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May 30, 2017

A Look at the Rise of Freelancing in the IT World

There are lots of benefits associated with being a freelancer. Not only do you get to work remotely and set your own schedule, but you can also pick and choose clients and jobs based on what interests you. But do you know how to get started as a freelance IT pro?

Why Freelance?

As is the case with any work setup, there are pros and cons to freelance work. And while you need to consider the disadvantages and risks, you’ll likely find that the benefits are far more persuasive and influential. Here are just a few:

  • Control of your workload. As a freelancer, you essentially decide when you want to work. Need to make a big purchase next month? Put in a bunch of hours and work your butt off to bring in more money. Want to spend some time with the kids during their summer break? Drop a couple of clients and free up your schedule. Flexibility is the best thing about freelancing.
  • Flexibility of hours. In addition to controlling how much you work, most freelancers can also control when they work. More of a morning person? You can frontload your schedule and end your day in the early afternoon. As a result, you’re able to work when you’re more focused and productive.
  • No annoying boss. The No. 1 complaint a lot of IT workers have is that they work for people they don’t like. Well, when you’re a freelancer, you are your own boss. This can eliminate much of the stress that comes with your current job.

There are plenty of other advantages to being a freelancer, but these are three of the biggest. If you’re still on the fence regarding whether or not you should freelance, spend some time thinking about the flexibility and freedom that comes with this setup. Most people find that it’s worth the risk.

Four Tips for Getting Started

Getting your foot in the door as a freelancer is the hardest part. Once you get going, you’ll find that your new career will “snowball.” The early momentum you enjoy will feed strong results in the long run. With that being said, here are a few practical tips for getting started.

1. Dive Right In

Sam Ovens is one of the most successful millennial entrepreneurs you’ll ever hear about. He’s a New Zealander who now runs a renowned New York City consultancy on the Upper East Side. But at one point, he was trying to juggle college, an internship, and a startup business.

“I started getting frustrated, trying to balance everything,” Ovens recalls in an interview with The Epoch Times. “I stayed in that pain for four or five months. Then I decided to quit my job and my college and went full time with my business.”

In other words, Ovens chose to dive in head first.

The biggest problem people have – specifically IT pros who have worked in the corporate world for a number of years – is getting started. They constantly worry about what will happen if they fail. They try to dip their toes in the water and test things out. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to sink or swim when you’re still on land. At some point, you just have to drive in and accept the consequences – good or bad.

Are you willing to do what Ovens did? Risk everything and venture out on your own? There’s no guarantee of success – Ovens’ first business venture was actually a failure and he lost everything – but you won’t know until you try.

2. Have a Pricing Strategy

Pricing is one of the more challenging issues freelancers in any profession face. You don’t want to price yourself too high, or you could run off potential clients. You also don’t want to price yourself too low, or you’ll miss out on a lot of revenue.

When you go into your freelance career, make sure you have some sort of pricing strategy. This strategy may change over time as you gain more experience and knowledge, but it’s never smart to go in blind.

3. Be Careful With Agreements

The legal side of being a freelancer is very important. You can’t take things lightly on this front, or else you’ll end up getting burned at least once. Every time you start a project for a new client, you need to sign the appropriate agreements and contracts.

You also need to carefully review any contract that a client wants you to sign. The last thing you can afford is to gloss over a contract, only to realize that you just signed a non-compete for three years and won’t be able to work for anyone else in the industry for that period of time.

4. Build Your Brand

As a freelancer, you have to stop looking at yourself as an individual and start viewing yourself as a brand. Whether you realize it or not, you are a company. The work you complete and the manner in which you carry yourself all feed your image and dictate how people view you in the local market and larger industry.

From the moment you start your freelance career, you need to build your brand. This includes visual elements like a website, social media profiles, an online portfolio, as well as less tangible things like customer service and attention to detail. Everything you do must be filtered through your brand.

Start Your Freelancing Career

Freelancing is no longer something that only a select few people do in certain industries. Thanks to the rise of the Internet, powerful cloud tools, and shifting perspectives on employment and work-life balance, freelancing has been normalized over the past few years.

If you’ve decided that you want to become a freelance IT pro, you’ve made a smart choice. The next step is to understand what you’re getting into and to set yourself up for success by following some of the tips and suggestions outlined in this article. 




 
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