the necessary equipment and supplies easily accessible.
10. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
One of the biggest pitfalls of freelancers is that they get too cosy and relaxed in their own world and spend too much time on their own. When clients are remote, isolation gets worse.
Sometime isolation can be difficult and stressful, especially when you had an over-active work environment in the past. Make an effort to engage with people, even friends and ex-colleagues for that matter, network with other freelancers, clients and vendors to stay positive and prominent.
11. Collect Helpful Tools and Applications for Your Work
Since we are in 2018, you should know there is no shortage of advanced and helpful productivity tools for freelancers. Make sure you have accessed two to three supportive tools that make your project management easier and simpler. These tools should help you stay organised and not keep you occupied with their complicated features.
12. Hone Your Sales and Marketing Skills
Sales and marketing is probably the biggest and daunting challenge a freelancer faces in his career span. And it’s a continuous process.
Most of you might not have done any marketing in your previous job; however, now you will by default market your skills and services on various platforms, to various people. So, putting your acts together and plunging yourself in the sales and marketing zone should be your prime motive.
13. Network with Everyone and Tell about Your New Career Line
When you start something new, it’s a good idea to tell people around you. Full time to freelancing is a big shift and you should stand tall, use a mega phone and tell the world.
Your goal should be letting as many people as you can know that you have made the change and looking for work. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are good medium to spread word at lightyear speed.