Today’s jobs aren’t what they used to be.
We hire talent for the value they bring to the team and not just for their credentials. We hire for a purpose, not a position. Full-time jobs are disappearing. Full-time employees are, after all, an expensive resource these days. We consciously stay away from making promises of job security, health benefits, and/or financial safety. We do not limit our choices to what’s accessible. And if all the many studies out there are anything to go by we are favoring, more and more, a transient work economy where talent thrives on alternate work arrangements and not just their full-time jobs.
The gig economy is booming because of all this and more. People and organizations have, to a large extent, compatibly established that to survive in today’s fast-paced, quickly-changing work economies, it’s best to hedge your chances of survival with an organizational structure that’s flexible, easy to mold and easier to prune, too.
Marketing is one of the areas where the gig economy thrives the most. Increasingly, both companies and marketers prefer and choose the gig economy for the fact that it opens — to the former — a world of creative talent and, for the latter, a world of creative projects. Go through any remote freelance job portal and you will find all sorts of listings for remote marketing jobs, but very few full-time marketing jobs. The job that was once held by the CMO is, now, likely to be divided among a brand consultant, a freelance digital marketing professional, a social media marketing moonlighter, and an outside PR firm.
It is likely that very soon we will find that there is a lot of demand for marketing work but not enough marketing jobs.
Knowing where to begin is the toughest part of this whole process. If you are looking to become a successful independent marketing contractor in today’s economy, a lot of groundwork must be laid by you. Taking advice from top industry professionals, here are our recommendations for everything that you must check off from your list before signing up a marketing gig today.
The first step is to make sure you have the skills the market will pay for. Do some groundwork on the kind of projects remote marketing professionals are in demand for. Test yourself for the skills requested and see if you fit the bill. If you see that you do not have enough marketable skills, consider doing some test projects on a pay-for-performance basis.
It’s simple economics- without demand the supply is of no use, need, or benefit.
A rich pool of professional connections is the first thing you need to get your hands on. Reach out to organizations and people who are in a position to support independent marketers like you. Reach out to other freelancers in your domain and see if they can help with recommendations or they’d be willing to outsource some of their work to you. In fact, look to your own social circle of family and friends to gain leads that will help drive business in your favor.
When you start freelancing, let everyone in your circle know.
Any agile talent, be it in marketing or any other domain, needs to know how much they are willing to get paid for the said work. Ask around in your network for the latest industry rates and see if it does right by you. Also, avoid deciding fee based on the amount you wish to get paid. And if you are only just starting out, be open to getting paid a little less than others. It’s more important for you to build your credibility and reliability in the market first.
It pays to hire a decent accountant to help set up a legit cash flow channel. Get expert advice on how to manage the cash flow, the expenses, and your taxes so that you have the energy and the time to focus on getting done the actual projects.
Also, down the line, ready all the business collaterals relevant to your profile — business cards, SOWs, and invoices. If unsure, ask around for the norms that are typically followed in your field of work and use that to build a solid paperwork to support your work.
Often, too much time is spent on working out how to get remote projects that when you actually do get started with one it’s difficult to figure out the hows. It helps, then, to plan for how best you can work out a collaborative schedule that best accommodates all the work that comes your way along with other project stakeholders.
We highly recommend onboarding a responsive and agile marketing project management tool to keep a track of all the projects you are working on. These tools are not only helpful for tracking the progress of your own work but also for collaborating with others working on the same project as you. For a remote marketing professional, a tool like this comes extremely handy for seamlessly collaborating with other team members and making sure you are not left out of the little project details that typically get decided at the client’s side.
Remember that it might take some time to get the work momentum going. You might experience periods of less work and times when you have too much on your plate. Prepare for both situations. It’s helpful if you approach all your projects as a way to build lasting connections, with clients and fellow professionals, that you can reliably fall back on when the tides turn.
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