I’m always looking for ways to streamline and improve my company. So, when Jackson Hille with FormSwift reached out to tell me about the Freelancer’s Essential Guide to Business and Taxes, I immediately asked if he’d be willing to share more freelance business knowledge on my blog. Below, Jackson talks about how to find stability and improve job prospects as a freelancer.
Freelance work has been commonplace for a long time, but the advent of technological developments in mobile apps and other digital platforms over the past decade have helped pave the way for the Gig Economy. With companies trying to cut down on overhead costs, including salary expenses and health insurance for employees, there has been a steep rise in demand for independent contractors.
Whether you are a freelance app developer or an Uber driver, there are endless opportunities for independent contractors searching for work in any given industry today. As a job seeker in the freelance market, landing a job is vital, but being able to maintain work and create a sustainable career is just as important. In this article, I will discuss how technological developments have enabled job seekers in the freelance market, as well as how to find the right kind of jobs for you.
1. Use Tech and Media to Establish Your Personal Brand
We currently live in an age of information, where we have access to a constant stream of knowledge at any given time. This has spurred the evolution of a digital nomad lifestyle, where people travel the world and work remotely from their laptops. Although this open source of information is helping job seekers get connected with employers, it graces everyone with the willpower and access to the Internet on an equal, competitive playing field.
That’s why utilizing blogs and other modes of social media, such as Instagram and Twitter, is an excellent way to establish a brand for yourself.
The art of blogging is extremely undervalued; start a blog describing the type of services you are able to provide. Your expertise will be valued by members within your industry and can often lead to guest appearances on more established blogs and podcasts.
2. Build Business Relationships and a Social Network as a Freelancer
On the other hand, there is a plethora of opportunities, so how do you discover freelance jobs that will both enhance your career and provide you some sort of financial stability? As an independent contractor, the companies that hire you are your clients.
It’s important to build long-lasting relationships and carefully evaluate the type of work you do for each client.
As an independent contractor, you have the power to negotiate with these companies; instead of contracting for single, short-term projects, look for jobs that are more long-term and consist of multiple projects. For example, web-based travel service, Expedia, and leading video game entertainment system company, Nintendo, offer full-time freelance and telecommute jobs. Not only do these opportunities grant flexible schedules, they can provide you a more sustainable career.
Furthermore, try to find a niche within the industry you work. Find a market that you are passionate about and isn’t overly competitive. For instance, if you are a web developer and you have a friend who owns a barbershop that has a weak website, offer to redesign a new one. Create a target market consisting of barbershops and other related businesses and offer your expertise in this area to help create websites for them.
3. Expand Your Job Opportunities through Continuous Education
Lastly, another way to boost your career is to expand upon your existing skills and qualifications. There are many methods to separate yourself from the countless freelancers in your industry. Websites, such as coursera.org and sophia.org, provide free and cheap courses where you can earn certificates for invaluable technical skills. If you are a graphic designer and you want to increase your breadth to encompass web development, look for opportunities to learn how to code and make yourself more marketable.
Don’t wait to build your career as a freelance worker. The cards are in your hands! Just keep in mind some of these tips, and read the Freelancer’s Essential Guide to Business and Taxes. With intentional planning, success will likely be yours.
Jackson Hille is the content associate for FormSwift, a SaaS startup that specializes in providing paperless solutions for your business needs, whether it’s filing your taxes or completing a lease agreement.