Becoming a Freelancer

A freelancer is a self�employed professional who works for different clients without a long�term contract with any one employer. Freelancing is a term that was first coined to describe medieval mercenaries who would fight for anyone who offered the highest pay. But today freelancers are seldom bloodthirsty soldiers who plunder and cart away booty. Rather they are experienced professionals who have made the decision to work for a number of different employers rather than simply remaining with one.

Why become a freelancer?

Most professionals make the decision to become a freelancer based on their personal schedule. Since many companies do not hire part-time professionals, some people decide to go out on their own and become free agents. Others freelancers may be attracted to the idea of working for themselves and the fact that they can set their own schedules. Freelancers also regularly enjoy a greater variety of assignments than ordinary employees and this actually affords them more real life experience in their chosen field. The professions where freelancing is most common include: journalism, copywriting, consulting, computer programming and graphic design.

Tips for Future Freelancers

First you need to make sure that there is a market for your services. Therefore, it is always a good idea to work as a freelancer part-time before you commit to full time freelancing work. This is a necessary first step every freelancer must take. All freelancers must make sure that there is enough work out there for them.

Once you have tested the market, it is always a good idea to establish your own website through which prospective employers can contact you. You should also join a few freelance communities where you will receive great advice as well as leads on potential assignments.

Another good suggestion is that you should attempt to meet a few of your clients in person. If the client is overseas or far away, this might be an impossibility, but if an employer is close by there is nothing that will impress them more than going the extra mile and arranging a meeting. Sure, emails and IM’s are nice, but a handshake always wins out in the end.

If, as we mentioned, it is not possible to meet a client in person, it is always a good idea to find out exactly what they like by researching their past projects. This will help you to ascertain the style and level of quality that they expect.

Possibly the single most important thing a freelancer can do before a project begins is to confirm the deadline date. Many disagreements that arise between clients and freelancers can be attributed to time management and the client claiming that the project is overdue. Therefore, it is always essential that you ask exactly when the assignment is due.

For the freelancer, salary is often difficult to calculate. That is why it is recommended that you always figure out and agree on an hourly rate before you begin a project. When calculating an hourly rate, you need to consider the fair market price of the work you are doing and what it would cost a permanent employee to complete the same work.

Lastly, all freelancer need to communicate with their clients about copyright issues, i.e., who owns the work they produce? If the client wishes to own the copyright to the work a freelancer produces, then he or she is in an extremely advantageous position and may be able to request a higher salary.
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