Being a freelancer can come with more than it’s fair share of perks. For one, you get to be your own boss and so you can pick and choose what days you work. It also means that you get to experience a diverse range of clients and a good variety of jobs. Many years ago, I remember a good freelancer of mine telling me how she had learned more in the previous 12 months of freelancing than she had in the prior four years of working full time. When you become a freelancer, you learn very quickly how to present yourself to your clients, how to ask the right questions to define the brief and how to do one task in a multitude of ways, depending on what your client requires.
There is no denying it can have it’s moments where it is tough and gruelling however name me any job out there that doesn’t have those moments. Perhaps one of the biggest fears from freelancers though is the uncertainty around where the next job will be coming from. While you might be employed now for a couple of weeks, beyond that could be a big scary void and if you’re not used to that constant forward thinking that is required to ensure a constant stream of work, then you might experience anxiety about what the future has in-store.
To help with this, I’ve come up with 5 tips to help increase your chances of finding freelance work.
Keep your recruitment consultant up to date on your availability.
If you’re going through a recruitment consultant, ensure that you let them know when you’re around and available. If you’re not going through a recruitment consultant and you’re struggling to find work, then ask yourself why not? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have multiple streams of opportunity coming to you over relying upon your own lead generation and pure luck? Partner with a good recruitment consultant and they will be out there championing you to their clients with the intention that it is going to be ‘first in, best dressed’ to secure your excellent services.
But not that much.
You know when you’re busy and it can just be hard to get on top of the calls coming your way? Imagine if you’re doing that for a living! Keep your recruitment consultant in the know however daily (or even more) calls, emails and messages are going to take you from being hot property to being ignored. Update them at the start of the week and if circumstances change and that should keep them happy. Keep in mind that we’re all in the same industry and if you’re quiet, then chances are others are quiet too.
Keep your skills up to date.
Got down time? Then take a moment to ask what the current trends are in the industry and consider updating your skills. As much as you might hate them, skills with Microsoft Office and Keynote are often sought after skills. Digital is also an area that is constantly evolving and expanding. Doing some self-initiated personal development is going to show that you take your ability to be employable very seriously and have more strings to your bow to offer.
The role of LinkedIn - have a profile and mention Freelance.
Like it or not, LinkedIn has revolutionised how the corporate and professional world connect. There are large organisations out there who now hire entire teams of people who solely use LinkedIn to find the best talent out there. With that in mind, and given that it costs you absolutely nothing, having a LinkedIn profile if you’re a freelancer is absolutely essential. A few tips within that (although that could be a whole other article in itself); use a professional looking photo, no selfies that you’ve pinched from Facebook and always make sure you put in as much detail as you into your profile. This means making sure that you include the world FREELANCE in there as this will be a searchable keyword. There is no shame in being a professional freelancer so you may as well embrace it and put it out there!
Ensure your folio is up to date.
If you are in a position within the creative industry that requires a folio, make sure you keep it up to date. I get it that it can be hard for professional freelancers to keep their folio up to date. For a start, they’re not working on work that they can always use in their folio (ask for written permission from your site manager before you ever use work you’ve done for freelance) and if they’re flat chat, they’re rarely going to have the time to update it. However, these excuses aside, it is a visual industry and your potential clients are going to want to see examples of your work to see what you can do. While there is going to be no clear cut solution around some of these problems, it is something to consider as you approach each job.
Follow these key tips and you’ll be finding more clients coming to you, more recruitment agents have a stress free experience in placing you and you finding that the stream of clients coming to you is going to make that potential anxiety quickly diminish.
Of course, if you have any thoughts, questions or simply would like to get in touch with me, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find me and connect with me on LinkedIn.