Written by Vidhya Padmanabhan
Graphic Design by Gabby Kraus
Packaging Yourself for Freelance in the Rising Market
Did you know the freelance workforce is expected to rise to 43% by 2020? That’s right! Almost half of America will be engaged in some kind of consulting or freelance services. That’s why this is the perfect time to start thinking about packaging yourself for freelance! With the gig economy on the rise, setting up an online business is now a breeze. As a result, more and more professionals are entering the freelance market each year. Taking a leap of faith into the freelance market isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. With the right attitude and through hard work, it can be as simple as Ready, Set, Go!
You may not be ready to quit your full-time job tomorrow and join the freelance bandwagon right away. You could love your long commute to work. Maybe you need that coffee break at 11:00 to gossip about co-workers. Or you simply need the structure and accountability that only a formal workspace can provide. If so, then freelance may not be the right choice for you. However, here are some reasons why you might want to consider packaging yourself for freelance before you make a choice.
You guessed that one! The first and foremost reason why people transition to freelance from full-time jobs is for the flexibility. If you are free spirited and would rather work with your toddler playing by your feet than being confined to a cubicle, you might want to think about packaging yourself for freelance.
You set your working hours. You can wake up at 5 am and wrap up by 1 pm which means you have the rest of the day to run errands, buy groceries or cheer your kid at her first soccer match!
Packaging yourself for freelance can enable you to fill your work wardrobe with PJs!! You can finally spare yourself from the decision fatigue of deciding what to wear to work. Laundered and ironed work clothes can be a thing of the past.
You decide your worth. No more checking in with your boss for promotions. If you provide more in value than your wage, your clients will be happy to pay more!
This is a big one! You decide when you want to take a vacation and if you want to work on holidays. No more calling in sick. Your calendar and schedule can be planned around your priorities in life.
Do you want to give freelancing a shot? If you’re considering packaging yourself for freelance, then let’s get started!
Getting ready for freelance is a crucial step. Before you take a leap of faith, you have to be clear about your purpose. Think about what services you want to offer and the motivation behind them.
Without a physical workspace, a dedicated timeline, or an external accountability factor, the road to freelance can get murky. That’s why you should be clear on your whys as they help you stay motivated in your freelance journey. Do you want to help people market their business? Do you care deeply about helping your clients build a website? Your whys are the problems you intend to solve.
It’s also important to identify your target clients and what services would be most valuable to them. Understand what services can help solve your targeted clients’ problems. Then, combine those services with your personal interests to figure out which area you would like to specialize in.
When packaging yourself for freelance, the first step is to think of all the work you have done. Then, compile your best work for your clients to see. Whether you’re a beginner or have years of experience, setting up a website or a portfolio to showcase your work are your stepping stones into the freelance world.
Define your business goals and put them down on paper. Be specific about your role and what your services will include. If you’re offering writing services, will marketing be a part of your service? Will you be writing for blogs, social media or both? Being clear on such things will make your work a seamless process for your clients.
Packaging yourself for freelance means, you have to decide the prices for your services. Eventually, you’ll put everything on your website. Make sure your website has a bio as an introduction to who you are. Your bio is a great place to talk about your values and how your services can help solve your client’s problems. Equally important, you can talk briefly about your past accomplishments. Remember to upload your resume, a link to your LinkedIn profile, and a contacts page so prospective clients can easily find and communicate with you.
Other things you should take care of are designing your website logo and building your brand. If you’re someone who’s all fired up and want to start right away, then here are some great places to build a website and design a logo.
Now that you’ve done the foundational work of packaging yourself for freelance, it’s time to reach out and build your presence. Initially, you’ll have to reach out to prospective clients. Then, in time (through your excellent work), they will reach out to you!
One way to find clients is to join related forums and drop in a line or two telling people how your services can help their business. You can also start a blog related to your freelance services and write about industry updates or tidbits that interest your clients.
Another inevitable step is to build a social media presence. Whatever area you offer freelance services in, marketing yourself in social media is something you have to do (until you can employ someone to do it for you!) Setting up business pages on LinkedIn and Facebook is pretty straightforward. Connect with your audience, engage in meaningful conversation, and take the time to answer questions.
To Be or Not To Be
Though a lot of companies are roping in freelancers rather than full-time employees, packaging yourself for freelance may not be the right choice for everyone. For instance, say you want to offer products and not services. If you are going to sell murals or designer clutches, you should set up an online store, not a freelance service.
People who feel awkward sending out a sales pitch or who need a team to feel connected may not find freelancing worthwhile. If you like the security that a full-time job provides and feel unproductive working from a non-conventional environment, then packaging yourself for freelance may not be a smart choice for you.
That said, you can always give freelancing a try and then decide whether you’re cut out for the freelance market. If you want to know how to go from a job to a gig in five easy steps, then click here and get started on your journey!