Steve Langerud

Steve Langerud

By Steve Langerud

I work every day with clients who are seeking to enter the freelance market.  Based on the projections that nearly 50% of the job market will be freelance or on contract by 2020, they are wise to do so!

Overall, the biggest blind spot for people who wish to freelance is the fact that you have to get work before you can do work.

They see themselves doing their work, using their skills, and providing value but they miss the part where they have to find the work!

In my experience, clients present three key reasons for considering freelance work:

1.  They want more control and autonomy in their professional lives.

2.  They are in fields that are predominantly hiring freelance workers.

3.  They are trying to bridge the gap between jobs.

Tips:

1.  Be aware that there is a market for freelance work using your core skills.

2.  Be honest with yourself about the level of self-discipline that it takes to work on your own.

3.  Take a brutal look at your finances.  Are you in a position to absorb the possible ups and downs of freelance work?

4.  Research the capacity of the market to provide you with the kind of money you need to survive.

5.  Understand your competition.  Who are they?  Where are they?  How much do they charge for the same work you wish to do?

Strategies:

1.  Line up core contracts before you quit working to make sure you have income.

2.  Have a year’s worth of expenses saved to cover emergencies.

3.  Ask your current employer if you can convert your position to contract.

4.  Develop a marketing and sales plan for your services.

5.  Work with an accountant to make sure you preserve your income and that you address tax, insurance, and retirement issues.

Moving to freelance or contract work is an ‘eyes wide open’ activity that you have to do by yourself but you don’t ever do alone.  Ask for help and support from your friends, family, and colleagues.