Many IT specialists are choosing to become independent and work for themselves. Freelancers get the freedom to work on subjects of their choice, gain full transparency and control surrounding pricing and can work hours that suit them and their lifestyle/family. Furthermore, freelancer’s experience a diversity of sectors and projects, the opportunity to support startups, as well as working with large enterprises.
If you’re considering taking the leap to become a freelancer, this article will give you some top tips to kick start your career.
Define your service
Decide your niche; what experience do you have and what areas do you excel in? There is a huge demand for talent but in order to win those big projects, you need to stand out.
Build your portfolio
Sometimes this involves taking some unpaid work if you are new to the field to get yourself off the ground.
If you have got experience, build a portfolio to showcase your past projects and accomplishments. Include case studies, testimonials, data-driven results, images, charts, work samples, and mock-ups. This is your chance to really sell yourself!
It is crucial to network and start building relationships with target clients and decision makers across the industry. Attend events, reach out on LinkedIn and start making your personal brand known.
Research and sign up to freelance job posting platforms, leverage existing connections and look into marketing and advertising opportunities. We highly recommend registering with a recruitment agency or online network to really drive your client growth.
Research how to create a proposal and build a structure or template which you are comfortable using. It often includes the company’s needs/brief, how you can help and examples of relevant past projects.
It is important you choose a style which works for you and showcases your value and capabilities clearly.
Make sure that you take the time to make each proposal unique. Taking the time to tailor your proposal for specific projects demonstrates your commitment and interest in the opportunity, increasing the likelihood of winning the contract.
Decide your rate
Research the market and analyse the going rate. You want to get paid as much as possible without losing out on potential contracts due to pricing being too high. There is a wide range of factors to consider including; years experience, industry, project duration/complexity and urgency.
Remember, you can always change your pricing structure in the future as you become more experienced.
Create formal processes and encourage feedback at every stage of the relationship; from receiving the brief, to sending the quote and upon payment/completion of the project.
When you receive the brief and send your proposal, make sure you include as much relevant information as possible. If you don’t hear a response, follow up explaining your genuine interest in the project and examples of previous work. Your passion and tenacity will play dividends in growing your client base.
When you send your quote through, ask if there are any other decision makers you can send it to and when you can expect to hear from them/next steps. If this timeframe passes and you still haven’t heard, we recommend you follow up asking if they have any questions regarding the proposal, cost, timeframe or process suggested.
Be prepared for a negotiation and have information readily available to explain and justify your proposal. This will strengthen your credibility, expertise and confidence in your ability to complete the work.
Once the project is completed, ask for feedback and take note of any constructive criticism for future work. If you get a glowing recommendation, ask if they would be comfortable with you sharing that recommendation with your network.
The IT/technology market is constantly evolving and changing. There are always new languages being developed and softwares launched. Keeping up with new trends, adapting to change and expanding your skillset is vital to ensure you can support a wide range of clients no matter what technology the business uses.