It’s all very new – any advice?
So you have decided to become a freelancer, be your own boss and cut loose from the apron strings of your permanent job. However, starting out isn’t easy, it’s not all ‘relaxed working locations’ and branded coffee. Making the transition from a permanent job over to becoming a full time IT freelancer can take time. By starting out and accepting there will be quite dramatic changes in your normal daily routine, will help when the changes come. Prepare to be flexible and be ready to use skills that are outside of your comfort zone, pretty much straight away.
Routine? What routine?
Don’t expect a structured day to form itself when freelancing, especially if your skills are in IT Technology. A typical day can often see a freelancer working on unexpected problems either with a client or with their own work. You often do not have access to the resources of a permanent job, not much delegation around when you’re a freelancer, it’s very much roll up your sleeves and get the job done. This can bring in long hours, or at least, hours you hadn’t planned for your working week. It’s up to you to structure your own day and be disciplined. Make certain hours ‘off limits’ for work, give yourself a proper lunch break and avoid the temptation to work through. Reward yourself through a working day. You will be a lot more productive and stepping away from a laptop for a short period can really help you totally focus through a day.
Winning new clients and customer service
Would you hire you? Look at your services, freelance brand and prices. When a client hires the services of an individual IT freelancer, they are normally looking for flexibility in price and work approach. They have probably already spoken to a web agency about building their new website and might have been scared off by their price structure and rigid approach to the whole process. Work to your strengths to win new business. Offer something different that organisations cannot offer. Also, a more personable approach can often win new clients. Not having to deal with ‘account managers’ but just one contact (you) can go a long way.
The IT industry is a fast mover. New technologies arriving quicker and quicker into the marketplace, always try and stay one step ahead. As an individual, you can normally react quicker than a big org when it comes to learning new terminologies or getting qualified with a new software. Make sure you have plenty of strings to your bow, carry the knowledge and flexibility to win new business. Look to gain experience of new technologies whenever possible, get involved with leading edge projects, that kind of experience can be valuable further down the line.