A global IT freelancer. Isn’t that the dream?
While many believe that the role of a freelancer should fall to younger generations, such as millennials, this is far from the truth as more and more individuals, regardless of their age, are taking the step into the world for freelancing and the many benefits that it provides.
Whether it’s the fact that you want to work from anywhere in the world, in your favorite café, or even just at home so you can spend more time with your kids, there’s no reason why you can’t take the experience you’ve already got and turned it into something that you can do for yourself.
Today, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know to make that initial leap into the world of freelancing.
1. Speak English
According to study, English is renowned for being one of the universal languages out there, for science and IT as well, regardless of where your clients are based. Make sure that your verbal and written English communication skills are up to scratch before venturing out on your own.
Even if you think your English is at a professional level, you’ll be surprised with just how lax we can get, especially since the introduction of smartphones and texting.
2. Understanding Your Client
Since you’ll be dealing with customers from all over the world, the language and communication barrier, as well as the fact that you might not be able to see your client in person, makes it all the more important to ensure that you’re proactive in understanding your client’s needs.
Make sure that you’re asking the right questions, so you are both on the same page, and you understand the exact product for which your client is willing to pay you.
3. Build a Portfolio
Creating an online portfolio, such as a WordPress website, is ideal for showcasing your experience and testimonials to your potential clients. Make sure you displayed yourself how you would like your clients to see you, which is apparently in the best way possible.
Also, poor grammar will statistically scare away 59% clients, so make sure your writing is grammatically correct without any mistakes and typos. You can improve your skills by using writing guides. If you need urgent checking while chatting with a client online, you can use an online grammar checkers. This also relates to your portfolio.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
While you may specialize in a particular field of IT, such as website development, it can pay to improve your skills in other areas, so you can offer a complete package, and charge more. This might be graphic design, content writing or advertising channels.
If you’re choosing to write content, perhaps one of the essential skills, don’t forget to use optimal English that we spoke about above and use plagiarism checkers like Copyscape to ensure your content is always original.
5. Learn to Multitask
When you become a freelancer, you are the only one responsible for the work that needs doing. There are no coworkers to blame failure on or a boss to request coming to work every day.
You will have to become a master organizer and scheduler to get yourself to work.
Next, while working, you’ll have to communicate with multiple clients, accept or decline offers, pitch for next projects and do research at the same time. It will all be up to you.
The good thing is that this sense of responsibility will make you a multitasker on its own. However, this abrupt change in pace will undoubtedly cause some anxiety. Don’t worry! This is natural and will fade as you get better at work, fall into a routine – if there is such a thing with freelancing – and learn more.
6. Be Prepared to do Business
Freelancing in the IT industry is about more than just doing your job. You become your agent and manager. You have to learn how to do business.
First, you’ll need to learn how to sell yourself and your expertise. Pitching and finding clients will become a big part of your life, especially with IT freelancing where most of the work occurs on a per-project basis.
You’ll have to sell a product that is your work. At first, if you have no notable projects to speak of, you’ll have to set a slightly lower rate. As you progress and build a client base, the rate will go up.
In some cases, you’ll have to negotiate your rates. This is something that most freelancers struggle with, but it’s necessary. Value yourself and never below your current cost. Sometimes you’ll have to negotiate your deadlines – clients that are not experts in the IT industry don’t know how long it takes and sometimes feels like the job can is accomplishable faster. You’ll have to convince them that the time you need will make for better results.
Negotiation will be a big part of your daily life. As a global IT freelancer, you’ll also have to understand current economic issues of countries your clients come from, their monetary system and how it relates to yours and so on. There are also legal implications that you’ll have to handle on your own.
In the end, you’ll be an expert in much more than just IT. The beginnings are tough, but as time goes by, it gets easier.
7. Be Resilient
It’s inevitable that sometimes you’ll be rejected. It’s a part of the job, especially if you find clients by cold pitching.
It’s only natural to get disappointed. However, you need to learn to be resilient. It’s not personal or necessarily bad – it just pushes you to be better and offer more.
Some clients will not like your work once it’s complete. This is a bit harder to take than simple rejection. However, you should stay calm and be helpful, make the necessary changes and move on.
8. Network and Cold Pitch
Another big part of freelancing is finding clients. In some cases, they will seek you out. Typically, however, that comes later, as you become better and more known. At first, you’ll have to find them. Networking is an excellent way to start, but it can take a while. It means going to IT events, seminars, being present and active in online IT communities and so on. Your network in the hope that someone will need your expertise.
However, cold pitching is much faster. You are supposed to send emails to multiple companies, introducing your work, skills and knowledge and how those things can help improve their company. Cold pitches seem difficult in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll be easy.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when becoming a global IT freelancer. Present yourself as a professional business, find your niche and then give it everything you’ve got!