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In this course, author and seasoned freelancer Tom Geller shows you how to prepare for a transition to freelancing. Begin by taking a look at your career goals, the systems that will support you, and proper ways to plan for success. Find out how to marshal your resources, refine your portfolio for presentation to clients, and estimate your costs to avoid any surprises on the financial front. Plus, discover how to create invoices, manage your books and taxes, expand your client base with marketing, and grow your business.
A bonus chapter covers common questions freelancers have when entering the field.
Even after you've started to make it as a freelancer, you'll have some choice over which jobs to take. I see such choices as a battle to balance three qualities in my life: security, variety, and success. Each job will have some quantity of each. Let's look at how to measure one against another. First is security. Jobs that score high on this quality are those that offer full-time work, are with established clients, involve work that you've done before, or that you know will pay reliably and well.
Moving on, some jobs offer variety. These include those with new clients so you can expand your base in case another client falls away. You might be using new skills to do things you haven't done before, or you might find yourself in a new environment, for example, using unfamiliar software or working in a new and interesting location. I value variety because it keeps my skills and outlook fresh, which in turn helps me stay motivated, and marketable. Finally, we have that nebulous criterion: success.
Jobs that fulfill your hunger for success might change your business in a positive way, or give you more of what you want. But the first and foremost measure of success is whether an opportunity helps you reach your long-term goals. To measure that, let's go back to a list from earlier in the course where we defined career goals. Here I listed some common reasons that people freelance, and then you added your own, and went through an exercise to pick out the ones that were most important to you. When you're faced with conflicting opportunities, revisit that list.
It will lift you above the immediate question and carry you back to your inner needs and desires. For example, let's say a client wants to fly you into their office for an intense two-week job preparing for a product launch. It's in a city you always wanted to visit, they'll pay for your flight and hotel, and you'll have a few hours every evening to wander around. On the other hand that two-week project will prevent you from taking a lucrative contract with a local client who has always been good to you.
So, do you take the job? The answer depends on a lot of factors including your relationship with both clients, how they will be affected if you say no, whether you expect more work from them in the future, and so on. But ultimately, you're going to have to answer to your own goals. If one of your goals was to travel and work remotely, then you will be biased to say yes. If on the other hand, your original goal was to have good pay and more time with your family, you're more likely to say no. Of course your goals will change over time, but I think your original statement of intent is a good touchstone when faced with such choices.
And really, my overriding point is to remind you to take the long view, especially because such dilemmas can cause anxiety whenever they crop up. Remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing, and you'll find that such questions answer themselves.
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