Freelancing is the kind of work pattern that gives you the flexibility and margin to do self-employed projects, and earn a good deal as well. However, no matter how much good freelancing reaps you, it is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea. Therefore, to launch a career in freelancing it is advisable to start it on a part-time basis.
Freelancing has a number of benefits ranging from personal comfort to financial gain and individual recognition. Even so, I have seen many freelancers finding themselves at a dead end during the process. Reason being, either the fluctuating income affects their household or they simply get swallowed by powerful competitors. If you ever do have a disastrous end to your freelance career, it can be very difficult to taking that detour back towards full-time employment.
Here is where the importance of part-time freelancing jumps in. Part-time freelancing gives you the opportunity to experiment and test your skills in a freelance career without risking your regular livelihood. It also allows you to learn new skills by working on an array of diverse projects, which in all probability you would be unlikely to experience in an employment where you are required to work on a limited number of your company’s fixed clientele.
Keeping the aforementioned points in mind, here a few tips to start and maintain part-time freelancing:
A Portfolio Site – Showcase Your Work to the World
When starting a career in freelancing, it is important to let yourself be known to the world. For this purpose, a portfolio site is the best thing to attract potential clients. If you are already in the field of designing and in full-time employment, it will be much easier for you to develop a portfolio out of the work you did there. Otherwise you may need to work on some projects (perhaps pro-bone) specifically for the purpose of building up your portfolio.
Spend a good deal of time on developing a portfolio site that not only showcases the work you are most proud of, but also work that demonstrates your full range of skills. Don’t pile up the site with just anything and everything and also keep updating it regularly.
Moreover having the right portfolio theme is equally important as its content. Although there are a bundle of WordPress Portfolio Themes available, however, it is important to choose the best from the rest in terms of usability, suitability and, of course, uniqueness.
Focus on Experience, instead of Financial Gains
When stepping into part-time freelancing, it is advisable to keep your regular job as your main source of income. It will enable you to gain experience without having to worry to much about the financial side. Although, by taking this approach you will earn less in the short-term, however, focusing on experience will enable you to improve your skills, understand different types of clients and gain much experience that will prepare you for taking that final leap from freelancing part-time to full-time.
Keep Practicing through Personal Projects
Starting a freelance career comes with the struggle of finding new projects and clients. Even in the middle of a successful freelance career, you may find ‘client dry-spells’ which may leave you with no project to work on. Sitting idle is very discouraging and you may end up suffering from creative block. In such a situation, it is advised to keep on working on personal projects. These personal projects may include projects from family and friends or for some charitable organization. Although, it is good to keep looking for new design projects, however, don’t get so over occupied in it that it diverts your attention and starts affecting your focus.
Map out a Work Schedule
Part-time freelancing is often accompanied by a regular employment. Apart from a 9 to 5 job, a part-time freelancer has a number of other things to manage as well, including household tasks, giving time to the family and personal relaxation and recreation. Therefore it is crucial for a part-time freelancer to devise a proper work schedule to make the most of their time.
Distraction can be the biggest hurdle for a part-time freelancer. It is common, when starting in freelance, for people to either get too indulged in it or too distracted in other things around, and it is very likely that such individuals look back a few months down the road and realize that they have made very little progress. If you develop a habit of scheduling the work right from the beginning and remembering it is a business, you will not regret it, as it will help you to run an organized freelance career.
Develop Your Standout Factor
In the world of cut-throat competition, the ‘standout factor’ is what vouches your success. Especially, if you have plans to convert part-time freelancing into a full-time freelance career, it is important for you to discover and develop your ‘standout factor’ that will allow you to survive in the freelance world of growing competition. This may be your client dealing, a particular expertise, a unique way for marketing or some value added service (on-spot delivery, professional copywriting or printing services etc).
Once you have developed an angle that differentiates you from the rest, put all of your efforts in letting potential clients know about it.
Follow Your Own Business Patterns
Business patterns are crucial for the successful management of your business. Devising your own business patterns saves your time, costs and resources and will add in the contentment factor to your work. The basic work patterns include work schedule, invoicing and payments, outsourcing, networking, customer services and marketing.
The more you can streamline your processes for these activities, the more time you will have for actual design work. If you do successfully follow your business patterns in part-time freelancing, it will be much easier for you to adapt when you go full-time as well.
Be Comfortable about Pricing
Pricing and Invoicing is one of the most crucial aspects of a freelance business. It is at this point when the freelancer actually gets the reward for their efforts and services. However, pricing your design services can be very difficult. Especially for new freelancers. Use your part-time freelancing status as a test-bed and experiment with the pricing, you will then be able to devise the best pricing pattern through trial and error.
There is one rule for pricing design services and that is, there is NO rule! Therefore, the best tip in design pricing is to balance your rates between what you feel comfortable with and with what you feel you have earned. If you would like to keep your rates low while you are just starting out, there is nothing wrong with that. Similarly, if your client is comfortable with paying you a handsome amount for your services, then again, there is no issue in charging them accordingly.
Network on Regular Basis
Last but not the least; networking is as important for freelance designers as business development. Networking, if maintained, comes with a number of benefits that range from business development, staying up-to-date with new techniques and making new connections from the people in your field. Especially for the part-time freelancers, it is important to develop strong connections that may help in the future.
Having a career in freelance design is a great opportunity. There are a number of designers these days who desire to be able to set their own hours and work from home. However, taking freelancing as the main source of your bread and butter is not initially the best idea, and not advised. Therefore, perhaps you should stick with your regular job and take up part-time freelancing until you know that you are ready to take that final step into full-time freelancing.
Part-time freelancing requires efficient management of time and resources that may equip you for the greater challenges ahead. Take the luxury of accepting and rejecting any project that does or does not suit you and don’t spare any opportunity to let the people know that you mean business!