Being a freelancer in any industry confers a sense of freedom upon you – and to some extent, you are your own boss. Even better, when your particular industry is busy and you are in demand, you can see you earnings rise quite dramatically.
There are downsides of course; you’ll not be paid for sick leave or holidays and if work drops off, so will your earnings. You are, at the end of the day, a contract worker.
That said, the freelance option is a growing one and we take a look at five of the top areas where freelancing is most popular.
Yes, almost anything that can be done as a full-time position can also be undertaken by someone working as a freelance, part timer or temporary worker. Assuming you have a particular skill set or can supply a certain answer to a company’s question you can find part-time working opportunities in any industry.
If you background is IT
, HR, Sales
, Law – whatever, you need to approach freelancing on a company, by company basis, to find if they have a need or demand for a freelancer. This can be to cover maternity leave
, illness or increased workloads. It can simply be a company that is unwilling to commit to full time workers and wants to stay flexible.
Check out company websites and log yourself into recruitment websites as a temporary or freelance worker.
2. Advertising Industries
Obviously, there are industries which are traditionally associated with freelancing such as the advertising and marketing sector
. This can include, advertising, art-working design, copywriting, web-building, planning and account handling.
All of the above are subject to increased short-term workloads (as clients and accounts are won or lost). Agencies frequently need freelancers to bolster their in-house capabilities.
Whether you are a Mac designer or a web builder or copywriter is up to you of course. However, what is common to all freelancers in this industry is having experience along with a strong portfolio of work to show. Don’t forget, you need to step into the firing line quickly so you’ll need to be responsive and enthusiastic and willing to adapt to differing cultures and sometimes steep learning curves. Even if you have very little experience – you’ll need to show a portfolio with good ideas or demonstrate you have an excellent knowledge of the work you are being asked to do – so that you can be tried out.
The industry is geared to freelancing and your day rates need to be flexible (unless you are supremely in demand and very experienced). Rates vary considerably from agency to agency and highly dependent upon the work involved – so you need to be adaptable and see the bigger picture in your negotiations.
3. IT Consultant The need for IT consultants on a freelance basis is unstoppable
. You basic role is to work with clients to improve the structure and efficiency of their IT systems. You’ll have gained your knowledge perhaps in-house and decided to go freelance so that you can capitalise on your very specialised knowledge and skills.
Experience here is key, and it is unlikely you’ll go straight to consulting without it. You’ll be offering strategic guidance to sometimes high organisations on their IT technology and infrastructures, so some track record of success will be sought.
Gaining your experience in house for a good company is a pre-requisite and don’t forget, many freelancers simply decide to offer their services to the company they once worked for full-time. In other words, you simply change the way you work for a company you are already involved in.
IT knowledge and competence is important, and the more of each you can show, the more your skills will be sought. Happily, the role is almost recession proof
as your skills will be useful for companies looking to save money as well as those who wish to expand.
If you have great typing skills and a good ear – yes literally – you can make a consistent living freelancing as a transcriber. The subject matter varies, of course – you could be a legal or medical transcriber for example, but essentially you’ll be transcribing audio tapes onto paper.
As a general transcriber you’ll be given the tapes of meetings, dictated letters, or interviews and be expected to put the content of these down onto paper for record keeping purpose.
You can work through a professional transcription agency or purely off your own back – either way, you’ll start to find the rates you can charge and what the going rates are.
If you want to work as a translator
, it also helps to have a good knowledge of the industry you are translating for – often it isn’t only a question of how good your language skills are, but also your understanding of what is being talked about before you translate.
5. Design and Illustration
Good designers are also artists and as such tend to become freelance, selling their own designs as and when, but also working for third party companies as and when their skills are required.
More than any other freelance service, you style is what is important; aside from your art training or qualifications. Your style could be almost anything and you need to find which types of industry most require it. Clear and concise for technical journals; amusing or funny for cartoons; powerful and satirical for newspapers.
Think about yourself as a communicator and how your work will help your client communicate. Once again, your portfolio will be your main selling tool and you can post this online or add your name to a professional agency which specialises in selling your services on your behalf.
With experience and confidence you can look forward to a good career as a freelancer. However, it’s a mistake to think that you need a wealth of experience before you can become a freelancer. These greatly help, of course, but you’ll also find your first breaks by demonstrating talent, enthusiasm and a positive attitude.