Last month, a NewWaves.io conference was organized for the for the European Freelancer Week on the subject: How to become a Freelancer ?
There was an introduction about the freelancer market by us and then the first speech from Hopwork’s co-founder Hugo Lassiège about why to become a freelancer and how to find customers; and the second speech about the possible legal statuses in France. Let’s focus on the first intervention — since every country has its own statuses — and we have also added our beliefs at NewWaves.io
Why becoming a Freelancer ?
Because yes, the reasons are important. There are the systemic reasons:
- Polarization of the labor market : there are less and less mid-class jobs and more and more low-qualified jobs or high-qualified and creative jobs… fewer jobs are created!
- It means more unemployment : it is a way to find a new job.
- And also less permanent contracts and more fixed-term contracts : so why not being self-employed if I have to find new jobs often ?
And there are, of course, the personal reasons:
- The money ? Obviously, but it should not be the only reason nor principal reason ! Or you may regret it… Especially as you are not sure to earn more money being a freelancer than you were earning before.
- Flexibility: are you a morning person or do you prefer to work at night ?
- Freedom and autonomy: no more bosses (but customers who are paying you… be careful!) you can work where you want and with who you want etc.
- Work / life balance: take holidays easily if you want to… Work less or set your calendar to be more in tune with your family activities…
- Working remotely (or even being a digital nomad!): want to work from your home ? From a near coworking space ? Or even from Bali ? It is possible!
- A job with meaning: you can choose a job that you love and/or impactful.
How to set-up as a Freelancer ?
You have to jump from your comfort zone to a dark zone where the magic happens… but there is no magic sauce on how to handle the landing!
However, here are some tips:
- Start small : start by creating your portfolio while you are still working in a company or while you are a student. Begin with a price lower than the average (but not too low) and then increase your price.
- Say no (sometimes) : yes you can! For example, when a contract was not enough valuable for you compared to the time you spent. Or, if the customer was annoying… Say no the next time he wants to work with you.
- Try to schedule your workday : it will help you being more productive and do not forget to take some breaks !
- Put deadlines to your tasks : you can make to-do lists or use task managers (for example Wunderlist) it will help organize your priorities.
- Find the right place to work and the right way : at home with a second screen ? Alone or surrounded by people like in a coffee shop or slow coffee ? Or in a co-working with friends ? Find what suits you the best and do not hesitate to change and alternate. You also have the co-homing (e.g.: cohome.in) where you are going to work in a private apartment or house.
- Don’t stay alone all time and go out to breathe fresh air if you work at home !
How to find customers ?
Network ! Indeed, the most important thing, especially at the beginning, is your network ! And you can make it grow thanks to networking :
- Online networking : Facebook groups, Linkedin groups, forums…
- Offline networking (bring business cards) : meetup events, conferences, afterworks, workshops…
Brand yourself with a website and/or a portfolio. You can also have a blog or Medium and write a post about your own topics. You should also have at least a Linkedin profile and profiles in specialized websites dedicated to your area of expertise. For example a Dribbble for designers or Github for developers. It might also be interesting to have a social media strategy like on Pinterest for designers or in Quora for everyone.
Create profiles in freelancers platforms like Upwork, Hopwork, Freelancer.com, 99designs or Codeurs.com. There are the general ones and others specialized in various fields : coding, design, writing…
You can also join communities like jechercheundev.fr or mangrove…
Ask for referrals : if your customer is happy with the work you have done, you should ask for referrals and recommendations.
If you are French or Moroccan and want to start as a Freelancer, the “auto-entrepreneur” status is perfect!
Another interesting option, for all, might be to apply for the Estonian e-Residency and then create an Estonian company online (especially if you want to be nomad or travel).
Now it is your turn to jump, good luck 😉