By: Helen Powers
Really stressful work days might get you thinking that a freelance communications role is a great alternative. And it can be. The schedule flexibility and projects of personal interest are big perks but consider these points before ditching your full dental coverage and regular pay cheque.
- You won’t get paid for all your hours
There will be management tasks that aren’t billable and finding projects can take considerable time and strategy. Developing a business plan takes time but it helps to identify the type of work you want, where to find clients, and set a framework for business goals.
- Your reputation really matters
Producing great work isn’t enough – you also have to manage projects efficiently, be reliable and reasonable to deal with. Doing all of this well is more likely to result in repeat clients and recommendations.
- Have multiple areas of expertise
To maintain a steady flow of interesting work, it helps to have clients in diverse sectors who need a variety of freelance services. This keeps each day interesting and reduces the risk of being dependent on a narrow sector of work.
- Stay in touch
Working on your own can be socially isolating so unless you’re really high on the introvert scale, consider working some or all of your hours in a communal office space. Regular contact with colleagues and professional associations also helps you stay in the loop about emerging issues that impact your work.
- Keep learning
Staying up to date on trends and innovations will maintain your qualifications to offer advice for changing client needs. Case studies, social media chats, webinars and conferences are great ways to source ideas and stay current.
Working freelance means no one ever sneaks your lunch from the fridge but it also means you are the whole company. At a minimum, your skills in client relationships and project management will strengthen and, if you go on to work for another organization, those skills will be important. Staying freelance on a long-term basis means the ongoing responsibility of business management but with hard work and strategy, the rewards might just be worth it.