How Freelancing Can Help You Find a Career You LoveMar 02, 2023
During the COVID pandemic, when hourly and salaried workers stayed home and found they could accomplish more without the distractions of an office environment, everything about “work” changed. New digital tools such as those for remote conferencing like “Zoom,” while not perfect, far surpassed the old way of gathering everyone in one room and hoping nobody dozed off. Working from home became much easier with these tools.
Employees realized that there was life outside of “cubicleville,” (a very boring place to spend any time). Now, many of these talented people are experimenting with a side hustle. They are freelancing, and, in the process, they are finding a career they love.
Choosing the Best Freelance Job for You
“Freelancing is a perfect side hustle,” said Kathy Goughenour, founder and CEO of Virtual Expert® training. “It enables someone who might be unhappy with their current employment to test the waters on a new way to work. This freelancing can involve doing the work that the employee has done for years, or it can be something completely new for which they have the skills and passion.”
How does someone decide what type of freelancing job to pursue? Kathy doesn’t miss a beat.
“Cash in on the skills you already have,” she said. “Ask yourself how those can translate into freelancing. Here are a few of the ‘in-demand’ freelance skills that easily translate:
- Digital marketing of any type (email, affiliate, social media)
- Video and/or audio editing
- Customer service
- Graphic design
The Elephant in the Room
Many employees feel they need to keep a regular paycheck coming in WHILE they start up a side hustle as a freelancer. The BIG QUESTION becomes: How does a freelancer take on new work while keeping her current job without upsetting existing supervisors?
“My recommendation is to be upfront about it with your current employers,” Kathy said. “Let them know that you're starting a side hustle and what your goal is with it. Reassure your employer that all freelance work is done outside office hours, and they will see no decline in your productivity. In fact, it should be noted that the employer will benefit from this side hustle because you'll be learning more about the skills you use at your current job. Plus, this experience will teach you valuable lessons on how to be a leader, which is a huge benefit to an employer.
“If your job requires that you never have a side hustle, you must abide by that requirement for as long as you are at this job. I might add (with a smile) that it might be time to start looking for another job that doesn't have this requirement!”
Freelancing Can Help You Find Your Passion
“Often, we think we know what we want to do,” Kathy explained. “However, when we tried it, we discovered it wasn’t what we'd imagined. That's how freelancing can help.
“You can provide any type of service that interests you. You can see how you like the work, and if you love it, do more of it. If you don't love it, identify what you DON’T love about it and what you DO love about it. Then find another service that fits that new information.
“In my personal journey, I thought I would love marketing. What I found was that a lot of clients want ‘techie’ work done as part of their marketing. Newsflash! I don't do tech—at all. So, I narrowed my niche to only include marketing strategy and writing, not tech.
“Ta-da! I LOVE that part of marketing!”
Roadmap to a New Life of Freelancing
Becoming a freelancer is simple. Kathy suggests these steps:
“To start, decide what service you're going to provide.
“Next, update your LinkedIn profile to include that service. People search on LinkedIn and Google for those services and can find your LinkedIn profile. Additionally, prospects want to be able to verify that you're legitimate. Having a LinkedIn profile is a perfect way to demonstrate your legitimacy. If your employer requires that you only mention that you work for them, set up a “Facebook Business Page” instead. This is another reason why you need to talk with your employer, so you know their requirements.
“Then set your prices and create a contract template.
“Don’t forget to spread the word! Tell everyone you know about your new service, even those whom you know don't need it. They probably know someone who does need it.
“Finally, get training on how to find, get and keep clients. Our company can help you with this. This is the step most freelancers skip, and it is CRUCIAL to success."
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