Hiring a Freelancer 006

How to Make Freelancing Work for You | MoneyMaker Magazine

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By Hayley Conick , UK Country Manager for the world’s largest online workplace Elance-oDesk


According to the PCG, the number of people freelancing in the EU has risen by an impressive 45% in the past two years alone. It is increasingly becoming a chosen career path for many skilled workers in the UK. In fact, according to research we conducted last year, 87% of students with First or 2.1 degrees now see freelancing as a highly attractive and lucrative career option. At the same time more and more businesses are turning to skilled freelancers to enable them to scale up when extra resources and specialist skills are required.

For those with the talent, grit and determination to succeed, freelancing can open up a world of opportunity – not to mention a more independent and flexible life. Here are Hayley’s top tips on how to make freelancing work for you:

1. Ask yourself the number one question…is freelancing for me?

With freelancing you are your own boss: there is no one to tell you to get out of bed and turn up on time. To be truly successful as a freelancer you must be a self-starter, be highly motivated and have a huge passion for what you do. You should also be a life-long learner – we live in fast-moving times with skill demands in constant flux. To stay relevant, successful freelancers constantly evaluate what the market needs and update their skills accordingly.

2. Develop a personal brand

The top freelance jobs are competitive. Businesses want to know what value you can add; whether you can meet deadlines, how easy you are to work with. Your personal brand is your most valuable asset and needs careful cultivation – after all these days, you are who Google says you are. Make sure that your CV, your online profile and your social media channels highlight not just your skills and experience but showcase your portfolio. On Elance-oDesk, we encourage all freelancers to upload examples of previous work onto their online profiles – remember the old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. Online workplaces also allow you to build a record of actual work results and showcase feedback from past projects. All of this will give you a solid, proven reputation and help you to secure new projects.

3. Check out your competition

With more and more people choosing to freelance, as I said above, competition can be fierce – over 8 million freelancers are signed up to Elance-oDesk around the world. This isn’t a bad thing – your competitors can actually be a great source of information. Look at how they’re pitching themselves, what work they’re doing, how much they’re charging. By developing an understanding of your competitors you can figure out how best to position yourself in the freelance market.

4. Clearly identify your skills

Businesses are looking for freelancers with specific skills, so lay these out clearly from the beginning. The more you can narrow down your skill set to what you are truly best at, the more successful you are likely to be. When hiring a freelancer, businesses often have a very specific project in mind so they are generally looking for a niche specialist – not a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.

5. Create unique project pitches

With over 2 million savvy businesses on Elance-oDesk, they can spot a “copy-and-paste” proposal a mile off. Make sure that your pitches are targeted specifically to the job post for which you’re applying: show interest in the project and address its key points and challenges. Engage with the business by asking questions: it’s a great way to invite a two-way dialogue and really demonstrate that you’ve put some consideration into what the project requires.

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