Freelance professionals are in big demand. According to an Upwork report, 73 percent of hiring managers are continuing or increasing their employment of independent professionals. An Intuit report, meanwhile, projects more than 80 percent of U.S. businesses will switch to a flexible workforce. Gone are days when you associate ‘freelance’ with ‘unemployed’.
So what do you do with all the opportunities? You get to work.
You are your single-best asset, so it’s crucial to invest in your development. It’s necessary to expand your knowledge and develop new skills because your credentials get you your next big job. Sharpen your capabilities, and you’re more than likely to command premium professional rates, too. When you’re better than other freelancers in your field, you also get to pick plum projects.
Among your options for professional development are:
- Attending industry conferences
- Going to workshops of leaders in your field and discovering new approaches
- Networking with fellow professionals to share and learn expertise
- Training for new technology to prepare for future projects
- Enrolling in an online course
Acquiring professional certification is also a good move. Whether you’re a freelance nurse working with specialized equipment, like hoist systems designed for homes, or a financial advisor needing to expand services, certification means you follow a set of high standards. Gain the appropriate certification for your profession, and you could receive more projects and clients.
The opportunities are available, but you’ll still need to be ‘visible’ to those opportunities. And ensure you attract the right opportunities.
The easiest would be to come up with a digital marketing plan. Start with content for your website or blog. Write for your market; if you’re a web designer, for example, write about how professionally designed sites attract more customers or trends in websites that boost businesses.
You should also optimize your website, blog or social media pages to attract leads and acquire clients. Pursue leads on social media, but focus on platforms that your target market frequents.
Although digital marketing is crucial to spreading the word about your freelance services, don’t overlook the value of offline marketing. Try attending big events and come prepared with business cards. If you’ve been invited to speak at an industry gathering, don’t pass it up. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, and potential clients could come around enquiring.
Manage the Work
Finally, make sure you’ve got the resources to complete the projects. Getting as many clients as possible is good for business. But it can only be good if you’re able to deliver services well. Don’t take on more than you’re able to meet because it’s likely to affect the results of your work. And that could end up damaging your reputation.
If you’d rather not turn down work, consider sub-contracting to equally capable freelance professionals or agencies that offer white label services; white label services produce work you can rebrand as yours. In distributing the workload, you’re able to keep projects, take off the pressure from you and still add to your profits.
Freelancing may no longer be an unstable option for professionals. With the increasing demand for independent workers and more companies shifting to flexible work arrangements, you’ll have plenty of opportunities. You just have to capitalize on them with the right strategies.