I am sitting at my desk pondering what the water-cooler topics are today; the GFC, the US elections, the latest Angry Birds season? Freelancing is perceived as the ultimate in employment: working at home in your PJs and clocking in on your own schedule, yet the lonely reality of flying solo can be a stark contrast to the myths.
In my years writing from home for clients near and afar I have met (both on- and off-line) a wide range of amazingly interesting and talented people. With clients from Sydney to Singapore, Dhaka to Doha, we freelancers live in a truly global community however you need to be disciplined and committed to make it in the freelancing world. No one will do your work for you, you don’t get sick days and you certainly can’t blame anyone else for your mistakes!
If you’re thinking of entering the freelancing world, here are some tips for newbies to help you get started on your solo journey:
1. Define your skills. Unlike in a traditional localised network, potential employers don’t know you or your clients; they are guided solely by your portfolio, make the most of this tool to highlight your skills.
2. Seek feedback. Ask every employer and fellow freelancer with whom you interact to give you feedback. These personal testimonials are a highly-convincing tool for potential employers – make the most of them!
3. Don’t over reach. Be realistic: do you really have the skills you’re pitching or are you “enhancing” your résumé just a little too much? Just like the “real” world, nothing annoys a potential employer than freelancers who over-promise and under-deliver.
In my recent sojourn into the online freelancing world (I am sure you can guess which global site) I have found myself torn between taking on too much work and stressing when my bids aren’t picked up. Initially I was willing to work for ridiculously low rates, underselling myself just to get some work and prove (to myself) that I was good enough to play on the global stage.
Unfortunately this proved a foolish manoeuvre as, with everything else on my plate, I was wasting my time working for peanuts. This period of time has forced me to assess my work and my worth and happily I’ve found a few regular, low-maintenance clients who pay me reasonably well.
After all, I’m not worth peanuts. I’m worth pecans at least!