The following is a guest post.
Freelancing as a Career
A freelancer works on a self-employed basis with no one in a position of seniority to tell them what to do. Choice of getting to work from the comfort of their own home is up to them. It’s a great career – if you can get it.
The work can vary between different fields and the skills required can vary just as much. Some of the most popular include freelance writing, website design or accountancy. Of course, while anyone with a good grasp of English and the ability to create good prose can write, it takes much, much more to learn the skills needed to build an attractive website design, and as for learning accountancy – well!
If you’re set on becoming a freelancer; then you’re going to need a plan of attack in order to reach your goal. If you’ve already got a specific set of skills, then congratulations, you’re already on the first rung of the ladder. Otherwise, you’re going to have to figure out what it is you can offer that is going to make people want to hand their money over to you and, perhaps more importantly, what your aims are for the future.
Let’s say you want to be a freelance writer. Great! Pick up a pen, grab some paper and let’s go. If only it were that simple! Who do you want to write for? What do you want to write? What style do you want to write in? These are all questions that can be answered by having a defined set of goals that will structure your work towards you becoming a popular and successful freelancer. So, with this in mind, there are a number of different approaches that can help you to set realistic and manageable goals.
Break your Goals into Manageable Steps
Take your goal and imagine that it’s a room at the top of a staircase. Now every step is a stage that needs to be fulfilled in order to climb towards it. (Some people’s staircases may be longer than others!)
1. Establish what you want to write about. Don’t try to be an encyclopedic journalistic wizard. Focus on one subject that you are passionate about, say video gaming.
2. Make sure you know your subject. Play video games, visit video game events and conferences, dream about video games.
3. Practice. Write at every spare moment and read a lot too. Nothing quite improves your vocabulary and writing ability as much as reading and writing.
4. The internet is massive and growing larger by the day. Anybody can have a blog, so get one. Write about video games: reviews, opinions on the industry, comments on new developments in technology; you get the idea.
5. Network with other people who are big in the industry: popular reviewers and bloggers, companies. Get involved and increase traffic to your blog.
6. Submit pieces to magazines (they don’t necessarily have to be gaming magazines). Also try websites or blogs that offer publication. At this stage, don’t concern yourself with being paid. Yes, you want money, but this is free exposure.
7. Had something published? Now, maybe, just maybe, somebody will pay for your work. But there’s still a long way to go.
Research Other Success Stories
The internet is a great thing. It lets us pry into other people’s lives, especially those who were ever successful enough to be interviewed and documented online. Research those regular guys (or girls) who started out wanting to be a freelancer but didn’t know how. Perhaps you have a specific role model in mind. Research their background. Read about where they came from, what steps led them to where they are now and digest this information. Sure, they could’ve got lucky, but chances are this will help you gain some idea of how you can achieve your own goals.
Learn a Skill
Of course, not everyone wants to be a writer. And remember, there are a LOT of writers out there, so as with a number of other areas, competition can prove quite fierce. If you’re up to the challenge, then great, but unless you’re totally committed and prepared for those inevitable rejections, don’t rule out other avenues. It’s often been said that you don’t choose writing, writing chooses you – so always be very sure before setting that initial goal.
Or perhaps you have a skill but you don’t think there’s much market for it. Then it’s time to learn something new. Website design, copywriting, computer programming, photography; these are just a select few of the numerous different skills that can lead to successful freelance work. But one thing’s for certain, whatever you choose to do, if you’re heart’s not in it, you’ll be unlikely to succeed. Take a look at that staircase once more and be sure that room at the top is one in which you really want to live.