As we make baby steps closer to the summer months, the Freelance & Interim desk at Hasson Associates is getting busier and busier (in fact, it’s taken me 2 weeks to write this blog as I’ve only had time to write one sentence at a time!) with interesting new roles and some great new candidates.
Recently, I’ve not only been contacted by a lot of permanent candidates considering freelance in the long term, but also a lot of clients who have never taken on freelancers, both unsure of how to start, and what to expect from the world of freelance.
Having asked both my clients and candidates, I’ve put together a list of helpful tips for both clients and candidates starting out.
5 Top Tips for being a Successful Freelancer
Be Proactive: Make the first move, introduce yourself to companies who might require your services in the future. Get registered with some recruiters* as they will often be the first port of call for clients, meaning that a recruiter will have the brief before it’s been advertised. (* Find a balance when registering with recruiters. Don’t register with every single one or there will be a lot of overlap with roles. Pick 2 or 3 you find trustworthy).
Be Responsive: If someone (recruiter or direct) has approached you with a project or potential contract, but you are currently involved in a contract or the rate is too low, be careful not to just ignore the message. A quick email back is all it takes and you will be remembered positively and contacted again in the future for further work.
Be Flexible: This goes both ways. Most clients are happy to provide some sort of flexibility, but it’s always good to be willing to go over and above your duties once in a while too. Just don’t make a habit of giving away your services for free or a for a reduced rate, as this can encourage people to take advantage.
Network: Keep in touch with old work colleagues, attend events (bring business cards!), use LinkedIn to your advantage, join online communities, create an online portfolio or blog so your targets know who you are and what you do.
If long-term, consider a Ltd. Company: This is the most cost effective way to freelance. Not only does it save you money, it saves on paperwork for both sides and you will save more on taxes than operating as a sole trader.
5 Top Tips for being a Successful Employer of Freelancers
Treat with Respect: If a senior freelancer agrees to do some basic project work for less than their going rate, don’t take advantage and get them doing director level work.
Their Time is Their Money: After an interview come back to them with news as soon as you can, don’t keep them waiting. Be clear about when a project starts. If they are told it commences in one week, but it starts the week after, that’s one week’s pay they have potentially missed. It may not seem like much, but it adds up!
Offer Flexibility: More often than not, the reason somebody moves into freelancing is because they enjoy their work, but for various reasons (starting a family, moving out of the city, picking up kids from school) need more flexibility in their hours, or the option to work remotely. Keep this in mind and be aware that if you give more flexibility, you will probably end up with a loyal network of freelancers you can keep coming back to.
Build a Positive Relationship: One key point is to create a positive start. This includes an in depth briefing on day one, an outline of what you expect from them, what they can expect from you. Pay them on time and correctly. A sure way to sour a budding relationship is to mix up on a payment or ‘lose’ an invoice.
Give Feedback: Just like you would with any employee, give feedback! Everyone loves to hear good things about their work and feeling appreciated. With freelancers, because they’re not employed by your business it is tempting to just take the work and wave goodbye, but checking in with them regularly and being grateful for their good work is a great way to seal an ongoing professional relationship.
I hope this has been helpful and if you are interested in interim and freelance work do get in touch – I’m more than happy to provide further advice and help you make freelancing a long term and rewarding option!