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Entrepreneurial workers are turning to self-employment in such large numbers that half the working population in Britain and the US could be part of the independent workforce within the nest five years. With new technologies making it far easier than ever before to move into self-employment and increasing demand for flexible working from buyers of products and services, freelancing is growing more rapidly than ever before.
As a successful freelancer you are your own boss. But that also entails a lot of mundane tasks that require good judgment on how you go about doing things.
It doesn’t matter if a person started freelancing consciously in order to capitalize on their unique skills and networks, earn more money directly, and have more work-life flexibility or ended up as their own boss because they have left jobs and are trying to figure out what’s next, or they started doing a few projects on the side and realize the work is enough to be their main gig.
One of the biggest misconceptions about freelancing is that you sit at home and work comes to you, when in reality you have to fight for it. Therefore, we have collected some tips and pointers, which we hope you’ll be able to pick some value from, no matter where you’re at with your freelance career.
1. You are your own brand
Even though you might be a very experienced energy professional, not a social networker – with an already established network, as a freelancer you are your brand. If you are someone who does not see the potential of social media you are missing out. In the past, the best ways for freelancers to get their names in front of potential clients were non-digital, but social media is shaking things up.
2. Find alliances
It’s important to have a few fellow freelancers you can turn to for advice and support in your network. Sure, they may be “competition” but they are also a good source of information. Look for professional associations in your field and attend conferences in your areas of expertise.
3. Make yourself visible
Although the topic of social media was touched on before, we want to point out that it is important to be more than just present. Creating a “zombie-profile” somewhere, which is obviously not in use and lacks current information on you is not enough. Social Media is where many relationships are made these days. No matter where you live, using social media can connect freelancers to potential clients and partners all over the world.
4. Keep your finances and legal issues in order
Keeping your finances tidy may sound easy, and it can be – if you pay attention to them on a regular basis. No matter how small your business may be, you will encounter issues if billing and accounting are only focused on once or twice a year.
Make monthly budgets and create a calendar for when to send out invoices and pay bills.
While you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to help you, it’s good to have a place to go in case you’re in need of legal advice, especially when starting your freelance career.
Additional Do’s and Don’ts to Remember
- Get the word out there: Let your (professional as well as personal) contacts know what kind of services you are offering and what you are looking for
- Ensure your network includes fellow freelancers
- You might want to turn to an accountant who can help you set up your finances and make tax filing easier
- Base your rate solely on your expenses. Work out what the market has to offer and what would be close to your most recent full-time salary.
- Wait until after you have your first assignment to get contracts and invoices in order. Being prepared is part of being a professional.
- Get discouraged when it takes time to build up a continuous motion of business
We hope you were able to find some value in these tips, whichever industry you are active in! We encourage all freelancers active within the energy sector to create a free profile on portal.e-nable.eu. So you can already check number 1 and number 3 off your to-do list and ensure you’re being seen!