What do you want to do when you grow up?
Although a seemingly harmless question, it may be quite daunting as young adults contemplate their future goals. Even if one knows what their career path may be, this might not make the journey any less stressful, especially if one’s dream job is to be a freelancer.
According to Indeed, freelance work is one of the most popular ways to make money in Canada, accounting for 15 per cent of the country’s workforce.
However, an article from The Globe and Mail notes, “The number of self-employed workers has flatlined since 2021, and is down roughly seven per cent since the pandemic began. As a result, the self-employed now account for the smallest share of all workers in more than 40 years.”
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted a lot of freelance workers by forcing everyone to remain indoors. Although some freelancers are capable of working remotely, the pandemic created concerns around this style of work because of its perceived lack of stability and the looming economic environment.
According to an article by CBC, “Self-employment in Canada had been growing steadily for several years, but over the course of the pandemic, it fell to its lowest level in more than a decade.”
The article highlights how large companies could easily transition through difficult times because of their size, but small businesses struggled without the same support systems in place.
Although the pandemic is seemingly behind us and freelance work has returned to semi-normal, many young aspiring freelancers are worried. Fortunately, there are plenty of helpful tips one can keep in mind before starting their freelance career to help them get ahead.
According to an article by Linkus, “Networking is an essential aspect of the freelancing world.”
Networking can be done in a variety of ways. It can be as simple as starting a conversation with peers or someone at an event. It is also a good idea to talk to friends or family to see who they know that could provide opportunities or information.
Due to the rise of technology in current times, networking can also be done through social media. Using social media, like Instagram or Facebook, is an easy way to connect with like-minded individuals. Other social media sites like LinkedIn allow easy access to a range of professional individuals.
Freelance workers should prioritize their research for a number of reasons. It can be useful for learning things like setting hourly rates or gauging competition. It can also help with understanding what is currently popular in one’s industry.
Research can also be a key component in finding customers.
Alison Peters, the national recruitment manager at McMillan LLP, says research is critical for getting any job, and it is best used to give oneself a step up.
Peters says, “If you do research, you can learn what will make you stand out to potential customers or employers.”
Peters also highlights the role cover letters and emails play in the research process.
“Your resume [should] remain the same throughout your search, but cover letters and emails give you a chance to tell them that you can do what they’re asking for.”
According to an article by FlexJobs, “Difficulty getting clients to pay is unfortunately a common problem for freelancers.”
Although receiving payment can be difficult in many situations, there are ways around it, such as creating payment terms in contracts or having online payment options that accept credit cards.
Before starting to work for a client, you can use your resources, such as other people in your field who you’ve networked with, to find out if your client is trustworthy.
Some clients may also try to get free work from you in the form of consultations. Although this may be of no harm and clients may hire you after this interaction, be cautious of them taking advantage of your free services. If they exceed your allotted consultation time limit or demand assistance beyond what you’re offering, requesting payment may be necessary to avoid getting ripped off.
While freelancing can be daunting, hopefully the tips in this article can guide anyone looking to get started in this line of work!