With the coronavirus lockdown hitting many workers the freelance market has surged as more people look to supplement their income. In such a competitive market every skill point counts, so it’s important to brush up if needed.
We share what new freelancers can do to get ahead, and essential skills which will help.
Financial management is essential for freelancers
We say this a lot, but that’s because it’s true. Managing finances is a crucial part of any business’ success, big or small. If you are a freelancer working solo, it’s all up to you. There’s no accounting department or an experienced manager to fall back on.
Part of managing the finances means setting rates for yourself and getting into the habit of negotiating prices with clients when needed. Take a look at what the industry charges, and price yourself with your experience in mind.
This is the point where we like to preach the absolute golden rule of setting your fees. YOU ARE WORTH IT. Do not undercut yourself! And remember, a task might only take you ten minutes, but if it that’s because you have fifteen years of experience doing it, factor that in to your pricing.
Marketing and self-promotion is key for new businesses
Marketing yourself as a freelancer is unavoidable, though most of us find putting ourselves out there a bit awkward to get used to. Practise does make it easier and it will really help you get more work and experience.
You may also want to look into digital marketing with an agency or for online courses to get started. This might include SEO, blogging, video marketing, social media or even setting up podcasts.
Networking everywhere and making opportunities
Often it’s not just what you know, but who you know. Even just letting the people around you know that you’re open for business can be daunting, but it can be a good ‘in’ to new opportunities.
It’s also worth heading over to the likes of LinkedIn or Facebook to network with people in your industry. Also have a look for business fairs, networking groups, social groups… anywhere you can get talking and possibly make a connection.
In the early days of freelancing you may not have the budget to splash out on a website designer. For some freelancers though, having somewhere to host your portfolio is essential.
That means you may need to put together a website of your own in the beginning. The good news is this is a lot easier than it sounds, even if you have no experience. There are several website builders and templates that can make the whole thing a bit easier.
Popular choices include WordPress, Squarespace and Weebly. These options all come with plenty of support and tutorials online to help you learn more. If you’re unsure about designing a website, it’s best to keep it as simple and clutter-free as possible, so users can get at the content they want quickly.