2013 has been heralded as the year of the freelancer. This is evident by the fact that employers are still showing a lot of reluctance in hiring full time employees in this uncertain economy. It’s less of a risk to hire project-based freelancers to get the work done.
The freelancer today varies from anyone looking for an “in” to a company and will take a gig for that very reason, to someone who just enjoys having flexibility and control over his work life, to the entrepreneur who feels he can be more successful with his startup.
With the workforce becoming more globalized and more remote, employers have a wider pool of skills to choose from since freelancers work remotely and can be based out of any geographic location.
If you are a freelancer chasing success this year, keep the following tips in mind:
CREATE GOALS: Long term and short term. So think of things like how many hours you want to work, if you have enough savings to get you through low periods, and what kind of projects you want to work on. If one of your goals is to portray a professional image while keeping overhead costs low, you can easily achieve that through having a temporary office space in Washington DC that boasts a prestigious address. But it’s very important to have these goals documented so you can assess them weekly and change as needed.
NETWORK: If you’re a freelancer, you are responsible for getting your name out there. More than likely you work from home, so it’s important to place a high priority on gaining visibility. Use social media networks and LinkedIn to market your skills. You could also start a blog that showcases said skills – whatever those may be. Your blog can act like a portfolio of past work as well. You might want to visit a business center once or twice a week in order to make connections. Having a Washington DC virtual office means access to our Business Lounges and Executive Cafes where you can spend time catching up on the news and make important business contacts. The water cooler is a great place to strike up a relationship!
STICK TO A ROUTINE: Self-discipline is crucial for this lifestyle. There is no one micromanaging you, so it can be very tempting to take the day off or spend the afternoon catching up on your favorite TV shows. Create a structure for yourself that you stick to. You want it to be flexible enough that you can get your work done, and not so rigid that you set yourself up for failure and cease to be productive. One of the most important things you can do to protect your schedule is to set boundaries with friends and family. Make sure they understand that just because you are "at home" doesn't necessarily mean that you can be interrupted at any time. Set some ground rules that everyone can understand and follow.
If you’re just starting out in the freelancing world, then best of luck to you! I hope these tips will serve as an anchor to keep you grounded, but give you the flexibility for your business to really flourish.