The freelance guide: What should you know?
Freelance market is expanding every year as more and more people are starting to use the internet as a way of marketing themselves and hiring people. In fact, between the years of 2014 and 2018, 3.7 million more people started freelancing in America, according to a study done by Fast Company. That is because the technological advancements allowed people to work from home with flexible schedules. This also allows employers to hire qualified people easily without the formalities of traditional employees, sometimes at a lower cost. But there are things a freelancer and an employer need to know before jumping into this huge market. This is why we are here to talk about the most important points you need to know about the freelance market.
What Freelancers Should Know About Freelancing?
Create a good profile
This goes without saying, but a good profile is the face of a freelancer’s business. If you are using a specific freelancing platform like Upwork, make sure to do everything you can to get ahead. Like Using a professional and friendly image and writing your background in detail. This will let your clients know what you have to offer and create a portfolio from your past accomplishments. Use relevant keywords in your profile and specify your niche if you are going to work in a broad topic like writing.
Create a LinkedIn profile then point it to your personal domain and a personal website that showcases your samples. Consider writing blogs about what you do. These steps are even more important when you are starting out since your clients will decide whether to hire you or not depending on the care you took while creating your online profile.
Tip: You can use GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing to build a personal website in under an hour using the Website Builder tool.
Get used to rejection
Constantly looking for work and getting rejected is a big part of the freelance game. When starting out, the time it takes to land that first job can go up to 1 month or more. You must be patient and stick with it – you will eventually take that first job. As you do more and more good work, your chances of finding a better one next time increases.
Set a reasonable rate
When you are starting out, it may seem like a good idea to set a low hourly rate to attract clients. Some even accept to work for feedback only. But you must know that your price reflects your capability.
While setting an extremely high rate isn’t optional, setting it too low can give the impression that your work is low quality. Look at other freelancers’ rates that are doing a similar job and find that sweet spot. Many clients are willing to pay more for higher quality work. So, take advantage of that and raise your hourly rate – if you are actually going to provide high quality work, that is.
While having the freedom of flexible work schedules and being able to work anywhere is great, that comes with a cost. Working freelance is much more instable than your regular 9 to 5 job. Being your own boss is not that easy. You are expected to handle your taxes, accounting, billing, licensing, and contracts on your own, things can pile up.
If you are going work on freelancing full-time, do not be afraid to get multiple clients at once. Look for other jobs while working for another as it can take longer than a couple days before your clients reply to you.
Join a community
The instability of freelancing and the lack of any kind of insurance or retirement plan led to people forming freelancer unions. Consider joining communities like Freelancers Union and National Association for the Self-Employed as they can give you access to affordable health care and a retirement plan. Also, consider joining a Facebook group about your niche. Freelancing can be a lonely road, and you can learn from others’ mistakes and find motivation while communicating with your colleagues.
What Employers Should Know About Freelance
Decide on what you need
It is important to clearly specify what you need from a freelancer. If you are unfamiliar with the area you need manpower in, do a detailed research about it. Qualified freelancers often work in specific niches. So, determining what you need and posting a clear job advert for each rather than encumbering one freelancer with multiple missions will be beneficial to both you and the people you hire.
Determine your budget
Do a research about the position you are hiring for and see what the top-rated freelancers are charging for it. This way you’ll get an idea about how much you will have to pay. If the position isn’t something extremely simple like sending out emails or proofreading articles, stay away from hiring freelancers from overseas for very low prices. Hiring true professionals and keeping the labour quality high is often beneficial to your business in the long run. So, consider investing a little bit more to your freelance workers.
Create a detailed job posting
As we stated above, the more detailed and defined a project description is, the more likely you are to find someone who is qualified for the job. Specify your minimum freelancer qualifications, write a descriptive job title, explain what your freelancers will do in detail and state your budget and deadline clearly. As you gain more popularity as a trust-worthy client, more and more qualified freelancers will apply, so be patient.
Pick qualified freelancers
After you posted your job advert, be ready for hundreds of applications. A huge volume of them will be under-qualified, so they should be easy to rule out. For the remainders, take your time to compare them according to their history, education, experience and hourly rate. Freelancer websites like Upwork include systems that allow clients and freelancers to rate each other, so finding top-rated freelancers in a niche shouldn’t be challenging.
Do not shy away from interviewing multiple people at a time. The way a freelancer communicates with a client speaks volumes about the professionality, experience and ability. Do not settle for less than %100.
Ensure clear communication
Obviously, hiring a freelancer is different than hiring an employee for your company. You do not know them personally and cannot force them to work in specific hours. That is why you must clearly state your expectations during interviews. Ask them about their availability, their past experiences and get to know them beyond a simple “Do this, do that.”. This builds connection and trust between you and the person you are hiring. Therefore, they will be much more likely to provide a quality work on time.
Take a leap of faith
Both working as a freelancer and hiring a freelancer are excellent options for each side for many reasons. Plus, freelancing platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork are making this even easier for both parties. But with every expanding market, there are elements to take care of rather than jumping in blind. Whether you are a beginner freelancer or looking hire a freelancer for the first time, we believe that these 5 steps for each are crucial for both parties to have a healthy experience in freelance market.
Image by: Jakob Owens via Unsplash