If you have been considering a career change and are thinking about working for yourself, it’s natural to have doubts and fears. However, it’s important to remember that many people have successfully transitioned from permanent employment to freelancing or contracting, and you can too. In this article, we will address some common concerns and provide you with information and advice to help you take the leap.
1. Recognize your transferable skills: Before embarking on a freelance career, evaluate your marketable skills. You need to identify a niche or in-demand skill that you can transfer from your current employer to your clients. Don’t be discouraged by the misconception that only project-based skills are marketable. Many roles require contractors to manage capacity or provide coverage in various scenarios. For example, if you are a journalist, you can offer your writing skills to multiple publications.
2. Gain experience: Some individuals believe they have the necessary transferable skills but lack experience in applying them. While clients do prefer experienced contractors, it’s possible to gain relevant experience in just a few months. Each project you undertake will contribute to your skillset, and you can also invest in formal training to keep your skills up-to-date. Offering your services for free to gain experience and goodwill is another option.
3. Find work opportunities: If you possess the skills and experience, finding freelance work should not be a challenge. Numerous job boards and recruitment agencies specialize in matching contractors with suitable roles. Mastering the art of crafting an impressive CV and excelling in contract-specific interviews is crucial. While rejection is inevitable at first, it’s all part of the learning curve. Perseverance and following available advice and support will eventually result in finding work.
4. Overcome financial worries: Starting a business as a freelancer is relatively inexpensive. All you need is a computer, access to the internet, and the necessary software for your role. Accountants often offer free company incorporation and three-month packages, and insurance can be paid monthly. The primary financial barrier you might face is not securing work immediately. Before leaving your job, make sure you have saved enough to cover at least two to six months of living expenses.
5. Age is not a limitation: Age should not deter you from pursuing freelancing or contracting. Older individuals can leverage their experience and expertise, while younger workers can capitalize on their fresh perspectives and cutting-edge skills. Demand for different skill levels varies, and there are opportunities for experienced professionals and recent graduates alike.
6. Overcoming other barriers: Some roles may require credit or security checks, which can pose challenges. However, there are plenty of contracts available that do not necessitate these checks. If you have a poor credit history, work on improving it over time. Security clearance can be a time-consuming process with potential outcomes that are beyond your control, but remember that there are still opportunities available.
Making the transition to freelance work may seem daunting, but many people have taken the plunge and succeeded. By identifying your marketable skills, gaining experience, finding work opportunities, addressing financial concerns, and embracing your unique assets, you can overcome any doubts or fears. Don’t let another year go by without exploring the possibilities that freelancing offers.