The economy is changing and the job market reflects its growth. Our workforce is increasingly consisting of free translators and contractors. In fact, nearly half of all workers will make a living as freelancer workers by 2020.
Diverting from the traditional occupations of the company and towards the dream of working for yourself brings a lot of benefits. You enjoy more freedom and flexibility as you walk out on your own. You set your own schedules, goals, and even pay.
Theoretically, your earning potential is unlimited when you work as a freelancer. There is no one above you who set a salary and you can value your work according to your value. And although, yes, you miss the steady salary you receive from the employer, you are entitled to a new type of security. If you lose your job, you will lose all your income.
As a freelancer, you can work on multiple projects and with multiple clients at the same time. If you lose a performance contract, you lose only a portion of your income – not all.
There are many reasons to start a free career. Ready to try it for yourself? Before you make the leap and transition away from your current job, consider 3 things you should have to ensure success for your new business.
1. Online Hustle
Take advantage of the power of the Internet and hang your virtual planks by creating your own online platform. Increasingly, people are using the web to find what they need, study options, and connect with others. And as a freelancer, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t offer real products, an online presence is essential.
This does not need to be complicated. The online platform simply means something that you completely own and control. This can be a website to showcase your work and expertise. You can include your home page, referral page, service page, and contact page so people know who you are and what you do.
Or you can start a blog (or add one to your website). Blogs are great tools for starting a free career, as they allow you to share what you know and show your authority. Your blog can also help others find you online, if they’re looking for something specific that you’ve written a post about.
Depending on the type of work you do, another option for the online platform is the portfolio. If you are a visual artist or have some kind of tangible product that you can recommend, you can set up a portfolio to organize your previous work and display it.
You need to have your online platform before you start working freely, as it serves as your main center or facility. It makes it easier for people to find you or your services, connect with you, and introduce you to others because there is something to send people in.
2. Let your work be known
Having a foundation is a good start. But it wouldn’t be good for you if no one knew it was there. This is where digital reputation is created and maintained.
This can appear as a follow-up social media, membership in certain online communities or groups, or a list on the website of a professional organization or association. Your reputation on the web serves several purposes for you:
It builds credibility when people can see you’ve got connections and contacts. It’s a form of social proof.
It gives you someone to guarantee you and your work. People access resources found online with some skepticism, so building a good reputation will help you build trust.
It gives you a network to rely on when you need resources, advice, or leads.
You can start your free career from scratch, but that gives you an up hard fight to overcome. Oral marketing is a powerful tool when you’re just starting out, and you can get many of your first customers or performance contracts through referrals in your network.
Like the corporate world, success in free work may not depend on what you know – but on who (and who knows you!). Build your reputation and network, and the transition to your free career will be much smoother.
3. Know your audience
You can know what kind of work you want to do as a freelancer. But do you know who you want to do it for? Before you jump out on your own, take a moment to think about your ideal customer or project.
A lot of free translators fall into the trap of wanting to work with everyone instead of being selective in the work they undertake. The idea of refusing to do business, especially when you’re just starting out, is scary! But you will be more successful if you can find a niche, or a specific market segment, and focus on serving their specific needs.
This allows you to get a more concise message about what you do. When you can clearly communicate what you do and to whom, it’s easier for others to understand your work and values. You also get a better understanding of your customers as you focus on a specific team to serve and therefore can provide better work for them.
You can start your free career now
Yes, this is required before you start your free career. But here’s the good news: you can get started now! You don’t have to quit your job and start working freely from scratch. Instead, start now when you’re still doing your current job.
Use some free time to plan your business so you can start identifying the niche you want to serve. Take the time to build your website or add it to your portfolio. Start connecting online, with social media, and by joining relevant communities.
With this slow and steady approach, you can gradually develop a successful and sustainable full-time free career.