What could be better than a career as a freelancer? Choosing you own hours, not having a boss to answer to and taking all the credit for your own hard work. Brilliant! Freelancing can be the perfect solution for anyone who is feeling stifled by a 9 to 5 job.
That’s the good stuff. However, setting up as a freelancer is hard work and you need to make sure that you can make the varied and challenging career path work for you. Ahead of National Freelancers Day on Wednesday 19th November, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 questions you need to ask yourself before heading into life as an independent professional.
1. Do you have self-discipline?
If being your own boss is an advantage to freelancing, then having supreme self-discipline is a skill that you need to carefully hone. Since you are responsible for setting your own hours it can be tempting to get up late and therefore work late into the night. This may sound great but it can tire you out and actually lead to longer working hours on balance. Set yourself reasonable office hours and stick to them. It’ll save you some serious time and effort!
2. Can you network?
It takes serious energy to generate a stream of steady work for yourself as a freelancer. One of the most important steps is to build a reputation as a provider of quality services. Word of mouth is worth its weight in gold for a freelancer. Keeping in touch with contacts, and attending events to meet new ones, is a key way to stay on the radar of influential people.
3. Are you flexible in your approach to work?
You may be approached by an important client who has a job that needs to be completed to a strict deadline. Are you confident that you can reprioritise your workload to meet client demands? You have to have a reactive and flexible approach to completing your work to keep your clients happy and to build your reputation.
4. Are you assertive?
You need to build your business and that means duking it out against the competition for top jobs and being able to sell yourself. What’s more, with no fixed salary, you need to be able to negotiate a fair rate for yourself and call payments in when due. You can’t be shy when conducting your own business.
5. Can you handle alone time?
If you’re working from a home office then the change in tone and pace from a busy office environment can be something that takes some getting used to. Even if you’re an engineer who has to relocate for different jobs, being away from your friends and family can mean that your own company is something you will have to get used to and learn to like.
If you can answer ‘yes’ to these five questions then you may well have what it takes to be a successful contractor. Life after 9 to 5 is a varied one, but with a strong work ethic and passion for what you do, there’s no doubt that you can make freelancing work for you.
Are you an experienced freelancer? What changes have you had to make in order to make your business work? Tell us in the comments below!
Wednesday 19th November is the sixth annual National Freelancers Day; a day designed to put freelancing at the forefront of the political agenda and to show how the power of independent professionals can be unlocked to help drive the UK’s economy.
To celebrate a day in spotlight Kingsbridge are running a special competition on Twitter to show some love to freelancers across the UK.
Entering is easy. All you have to do is Tweet us directly at @KingsbridgeProf and finish this sentence, ‘I love freelancing because…’ using the hashtag #NFD2014.
From the best answers we’ll pick five runners up, who’ll each win £20 in Amazon vouchers, and the winner will be the proud recipient of a brand new iPad mini 2.
Winners will be announced on Twitter on Friday 21st November. So, get thinking, get creative and send us your best efforts to be in with a chance of winning!