I’m sure you have all heard the term freelance or freelancer at least once. This grew in popularity since the Covid-19 pandemic, which opened eyes to the possibility of working outside the normal 9 am – 5 pm jobs.
The term freelancer refers to a self-employed person who works on a contractual basis to offer services. Freelancers work for any organization; however, they opt out of company benefits such as pensions, health insurance, and filing and paying for taxes, which they do by themselves.
Anyone having a particular skill set can be a freelancer. Contrary to belief, freelancing isn’t as easy as we make it sound. A person wanting to join the freelancer workforce needs to harness their skills to have a chance since the market is very competitive.
Below are some tips for being a successful freelancer.
Have an interest in freelancing. What I mean by this is researching the industry through live events like webinars, reading freelance-related articles, and using social media to find successful freelancers or mentors. For example, Twitter has a lot of individuals sharing knowledge on how they got started.
Write and publish articles on topics of interest on blogs, a medium which has a cult-like following of 60 million active users.
Use social media platforms as an information hub(s). Through recent research, it was determined that gen Z is using social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to obtain information instead of Google. By staying ahead of this trend, a freelancer ensures his social media pages are up to date and he has a website where most of his content is hosted.
Polish up on soft skills such as being organized and efficient on assigned projects/tasks. Being organized will enable you to manage your time and work wisely, ensuring your deadlines are maintained or achieved.
Exceed your client’s expectations by ensuring the quality of work delivered is exemplary. Aim for always meeting or exceeding expectations.
Be responsive and have a good attitude toward clients. A successful freelancer needs to always have a positive attitude and be available for any iterations a client might have.
Know your area of expertise and what is your offer. What I mean by the offer is knowing what makes you stand out from the rest. It could be something simple as offering graphic design services and issuing one free iteration on every project worked on. Using certifications and previous work experience will also be an advantage.
Have a rate card available for your clients and be flexible to adjust when needed, since all clients have different needs.
Below are the pros of freelancing:
A freelancer has multiple sources of income since he is not limited to one job. Streams of income depend on the number of gigs he has.
A freelancer can be his own boss, he specifies hours to work and the type of job he wants.
Freelancers don’t work the normal 9 – 5 pm office hours and they choose the number of hours to work in a day or week, making them very flexible.
A freelancer isn’t bound to one location. She can be hired by a company in London while she lives in Kenya.
A freelancer can learn a skill that’s completely different from her normal skill set. She can upskill in different areas such as finance and accounting, which is a money management skill essential in freelancing.
Due to the varying nature of tasks and projects daily, what a freelancer works on today may be completely different tomorrow. Hence, there’s no monotony in tasks.
A freelancer has job security since his paychecks aren’t tied to one company. He can find more freelance jobs due to industrial demand.
A freelancer works in the comfort of his home, removing time wasting experience when commuting to the office, traffic jams, and time needed to settle down resulting from distractions from colleagues.
A freelancer uses most of his time finding new clients, retaining existing ones, and managing their respective relationships, enabling him to excel at interpersonal skills and people management.
A freelancer is innovative. He participates in brainstorming sessions and branding strategies.
Some disadvantages include:
Introvertedness and isolation can be experienced since a freelancer works at home and doesn’t have contact with people as he would have in an office.
Work never stops, he constantly seeks new clients all the time.
Difficulty managing clients who have differing needs and live in different time zones.
High expenses since freelancers are required to secure health care or insurance which have high premiums. This wouldn’t be the case if he worked in a company that offered insurance as a benefit.
A freelancer can have multiple bosses he has to answer to which is difficult.
A freelancer doesn’t have employee benefits such as sick time off or paternity/maternity leave, since he oversees setting his working hours.
A freelancer can have cash flow problems if he fails to secure multiple gigs/clients.
Cryptocurrency Programming: There aren’t a lot of industry experts in this field. A cryptocurrency programmer is a person who has the skill to manage and analyze transactions to ensure they are secure and invulnerable to external attacks.
Mobile Development: These are individuals who are software developers, and their field of expertise is building products and services for mobile or smartphones. They specialize in either IOS or android development.
