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Top Tips for Making a Career as an IT Freelancer

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With outsourcing and social media there’s perhaps never been a better time to freelance. The life of a freelance IT contractor sounds attractive, doesn’t it? The freedom to choose your clients, organise your own schedule, and of course deciding how much you’ll be paid for each job you do. It’s perhaps why there are now 15.5 million Americans registered as self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That number is only set to grow having already increased by 1 million since last year. By 2020, it is expected to climb to 60 million people, or roughly 40% of the American workforce, each of them an independent worker – freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees.

Suggested Reading: Freelancing: The Blueprint to Become a Top Earning Freelancer in 90 Days or Less

Where ‘temp’ positions were perhaps once looked down upon by the workforce at large, they are now positions that are held by the best and brightest. Professionals including attorneys, CMOs, and world-class consultants all now choose to work independently, on a temporary basis.

But before you leave your job to start freelancing there are a few things worth considering:

The first thing to consider would be, is there a market for what you do? Are you one of many doing what you do, or are you one of just a handful? For example, there is constant demand for skilled technical work online, like in the building of high-end websites. However, social media is massively oversubscribed as a service freelancers can provide online and there is arguably now a barrier to entry. When thinking about what marketable skills you have, consider what jobs you could create for yourself rather than take for yourself. Be the problem solver a business needs.

When thinking about your marketable assets, it’s also beneficial to think about how you plan on marketing yourself. You are, after all, now the entire company. So it’s time to learn how to understand how to do basic accounts, and other admin duties along with working on an effective marketing strategy. This means networking events IRL too. You never know where it might take you.

Now that you’ve got some clients and the work is coming in everything should be going smoothly. But what if it doesn’t? You have to know how to protect yourself in the world of business. Your skills may be in demand, but if you make a mistake, or give a client the wrong advice, you could be faced with a compensation claim. Now is the time to get to grips with what professional indemnity insurance is and the different policies on offer. Whether you’re a graphic designer, IT professional or a business consultant – if your business relies on your expertise, you could be liable if you get into trouble.

Once you’ve settled in to your freelance career it’s important that you not only manage your client time effectively, but also your own private time. It’s too easy to be “on” all day and night. This is especially true if you work freelance from home, so be sure to set boundaries on where your working day begins and ends, just as you would as if you were going to work in an office. Using your working time as effectively as your “me” time will help you to alleviate the stress that comes from your busy schedule.

The new freelance economy offers some fantastic opportunities for those willing to work for it. Independent workers are increasingly strategic, experienced, and professional. They want more flexibility than a traditional employee, and in many ways they’re achieving it. Stay savvy and you can take advantage of the same opportunities that many already have.

Career Tip of the Day: Starting a Career as a Freelance Software Developer

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Good luck in your search,
Joey

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