A freelance worker, or freelancer, is a worker who is not committed to just one company – many aren't even committed to just one industry. These people may fill a position or need for a business in virtually any capacity. A typical arrangement between a company and freelancer includes a signed contract about the nature of the work, this is why many are referred to as contract workers instead of freelancers. Some freelancers work out of the office of a company that they have assignments from, but many, like myself, are on their own completely. Regardless of the nature of their work, a good freelancer must have a plan if they want to achieve success.
Determining Your Niche
A major part of your plan is going to be finding your market or niche; this is the part of the process that is going to pave the way for many opportunities. Most freelancers have a certain area they specialize in – for example, a writer may write predominantly on health topics. Having a niche does not at all limit the scope of work you can do, it just establishes your authority in that area. When choosing a niche, think of something which interests you, an area you have personal and professional experience with, and something with a lot of subcategories within itself – this will keep assignments from getting repetitive and stale.
Finding Your Audience and Socializing Your Brand
After you determine your niche, there will be a target audience associated with that area; for instance, someone who writes books on running will want to reach out to athletes. However, spending your time marketing to a group of couch potatoes with no plan of ever leaving the couch probably won’t be the best use of your time. When you know who you need to market to, you need to figure out how to reach these people. Having a webpage is pretty much standard for any type of independent professional, service, or product in this day and age. Your website, or blog, will act as a base camp for all of your marketing efforts. This point really can’t be stressed enough. Freelancers must have a strong marketing platform to help make clients aware of their existence.
Incorporating social media into your marketing efforts will greatly help you get noticed. Building your brand through social media will allow you to engage with possible clients in a very personal and direct manner. Just make sure that you choose the social media platform that is best for your target market. The major three social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. To determine which platform you should begin applying your efforts to you should determine where most of your target audience engages with others on. If your target market is mostly professionals then I would highly recommend LinkedIn. However, if you are focused on college students then Facebook would probably be your best bet.
There are many different ways to market online; you are only limited by your creativity and dedication.
Taking Care of Business
When it comes to working as a freelancer, it’s not always fun and games (its only fun and games most of the time). There are some legal considerations to take into account when you work for yourself. Freelance workers have to remember that they are their own accountant, human resource department, and manager; you might not have anyone in your company besides yourself to answer for, but if there’s a problem with how you’re doing business you will be completely responsible. At the very least, you need to be paying your own taxes; the companies you do work for will not be taking out taxes for you, this is up to you. When you file your income taxes, you will need to report all earnings you have made from every company you did work for that year on a 1099 tax form. Because this can get complicated, using a tax service every year is highly recommended. In addition to reporting wages, you’ll also need to track businesses expenses for deductions.
Otherwise, there’s not too much that a freelancer needs to worry themselves with – certain workers do choose to get a business license for legal reasons. Working for yourself as a freelancer can be very rewarding but it does take a lot of responsibility and effort.
Are you a freelancer, what advice would you give Newbies?