Artificial Intelligence: This is the study whereby individuals learn how machines work and how we interact with them in our day-to-day activities.
Web Design: These are individuals who design how a website will look
Backend Development: A server-side scripting to build a communication between databases and application, Application Programming Interface (API) and backend logic.
Full Stack Development: A combination of client-side and server-side scripting.
Search Engine Optimization: These individuals assist in discoverability by ensuring your website is well-indexed, pages well-named, and duplication removed to increase your chances of appearing on the first page when you search on a search engine like Google.
Graphics Designers: They are extremely creative and often used when designing business cards, wireframes, and general graphics.
Social Media Management: These are the gurus of all things social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok
Data Analytics: These individuals help companies make data-driven decisions by using big data to spot trends and patterns.
Cloud Security and Ethical Hacking: Security refers to individuals tasked to protect an organization while ethical hackers are people of a particular skill set hired by a company to hack into their system to spot vulnerabilities and improve areas of weakness.
Accounting: These are individuals hired to manage a company’s funds.
Writing: They include copywriters, bloggers, transcribing, etc. They compose the largest workforce in the freelance market.
Editing: Editors are hired by companies to proofread and correct grammar to ensure that products and services are in line with brand guidelines.
Virtual Assistance: They assist businesses to cut back on additional costs by offering admin and customer-facing services, i.e., project management.
Sales: Sales representatives sell products and services.
Video Production: These are individuals who make and edit videos and films, i.e., advertisements and commercials.
Photography: Social media platforms such as Instagram are using photos and reels to market products and services such as tourist destinations, clothes, etc.
Translation: There’s a demand for translators in Artificial Intelligence since machine translation is inaccurate and prone to mistakes.
These skills can be broken down into three categories, namely, technical, marketing, and customer service skills.
In-demand technical skills involve:
Web design: Designing how websites are displayed on the Internet.
Web programming: These are engineers who write code, it is related to web development.
WordPress: These are developers who develop websites for WordPress.
CSS: It’s a style language that web developers use to style web elements.
HTML: It’s a markup language primarily used for web development.
PHP: This is a scripting language also used by web developers.
Shopify: This is where merchants sign up and create accounts to build online stores.
API: This is software that allows two apps to talk to each other.
Graphics design: Designers who specialize in creating visual layouts and images.
In-demand skills in marketing:
Social media marketing: Using social media for the promotion of products.
Lead generation: A marketer raises awareness of new products.
Facebook: Use of advertisements, posts, and reels to increase brand awareness.
SEO: Process of increasing your website discoverability using Google web crawlers.
B2B Marketing: A company can sell products and services to a client; the client can also resell those items for a profit.
Instagram: Use of social media managers to write and edit captions, create posts, hashtags, reels, etc., to increase reach, that is, eyeballs on their page.
Marketing strategy: This is the process of creating a plan to onboard new customers and convert them into consumers.
Social media management: This is the process of understanding different social media groups and niches to create content/strategies tailored to them.
Email marketing: the process of sending messages about products and services via email.
Marketing research: Process of collecting and analyzing information or data to understand a company’s target market.
Below are skills that are in demand for customer service:
Customer service: It’s the process of assisting and supporting existing, new, and potential customers in a company using a customer service representative.
Customer support: This is the process of supporting a customer in understanding or navigating a product.
Email communication: This is when you send communication about products, services, and events via email.
Phone support: Process of using phone calls to communicate with clients to better understand support-related questions or issues they might have.
Email support: Process of using email correspondence to a customer to better understand any support-related question or issue they have.
Communication etiquette: These are individuals who train and teach a company’s employees proper phone etiquette. This is mostly observed in companies conducting business on phone such as online customer service representatives, helplines, etc.
Online chat support: These specialists offer real-time support by having conversations with customers regarding their products and services.
Answering product questions/survey: This is where an individual answers surveys and is paid based on the number of answered surveys.
Data entry: These are clerks responsible for transferring and arranging information, such as from paper formats to digital records like files and databases.
Administrative support: These are assistants performing clerical tasks such as filing, record keeping, etc.