I have a question about freelancing. I have worked for a number of years for some big
employers and have gained some great experience. I feel it’s the right time in my life
to venture out on my own and I am looking for some guidance on how I should go about
getting started. Thanks!
The Career Doctor responds:
You would be joining a growing number of professionals who are leaving their
9-to-5 jobs behind in search of greater career satisfaction flexibility and independence.
One of your first decisions has to be whether you will do freelancing part-time
after work or as your full-time gig. If you want to jump full-force into starting your
freelancing business by leaving your current employer do so only if you have a
large reserve of cash or other easily converted assets to support yourself and your
family and pay the bills for the new business.
Your next set of decisions all center around the business. First you need to
develop a marketing plan for the business which should include an honest evaluation
of the potential market for your services. Second you may need to revisit your current
employment contract to be sure you do not have a non-compete clause in it. Third
you’ll want to develop a business plan which will include such things as the
ownership financing location licensing insurance and other key issues.
Starting a business seems like a nice dream — and for some entrepreneurs it is –
but to be successful in freelancing or consulting you need to be self-motivated love
your profession have a service or skills that are in demand have a solid reputation
possess strong written and verbal communications skills and be extremely well-organized.
Finally you’re going to need to take a hard look at yourself and determine if you are
ready to really market and sell your services. I know people who are professional
geniuses but would rather be doing anything other than “hawking” their services to
potential clients. When you are a freelancer you need to be an extravert — or become
one for the business — to network and promote your freelancing business in your local
community nationwide or worldwide.
My final thoughts? Just take it slowly. Do your homework. Examine your motivations and strengths and weaknesses. Take it one step at a time.
You’ll find some great resources including articles and a freelancing quiz as well as job
boards by visiting this section of Quintessential Careers:
Jobs for Consultants
Freelancers and Gurus.
And be sure to read this article published on Quintessential Careers
The Nuts and
Bolts of Launching a Career in Freelancing or Consulting written by Maureen Crawford Hentz.