It’s no fun pounding the pavement, wearing your shoes and your spirit out, looking for work opportunities. You dutifully post your resumes online, network your heart out and attend career fairs, all with negative results. If you are frustrated by a tough job market, consider freelance or contract work as way to tide you over. With some luck, your temporary job could turn into a full time job. However, freelance work provides an opportunity to continue to develop your skills and earn some money at the same time. Many professionals in full time positions pursue freelance work as a way to enhance their salaries.
Digitization, smart phones, Skype and cloud technology have made freelancing a possibility in many fields. More often than not, you can complete your work tasks and assignments in the convenient confines of your own home.
Many people pursue freelance opportunities because it provides more flexibility and offers some creative control over projects. The ability to work at home, potential for additional income and growing a business are other popular reasons for considering freelance jobs. The downside is lack of benefits and, depending on your area of expertise, the salary may be lower than you expected. A common complaint among freelancers is not being paid on time.
The Freelancers Union is an online professional group that offers benefits, resources and a virtual community to its members. Even better, there is no cost to join. It also features a freelance job board that covers a wide variety of occupational fields and provides information and advice on writing contracts, handling taxes and finances and gives tips on how to make the most out of freelancing.
With the continual shifts that are naturally occurring in the economy and the job market, more employers will be hiring freelance and contract workers to support short-term projects and initiatives. This saves the employer time and money.
Popular Freelance Fields
Currently fields hiring the most freelancers include: accounting, Internet engineers, marketing, PR and advertising, business development and sales, TV, film and video, writing and editing and web development and design.
Determining how much to charge for your services is one of the biggest challenges freelancers initially face. There is no simple formula or average rates. Colleagues in your field, who have used freelancers, may be able to offer some advice on fees. Carefully assess the hours you will need to complete the project as well as expenses. It may take the experience of a few freelance projects to more adequately estimate required time and compensation.
Where to find Freelance Jobs
There are three major ways to get your name out there:
Many employers who hire freelancers will check with colleagues or other trusted professionals in their field for referrals.
If you are in the more artistic areas, like graphic design or photography, consider creating a profile with samples of your work on a portfolio websites.
Social networking sites including Facebook and LinkedIn are free and include applications that enable you to show examples of your work. It’s an ideal to way to advertise your services to a large group. Close to 90 percent of employers now conduct searches on LinkedIn to find both full time and freelance workers.
Try your local Craigslist where freelance, temporary jobs and part time jobs are posted.
There are many advantages to freelance work, but it can be isolating and take more of your free time than you realized, so make time to stay connected to friends, family and colleagues. Most freelance work requires many hours of sitting in front of your computer. Taking a daily walk or committing to an exercise plan will keep you motivated and in shape both physically and mentally.