Today is National Freelancers Day.
While this may mean nothing to the vast majority of the population, for 14% of workers in the UK this day is actually almost equivalent to Christmas.
Okay, possible slight exaggeration aside, National Freelancers Day is now in its 4th year and gathering momentum each year. There are now an estimated 4.2 million people in Britain freelancing, with the numbers expected to continue growing as more and more people find themselves facing redundancies and fewer job opportunities in the months and possibly years to come.
Freelancing comes in all shapes and sizes – it can be anything from offering your writing, design or photography skills as a one-off service, to full-blown setting up as a freelance consultant in your area of expertise.
My first venture into freelancing was as a freelance CV Consultant just over seven years ago, and then later on a freelance writer and editor. All it took both times was persuading my talented graphic designer brother to knock up a leaflet and some business cards, and within a few days I was in business!
There are many advantages to freelancing while jobseeking:
1) It’s a good way to bring in additional income while you wait to land that job;
2) You get to put your skills and talent to good use and do what you love in the process;
3) You can get started straight away – all you need (for the most part) is access to a computer and the internet, and (if you really want to push the boat) a low-cost business card for offline networking.
If you do decide to go for it, here’s a few final tips from my experience:
- Price yourself slightly lower than the competition to start off with and then gradually increase your fees as your skills develop;
- Get visible and stay visible – join every freelancing site going (and there’s quite a few) and register a complete profile on them. People Per Hour and Elance are two that I found particularly helpful and still use today;
- Keep accurate financial records from the get-go if you want to avoid a tax penalty down the line;
- Don’t give up the search for the day job just yet as it can take a while to build a reputation and gain enough clients to keep the bread and butter coming in.
So there you go – all that remains is to get started!
Happy National Freelancers Day
Your turn: What skills do you have to offer as a freelancer…?