5 Tips on Developing Your Freelance Career

We are all feeling the pinch of the economy but my heart goes out to the young, however they do have one benefit – there are opportunities if you think creatively. One way I try and help is to publish guests posts to show the talent out there – here is this weeks.

Every student who
wants to launch a freelance career has the same goal:  to build a brand and gain experience. The problem is finding
opportunities to build that brand when you have little to no job experience.
Everybody’s got to start somewhere, so you’ll want to make those first
freelance jobs pay off in big ways.

Your driving ambition
doesn’t have to stall out at the starting gate if you try these 4 ways to
jump-start a freelance career!

    1. Go Pro:  Pro Bono, that is!

 Offer your services to a charity, school or
organization that could benefit from your particular skill set. You’re
exchanging work for word-of-mouth advertising, which is extremely valuable in
any field. Reserve the right to prominently display your blog or contact
information on your product, and if the beneficiary of your hard work is
pleased with the product, don’t be shy about asking for a referral or letter of
recommendation. Don’t overlook the power of referrals on social media such as
Facebook or Twitter, either! 

Pro Bono Bonus:  You’ll
get a good idea of how long projects will take, any time-management challenges
you’ll face, and how much to charge a paying client for comparable work.

Red Flag: pro bono work can take over your schedule, as you may become invested
in a good cause. Keep in mind that you’re working without pay; it’s no excuse
not to do your best work, but pay close attention to the time you spend on
volunteer projects. Don’t let pro bono work rob valuable time from your studies
or paid projects.

 Internships can become very profitable
opportunities. As with pro bono clients, they carry plenty of possibilities for
referrals and recommendations. In some cases, internships offer a salary on top
of the extensive experience in your field and ample networking. Use an
internship to do the work you only read about in your college classes! You’ll
empower yourself to apply practical skills in real work situations, and you can
also gain focus on skills you wish to highlight as you build
your brand.

Internship Bonus:  you
can sometimes get credit toward your degree for work you’ve completed during your
internship. Check with your academic adviser before beginning an internship to
find out how to get course credit, and you can consider that internship an
essential stop on your road toward a diploma.

Red Flag:  Don’t expect to get paid well
for internships; in some cases, you won’t be paid at all. Make sure all
arrangements are clear in advance.

  • Get Help and Get Hired.

 A freelancing service will allow you to focus
on the job rather than the networking. It will help match you to jobs that best
fit your skill set. This is a huge time-saver, especially for students who have
little time to spare.

Service Bonus:  you won’t have to handle your
own marketing or billing. All you’ll need to concentrate on is providing
excellent work.

Red Flag:  Avoid services that charge a
fee for signing up. All fees should be paid by your employer. 

  • Blow Your Own Horn.

While
you hone your skills in your chosen field, don’t neglect your own online profile. Current clients and future employers will go
online to learn about you, your abilities and your work experience.

Self-promotion bonus:  You
can build the social-media skills your clients will depend upon as you develop
your brand.

Red flag:  Be careful about what you post
online—it’s all a reflection on you.

Use one or all of
these methods to build your career as a freelancer—and don’t miss an
opportunity to take advantage of the bonuses each method provides. It’s all
about maximizing the return on your investment of effort, energy and ingenuity.
In the meantime, you’ll be building a brand and a professional reputation.

This guest post was written by Amelia Hadfield, a recent university graduate and freelance writer, currently working with UK promotional gifts distributor Ideasbynet on their personal branding series. This resource helps guide job seekers through the ins and outs of developing an online personal brand.

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