Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are You Ready for Freelance? The Market May Be Ready for You.

If you’re considering or are in the midst of a career transition, whether by choice or as a result of corporate downsizing, you might want to take a fresh look at freelancing. If you’ve always thought about freelancing as being limited to services like graphic design, writing or bookkeeping, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover there is a broad-spectrum of skills and services that can be freelanced out for hire, such as:

Financial planning
Home inspection

Before you dive into the world of freelance though, you need to identify whether there is a market demand for the skills or services you wish to freelance. For starters tap into the “Jobs” portal of Career Transitions, click on “Use Job and Location”, type freelance into the keywords search box, and click search to produce freelance job listing results (customize results by setting state and industry targets). You should also consider connecting with an online community of freelancers at sites like freelanceswitch.com, and using the professional associations you’re involved with to help gauge market demand and glean ideas that can help you launch your freelance career. Also, leverage the challenged business climate to your advantage and look for niche markets: for example, a business communicator/writer may find a growing population of people who need resume writing services.

Getting your freelance business started typically involves branding your business a process that includes, selecting a company name, creating a logo identity, and developing business cards and letterhead. You will also need to register your business name, get a tax set-up, line up office equipment and supplies, and possibly establish a company Web site.

Once you’re ready to go, the majority of your time will involve marketing and selling your services to potential clients. This will take time and patience. Tap into your network—and yes, prepare for a certain amount of cold calling. Don’t worry though, with persistence opportunities will surface and this is when you showcase your talents in delivering beyond what the client expected. Taking good care of your customers will have you earning additional work and referrals in no time.
For a sampling of other services being offered on a freelance basis, and for additional advice on managing a successful freelance business, click here.

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