Freelancing has its thrills. It’s a chance to break away from the typical corporate way of life, to work on projects that speak to your unique skills and talent, and all this with a lot of flexibility and work-life balance, too. Many professionals, today, are open to taking up freelance projects when they move out of full-time jobs and are looking to explore their options. Some just like the idea of making a few extra bucks as a remote project resource. And many times, it just so happens that those who start out with just a few projects end up realizing that the amount of work this way is enough to make freelancing and contractual projects a decent full-time thing.
But whether it’s you who has chosen the life of a remote project contributor or a freelancer, or that it’s chosen you, the only way to become successful as a resource-for-hire is to know what you are up against.
It’s a recognized fact that freelancers are a serious economic force in the global market. Nearly 1/3rd of all workforce in all top economies of the world comprises of freelancers. Ask around and you will know just how many adult millennials are choosing to work as independent contractors and moonlighters these days.
And the thing is in today’s hyperconnected world, getting white-collar talent on board is easier than ever. In fact, it’s easier and more cost-effective to get a well-known someone to take up a project with you than to hire them full time. And because there is such a rich and deep pool of global talent at the world’s disposal, every forward-looking company today can get fantastic work done by an ’n’ number of project-relevant contractors.
To be successful in this competitive scene, freelancers really need to up their game if they want to be successful. It’s no longer sufficient to be listed on all the known places. One must really push through the crowd, and innovatively so, to land a good project.
One of the easiest ways to get the word out that you are available for freelance work is to tell your friends about it. Make it a point to let the ones who are especially well-connected know that you are open to taking up some work, on the side or as a regular thing, in a said field of work.
Beyond this, look for professional connections in your field, say, on LinkedIn. Sign yourself up for relevant professional conferences and meet-ups. And even if you are the kind that gets nervous about meeting new people, invest in building all sorts of virtual connections.
Tip: Tap every lead with a well-written, not-so-generic-sounding introductory email. Clearly spell out what you do, how you do it, your coordinates, and that more can be discussed via a short call. Classic lead-gen technique!
We loved this post by Fast Company where they wrote about a couple of creative ways by which people landed their dream freelancing gig. Some put up signs on their laptops, some even found a couple of great professional connections via Tinder. Safe to say that being obviously ‘out there’ does pay off in unique and unexpected ways.
Over and above these recommendations, we also suggest equipping yourself with appropriate collaterals — business cards, resumes, letter heads and envelopes, etc. These may be conventional styles of spreading the word, but even in today’s digital heavy world, physical things remain longer and stand out more clearly than others.
Gone are the days when writing to the HR would help in getting a job. If you want a company to know you are available for certain work, reach out to the appropriate teams and team heads. In smaller organizations, it’s even easier to connect with the C-suite a lot of the times. Just be sure to reach out to them with a clear agenda. It’s helpful when you can state up front how you can help better their situation and that a quick chat about it is all you need to get the ideas rolling.
This is one of the easiest ways to land a next gig. But the probability of it depends on how well you’ve worked with the referring organization.
Safe to say that if you’ve had a healthy and giving relationship with one, it’s very likely that they’ll be open to helping you connect you to their contacts. When you are good at what you do, reliable, and you charge a fair rate, people do not mind putting in a good word for you.
Tip: Make it rewarding for your current client to refer you. Like any typical brand referral program, offer work rewards for helping you connect to new clients and organizations. This way you also gracefully formalize the trade-offs that typically come with asking for referrals informally.
There are so many specialized freelance-friendly portals that it’s become imperative to keep a tab on the pulse of it all. A quick google search will give you laundry list of options of all the portals that are thriving in your field of work. Sign up across all of them and keep updating your profile so that you show up more often and as an active member.
Apart from these field-specific portals, invest in creating some dedicated digital assets. If you have the resources for it, consider putting together a website that features your work and coordinates, get listed on relevant social channels, and push for being a definitive voice in your space.
Tip: When listing yourself across portals, be wise about mentioning your hiring fee. Get a sense of the averages by looking at the competition active in a said domain and take a call accordingly.
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