How to become a Freelancer – 8 Steps to a New Career

April, 08, 2013 by Linda Singer author workhoppers

become a freelancerHave you been thinking about what you need to do to become a freelancer? Wondering what it could be like to have your very own business? Looking for a little independence? Well you are not alone.  There are 42 million freelancers in the U.S. today and those numbers are continuing to grow. More and more people today are seeking work/life balance. No longer content working 9-5 in a small cubicle. Trends indicate that working on a project by project basis is the new way to work. Companies benefit too by staying competitive keeping their core competencies and hiring freelancers for other skills on as needed basis.  In fact, research has shown that 50% of all newly created jobs will be done by this contingent workforce. Have you thought about how to become a freelancer?

If you are considering what it would be like to become a freelancer. Start with these 8 Steps:

Identify marketable skills

If you are currently working, do not quit your job. Start planning now. Think about what you are good at and what your skills are. Are you a designer, a programmer, a great organizer, project manager, researcher or event planner? Match your skills with what is currently in demand. Finding your specific specialty is one of the most important parts of starting your freelance business.

Create a company

Once you decide on the skills you will sell, come up with a name for your business and website and get it registered. In Canada you need to do this at the CIPO, in the U.S. it is the USPTO. Will you be using your own name?

Get the basic tools

You will need to think about the necessary tools you need to conduct business. Some basic tools would be:

Computer: Even if your business does not require you to have a computer. Perhaps, you will freelance at companies on-site and use theirs. You may need one of your own to correspond with clients and keep client records.

Printer: Is an important tool to produce communications and records.

Telephone: It is always best to have your own phone line that differs from your personal or family number. This is an added expense. There are some cost effective ways to do this and internet companies that offer these services like grasshopper.com. At Grasshopper, a very popular one,  prices start at just 12$ per month.

Internet: This is an indispensable tool to help you find new clients. Set up an email account so that you can communicate with your clients. It is great to keep the history of all your communications with clients as a record. You can send your work through email too.

Basic marketing material

Now that you have decided on a business name and phone number, consider making some business cards. This can be done at your local printing shop or there are also some economical choices on line such as Vista print. Just don’t forget that the best way is to create your digital identity. Here are are 6 Steps to Getting your Career Profile noticed.

Get your Resume ready

Update your CV. Prospective clients will want to see what kind of work you have done in the past and may want to get some references. There are plenty of options out there to make sure you have a professional look. Check out Topresume where you can get a free review.

Here is a GUIDE that can help you twist your resume for freelancing.

Put a price

Create a plan. Think about what and how you will charge. You might want to give a fix price for the project. Make sure that you calculate how many hours you believe the project should take and multiply this by your hourly rate. You may end up taking longer on your first projects to finish but this is part of your learning curve. Speak to an accountant and understand how and if you need to charge taxes.

Here are some BEST PRACTICES TO NEGOTIATE YOUR FREELANCE RATE.

Market your skills

Now go out and advertise your services. Be careful when doing work for someone in another city. You want to make sure you get paid. Visit workhoppers where you can post your skills and availability. Their matching technology will find you companies in your area that are looking for someone just like you. When you go and meet with these potential customers, come prepared, dress professionally. Always be safe as you would with any other job interview.

Ask for feedback

Do a great job and once completed ask to be rated on the workhoppers site. Having a good rating will lead to other projects.

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