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It’s ironic that the only thing that is constant in our lives is change. Whatever the time, the era or period of history, change has overshadowed everything, from the move from agrarian societies to the industrial age to the new era of technology that we will in now, change has been mankind’s constant companion.
And now change is back in the form of the internet and the opportunities it presents to people like you and I. From online writing, to blogging to graphic designing, the demands of the virtual era create a whole range of new professional categories which you can tap into.
And one of the best ways to get into the online world of Professionals is by freelancing.
Now, that may sound strange considering that most other counselors would ask you put your heart and soul into your chosen line of work, and here I am asking you to go slow. And here’s why.
The online community is perhaps the most intensely competitive market man has known. The same markets that allow you access to a worldwide conglomerate of buyers also opens you up to competition from vendors just like you across the globe. So you have to compete across the borders, economic zones, educational variation and advantages.
Which is why, rushing into freelancing is never a good idea. There are however, a few things you can, and indeed, should do before you launch into a full time freelance career. Read on for tips.
- Create a Portfolio. This is way more essential that your sales skills, your communication skills or any qualification you may have in the freelance world. Here you’re judged solely by your technical proficiency, depth of understanding and speed of execution. A portfolio helps clients understand whether or not you fit their needs.
- Network hard. Get onto Linkedin, Facebook and other Social and Professional sites to ensure you have a platform for your firm or services. Understand the issues that other’s who freelance face, how they deal with them, and gain a network of advisors, friends and colleagues who support you when you have issues with a project.
- Do your research on the latest information and best practices within your profession. While large organizations and its employees can bank on reputations to get work, a freelancer unfortunately does not have the same luxury. You have to be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of issues to your client. That can only be made possible by you reading, learning and constantly seeking answers. So for example you want to create content online and you offer your services as an online copy writer to clients. If you have no Idea what Navneet Panda did to change search engines, and how penguin evolved from that, you will not be able to win that particular account. So learn. Always.
- Find a larger firm that can help book some gigs and provide you with guidance when you start off. In India OakTreeIndia is a good firm for finding a mentor, and in Pakistan it remains, as it has for over a decade now, the unbridled enthusiasm of Shahzad Bashir, the founder and Director of Freelancefront.com.
- Get ready for long hours. There is no denying the one universal truth of freelancing. It requires far more productivity hours as compared to a normal 9 to 5 job. And the pressure is intense since at the end of the day, it is, all you. So do be prepared to become a very efficient time manager or you will become a nervous wreck.
Freelancing is a great way to make a living no doubt. I do it, and Shahzad Bashir is one of the undoubted masters of the game. But the costs are high, the dedication immense and the hours tiring. The reward though lies in the freedom of following your own ambitions and creating solutions from scratch for clients around the globe. Freelancing has been given a new lease of life by the technological change around us. It’s time you take advantage too.