From showcasing your skills and experience to networking like a pro, we share expert advice for starting your freelance career strong
As businesses turn to hybrid working arrangements in the wake of Covid, remote work has become the norm for many, locking in benefits for people, profits and the planet. The number of freelancers has also rocketed, with many workers using the pandemic to pivot or pursue a new career path, so there’s arguably never been a better time to step out on your own.
Tempted to take the leap but not sure where to begin? Here, we share five expert tips for ensuring your freelance career gets off to a flying start.
1. Set yourself up for success
There are more freelance opportunities than ever right now as companies streamline their operations, bringing in skilled talent as and when it’s needed.
“Set up a website to show off your portfolio and work record. There’s no better pitch than past accomplishments,” says Julien Machot, Managing Partner at VERSO Capital. Creating your own site doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, but it’s an essential tool for showcasing your skills and experience. Take a look at options such as Wix and GoDaddy to help you get started.
As a freelancer, you’re solely responsible for finding your clients and building your own work base, so it makes no sense to be modest about your talents. Cringe-worthy as it might seem, selling yourself with confidence is crucial for success – so banish shyness and get ready to share your passion and achievements with pride.
2. Remember that every contact counts
A freelancer’s main currency is their social capital. A solid network of friends, former colleagues and like-minded industry folk is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal if you’re looking to work for yourself.
“The goal is to start your business with a group of people who really care about you and who are ready to support you along the way,” says Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union, in an article for the Harvard Business Review.
It’s also a smart move to seek out other freelancers who you can turn to for advice and support in your industry. “They may be the competition, but they’re also a great source of information,” says Horowitz.
3. Get to grips with networking
Whether it takes place online or face to face, networking is the lifeblood of any successful freelance career. “We’ve all got loads of people in our networks, and they might not be able to give you a job, but they may be able to open their address book and help you meet other people. It’s about being open for business completely,” says Alison Grade, author of The Freelance Bible.
Spaces locations organise regular events for members, including talks from local business leaders, networking lunches and other socials, all of which are designed to help you mingle with like-minded folk and strike up new connections.
Using a local coworking space, as opposed to your kitchen table or a local café counter, is also a great way to begin building your network as a freelancer. Being around other like-minded professionals will help to get your creative juices flowing and provide opportunities to get to know the people who regularly work alongside you.
4. Reap the benefits of a professional set-up
“Freelancing is a liberating and flexible way to work, but it’s not without its challenges,” says Chloé Jepps, Head of Research at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).
While most freelancers start out working from home, this can prove problematic when you begin to meet with clients. Working from a modern coworking space not only looks professional, but it also aids productivity, inspires creativity and allows you to really focus on the job in hand.
Spaces locations offer coworking space, private offices and meeting areas, as well as professionally manned reception desks.
5. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
While freelancers are drivers of their own success, it’s still vital to establish firm work-life boundaries. Without these, the freedom to work anywhere that freelancers enjoy can become a compulsion to work everywhere – and this is likely to have negative effects on your health and wellbeing.
“A good work-life balance has numerous positive effects, including less stress, a lower risk of burnout and a greater sense of wellbeing,” says Chris Chancey, career expert and CEO of Amplio Recruiting.
The easiest way for a freelancer to separate work from a personal life is to invest in it. Regular use of a coworking or flexible workspace offers many benefits, including a clear physical separation between the places where you work and play.
Offering coworking and flexible workspaces in more than 400 locations all over the world, find out how Spaces could help to elevate your freelance career