If you’re still in two minds about becoming a freelancer, chances are it’s because you don’t know where to begin. What work can you do? Where do you look for such opportunities? How can you get started?
And the biggest question of all: “When do you make the decision?”
The questions that run through your mind will be daunting, to say the least. For many, the fear of leaving a fixed monthly salary behind is enough to cripple the idea of being an independent worker. It’s a fact that freelance work isn’t for everyone, but if you find yourself entertaining the thought ever so often, this starter guide aims to ask all the crucial questions in order for you to embrace freelance professions.
One of the first questions to ask yourself is: “What kind of freelance work am I looking for?” If that is hard to answer, then ask yourself what kind of unique strengths you currently possess that will translate into some form of work that you will be happy doing remotely. For example: Are you good at creative work, SEO, writing, programming, mentoring? Do you possess aptitude in communication, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, problem solving?
When I left the corporate world in 2018, I had a fuzzy vision of my next career. But I was sure about one thing: I wanted out of the corporate scene to finally be able to do something for myself. More importantly, I was crystal clear about my unique strengths which I can impart into one or two professions I will enjoy doing everyday. I just needed to find the opportunities to nurture and grow them further. Play into your own strengths to get confident (and clearer) about what you want. A job search that starts out with no clarity will end up without a destination. You may not yet know what you want to do, but be very clear and certain about your own strengths as this will open doors to multiple career opportunities.
Some further questions you can ask yourself:
This is especially crucial for freelance work newbies. It is unwise to assume that remote or freelance positions aren’t affected by company culture. Your personal values should align with your employers’ mission and core values, because when they do, you will be happier and more inspired in your work. Know what ticks your work happiness index, and seek out companies that provide the environment and culture that will keep you motivated.
Just like our circadian rhythms, we all have an ideal work schedule. Some of us function best in the morning hours, others perform better in the later part of the day. Some may not like work interruptions during the weekends; others may be indifferent, preferring to work certain days of the week perhaps due to family commitments. Determine your timetable and discuss with your employer the kind of work schedule that can accommodate both your lifestyle and the needs of your employer.
The real deal of being a freelancer is the amount of flexibility that you can choose to have. You may prefer to work a number of days a week, part time, full time or on a project-basis. Perhaps you like being part of a team where you can bring your unique expertise to bear in a remote-friendly work environment. Nonetheless, your new role will be very different from a traditional employee role which may offer more stability but with lesser flexibility.
Get the word out! Inform your friends, family and professional contacts about your plans after you’ve made a decision to switch from desk-bound to 100% remote. Talk to people, network, attend events, engage in conversations, join gig communities and brand yourself as a gig seeker with key strengths and skills that will resonate with potential remote employers. Get out there and let the world know what you have to offer.
Once you’ve made progress on the above, the next step is to seek out the sources of freelance work. Remote work is on the rise and on-demand gig positions are now available across a variety of industries.
I highly recommend that you first avail yourself to remote-friendly gig companies. You’re in luck if you’re reading this far, I happen to work for one right here!
💡 Tip of the day: If you’re a newbie freelancer, remote-friendly gig companies like Chanceupon help get you on the right track and up to speed in your journey and connect you to companies doing great work. At Chanceupon, you can find roles in healthcare, fintech, ecommerce, FMCG, edutech and more. It’s a place where open, honest feedback and communication are valued; where everyone helps one another to grow.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professional networking and these handy tips will help expose you to more freelance opportunities on LinkedIn. Polish up your LinkedIn profile by selecting a professional profile photo and add an attention-grabbing headline that sums up your abilities and experience. Craft a well-thought summary to highlight your personality and work experience. It doesn’t need to be lengthy, but do include relevant keywords that will help hiring managers (and hiring software) take notice and indicate that you’d be a perfect fit for the job. Next, enable ‘Open to’ on your Linkedin profile.
When you do so, you are sending a loud and clear message to recruiters that you’re open to work opportunities. On your profile page, simply turn on the ‘Open to’ tab, and indicate your preferred role/ job title and start date. Here, you decide if you’d like ‘On-site’, ‘Hybrid’ or ‘Remote’ workplaces and preferred job types. You can even choose who sees you’re ‘open’ so your connections won’t be able to know if you are actively searching for new remote-friendly roles or freelance work.
Job Alerts are alert emails from LinkedIn to notify you when a job posted meets your preferences. On your LinkedIn Jobs page, perform a job search in your preferred location. For example, I keyed in ‘freelance content writer’ in Singapore and set my filters to ‘contract’ and ‘remote and hybrid’. Now, all you need to do is to turn the Job Alert toggle on, and you will be automatically notified when similar jobs postings are available. Easy peasy.
You might already have some companies that you want to work with on a freelance basis. Simply follow them on Linkedin and search through their job listings that will match with your passions. You can also create a job alert to be notified of any upcoming jobs.
One of the easiest ways to search for a freelance role is to join a like-minded community. Search for trusted online communities that share and support freelance work. These groups include professionals who are advocates of remote work or have an interest in freelance roles. Expand your network, connect with them and communicate your interests to land yourself your next gig and launch your freelance career.
Need more help? Be sure to read my other article The Ultimate Checklist For The Newbie Freelancer. I’ve included tools and app recommendations from our gig community to help make your freelance journey a smoother ride.
Now, to answer the biggest question: “When do you make the decision?”
Well my friend, nothing happens until you do.
You may also be interested in this: Things about working as a remote gig worker that nobody tells you
It’s about rethinking traditional employment archetypes. Can we progress from an economy built on full time employment habitually enslaved by unemployment fears, to one where individuals have greater autonomy and are self motivated to do work that inspires them? And as a result, benefit the economy as a whole?
You can’t own full time employees. But you can build a winning team with talent management companies. As businesses demand more, external talents are emerging as the sure forerunners of an agile workforce. At Chance Upon, we partner businesses to get a head start over competition by creating collaborative work between companies and the right talents.