Whether you are launching your first career or transitioning into a new one, you should consider the option of freelancing as a stepping stone to develop your skills and confidence. According to a recent report by Upwork and Freelancers Union, there are an estimated 57.3 million Americans currently freelancing. However, the thought of being your own boss may be daunting and it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Here are some tips to help you launch a career as a freelancer.
Develop Your Personal Brand Story
With literally millions of freelancers on the market, setting yourself apart is key to attracting the right clients. Developing your career story will help you with creating a resume and content for your social media profiles to showcase your personal brand. Write down answers to the following questions to begin brainstorming and outlining a plan.
- What value do I provide and what problems do I solve for others?
- Who are my target clients? or What is my target industry?
- How do I want the world to see me?
Avoid Conflicts of Interest at Work
This may be obvious to most, but if you are currently employed this is a point worth mentioning—especially if you have a written agreement or contract with your employer. You may need to disclose your plans to your employer to ensure that there are not any perceived conflicts of interest. Additionally, plan your business hours to manage your time effectively and avoid using company time for your freelance venture.
Develop a Marketing Plan
Start researching organizations that may need your services and create a plan to build relationships with contacts there directly. I also recommend searching through your connections on social media for prospects. Then, use components of your personal brand story to craft a pitch that effectively highlights your strengths as you communicate with prospective clients.
For additional tips, watch the recording of the webinar I hosted, Building Your Career Through Freelancing, featuring UMUC alumna Bianca J. Jackson ‘10. During this session we discussed how she turned her branding and marketing hustle into full-time consulting.
Cathy Francois, MBA, GCDF, is the assistant director of career programming for Career Services at University of Maryland University College and a certified Global Career Development Facilitator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University. Cathy’s career began in advertising sales and customer service, after which she transitioned into higher education, working as an admissions advisor. She also served as an academic advising and career services for over seven years. Cathy has a passion for helping people succeed and uses her diverse experience and interpersonal skills to bring a personalized approach to career coaching.