Freelance Careers

by Waller Jamison

With so many jobs no longer secure, more and more people are looking into the possibility of becoming a freelancer. This is a particularly good option for types of work which can easily be done on a contract basis.

Working as a freelancer is an option which can secure you a part-time or full-time income. Many people start off with a few small contracts and gradually build up their client base until they have enough work to give up their job.

If you have been working for 15 or 20 years, you will have developed skills which will enable you to work as a freelance consultant in your field.

Areas which lend themselves particularly well to freelance work include writing, accountancy or book-keeping, computer programming, graphic design, web development, business consultancy, tutoring and translation.

Often, if a company is downsizing and decides to outsource work, it will outsource to people who are currently on the payroll.

So instead of simply losing their jobs, they continue the same work as before, but in a freelance capacity, so they are self-employed rather than employed. Not everyone is lucky enough to be given this opportunity.

But if you have been made redundant or are about to be, it is worth considering setting up as a freelance consultant, offering your skills to employers on a contract basis. It's a  great idea if you have had enough of being told what to do by someone else or feel you could do much better on your own.

If you are going freelance, you'll have to make sure there is a demand for your services and then you'll need to market yourself.

Consider the way in which clients are most likely to look for the service you are offering. Will they go to the Yellow Pages or search online, or look in a trade or professional journal or the local newspaper?

You will need to determine your advertising budget and start-up costs. It is likely that you will need an answering machine or service, a computer with internet access and a website. You'll also need letterhead and business cards and you might consider leaflets, especially if your clients are likely to be local.

If your existing job is not readily adaptable to freelance work, think of the aspects of it which might be or skills that you have developed elsewhere which would enable you to become a freelancer. For some ideas go to Freelance Opportunities.