What to remember whilst you’re freelancing

We deal with freelancers on a regular basis and we understand how competitive this dynamic workforce is, and how quickly freelance opportunities can get snapped up.

The demand for freelance work in the creative, digital and tech industries has grown significantly over the last few years, with freelancers owning 40% of the media workforce. Therefore, we wanted to share some tips about how to stay ahead of the game and what to remember whilst you’re working for yourself. So…here’s a scenario that might be very close to home for you guys:

You’re a great freelancer – you’re super skilled, you have loads of experience, are reputable and you have fab credentials. You have clients BUT you’re still on the lookout for more opportunities…

The recruiter (whether in-house or an agency) looking for freelancers is normally in ‘active recruitment mode,’ meaning they have a deadline, a budget, and they will be advertising the role in various ways, and probably all over social media, so you won’t be the only candidate!

So here are some pointers to ensure you have the best possible chance of getting the work!

  • Be Vigilant

Read the advertisement carefully – we can’t stress this enough. Ensure you have the capabilities and availability to take on this opportunity, and that you are happy to offer the hours needed, and work in the location suggested (e.g if the advertisement for the role says “office based in Bristol” – don’t apply if you are based in London and want to work from home!

Ensure you do what the application form requires, for example if they ask for your CV and covering letter through email…send just that!

  • Be Prepared

If you’ve been happily self-employed for several months/years, there’s a strong possibility your CV and LinkedIn profile have been gathering virtual cobwebs.

If a freelance opportunity lands in front of you, you need to already be happy and confident with your documents rather than wasting precious time trying to update them against the clock. Your CV should be updated every time a significant work event arises (a training course/workshop), or when you take on/finish with a client.

We have some great guides on how to write a good CV, covering letter and portfolio, which can be tailored to freelancers:

Tips for a great CV

How to write a great covering letter

Why portfolios matter for creative professionals

It is also vital that your LinkedIn profile is constantly being updated (just like your CV). In this day and age, it has never been so important to build and maintain a current, relevant LinkedIn page. It’s a visual representation of your career and personality, and IS the best platform to promote yourself, so why wouldn’t you? Make sure you include all your responsibilities/a detailed synopsis of your work experience, and links to work you’ve done. This is especially important for freelancers as it showcases your skills and experience to potential clients.

Also have a portfolio ready as most clients want to see a displayed showcase of your work.

When emailing the recruiter/client your CV, covering letter and portfolio, be sure to include your day rate and availability, saves time in the long run.

Lastly, expect to be asked to agree to GDPR and confidentiality statements and safeguards!

  • Be Quick

As mentioned before, you always need to be on the ball and have your CV, LinkedIn profile and portfolio ready for when you see something you want to apply for. Please remember that freelance roles are in very high demand, so there will be multiple applications for every role advertised.

  • Be Adaptable

You need to be adaptable and open-minded about changing work trends. Even if you stick to a preferred niche, learning about that niche never really stops. Any industry will experience changes over the years, and it’s important for you to stay aware of all new developments.

Most of you will learn loads as you go anyway, but it’s important to set aside time each week/month just to keep up-to-date with the latest goings-on within your niche. You must ensure you are at the forefront of any new developments so you can be confident you are providing the best possible services to your clients.

  • Be Realistic

Don’t over-promise and under-deliver, be realistic about whether you can take on the job, learn to say no if it isn’t going to be realistic for the client and your work/life balance.

  • Understand Expectations

You’ll need to be able to fully understand day rates and client expectations.

More and more employers who work with freelancers have a rate for the job to be done rather than a budget which is based on level of the candidate. For example, if the role is to pitch a particular story to the media and achieve coverage for the client, it’s likely that the rate on offer will be lower than a role requiring strategic input and client management. If you are an Account Director, but happy to work at a lower rate for a particular role/in certain circumstances, you must let the recruiter know or you will be missed for opportunities. It’s really important that you understand the role on offer and be flexible and adaptable.

Written by Isabelle Peters


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