These career-related tips — for all job-seekers who are consultants or free agents (or who want to be) — have been gathered from numerous sources throughout Quintessential Careers and organized here for your convenience.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “America may be witnessing another historic transformation of the workplace. In the pre-industrial world, workers lived in isolation, usually on farms, and had little contact with one another. The Industrial Revolution brought people into central locations — factories for most workers — to work in a strict top-down hierarchy. The Information Age may return workers to their homes, and yet connect them via modern technology to ‘the virtual office.'” The Labor Dept. isn’t calling this phenomenon “telecommuting” anymore; now it’s “telework.”
From Guru.com: “When it comes to marketing and promoting your services as an independent professional, you may wonder how you can manage it with authenticity and integrity. Many gurus have been culturally conditioned to see marketing and selling as necessary evils — borderline sleazy behavior they just have to accept so they can succeed. But ‘authentic marketing’ is not an oxymoron. It starts with unlearning many of the misconceptions we have about marketing.” Robert Middleton explains how to get new business without selling yourself out.
A never-ending issue for free agents, consultants, telecommuters, and those with a home business is time management. Alice Bredin, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and home business and telecommuting commentator for public radio has devised “The Secrets to the Good Life in the Home Office,” which are synopsized here:
- Learn to say “no” a lot because there will always be more demands on your schedule than you can manage.
- Don’t answer the phone. It’s more efficient to collect messages and call people back when you’ve had a chance to prepare an answer.
- Get a lot of sleep. You cannot be effective during the day unless you are rested.
- Don’t tolerate inconvenience. If you have a problem, find a solution for it right away.
- Delegate. Find people to do for you what you don’t do well yourself.
- Expect a lot from any employees or associates. Keep your standards high, and refuse to work with people who cannot live up to them.
- Be explicit in your instructions and communication. Take the time the first time to make sure instructions, requests and communications are clear, so you don’t have to explain things again.
- Be honest. Don’t be afraid to tell someone when you have a problem. Don’t waste time beating around the bush to spare someone’s feelings.
One of the hot new arenas for freelance work centers around providing online content. The Web sites mediabistro and Content Exchange have teamed up to provide a job listings service focusing on employment in the online/new media field. Read more about it.
Interested in freelance writing or providing online content? You might want to check out the classified ads area of Content Exchange in which employers seeking freelance or staff writers or other content professionals advertise opportunities. Writers seeking assignments can place “Seeking Work” ads to get the attention of potential employers. Check out the classified section.
Your best bet for building a client base is your network of personal and professional contacts. These people know and respect you — and they may be potential clients or may be able to refer you to others in their network who may be potential clients.
Other potential sources of clients include past employers, professional associations, civic and communityassociations, and specialized “free agent” Web sites.
You can find more specific information about finding clients, as well as explanations about the ins and outs of consulting in our article, The Word is Out: Becoming a Free Agent is a Hot Career Path.
To find part-time jobs that you can perform from home, you need a plan and a strategy. You can find employers willing to hire professionals part-time, but you might instead consider the route of freelancer/consultant. You can get freelance jobs through networking with current and former employers, friends and associates, etc. You may need to change the focus of your resume and your pitch, but many companies outsource work.
You can also post your specialty and review work proposals at several freelance sites, such as Guru.com, eLance.com, Ants.com, and more. All of these sites (with descriptions) can be found at Quintessential Careers: Jobs for Consultants & Freelancers.
Interested in freelance or consulting work? You’ll likely find that clients come from networking and word-of-mouth. People will not know your services are available unless you tell them. Many types of networking are available to you. Start with friends and colleagues outside your company. Move on to people in your professional organization. Then move on to the Internet and network through discussion groups.
Review all our Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips.
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