If you’re passionate about computers, possess a background in information technology, are naturally analytical, good at problem solving, or have a gift for attention to detail, there are a few freelancing paths in the tech arena that may be just right for you. Trained technicians command high dollar figures, and hanging out your shingle as a freelance tech expert can be an attractive option.
It’s important to understand that having a technical skill to market and knowing where to look for your first freelancing jobs are just the start. Employers looking to hire freelancers on job sites generally want skilled workers who are experienced or have a positive feedback rating on the site in question.
A good strategy to build a portfolio and client base is to accept jobs paying less than you’re really worth at first in order to get your foot in the door, do good work, and receive positive reviews. Build a reputation this way, then start going after better-paying jobs charging what you’re really worth. Freelance tech people are often scrutinized a little more thoroughly than other types of freelancers. Getting those first few jobs under your belt with positive feedback will make your journey a lot easier.
Another virtual guarantee with tech freelancing is that you’ll likely be interviewed before prospects make the decision to hire you. For that reason, it’s important to develop quality interviewing skills and keep an updated resume. This becomes more true as the type of technology services you’re providing become more advanced. Coding a piece of software for someone is a whole different arena from writing a report for them to give away.
As a freelancer, you’ll be competing with many other people for jobs, so it’s incumbent upon you to not only present yourself well, but also make it clear that it would be a mistake NOT to hire you! Here are several tips to help make that a reality.
1. Assemble a killer personal portfolio.
This one can be a bit tricky at the outset, as you need to make sure you have permission to show work you’ve done previously for an employer as a sample of your work. Going forward, make sure anything you do as a freelancer you have the right to show. Be careful about signing NDAs (nondisclosure agreements), as they can sometimes restrict you from showing your best work. Put your best, most recent work in your portfolio, and make both a print and online version of it for best results.
2. Get glowing recommendations.
Ask clients to give you written or video testimonials, as these can very often make the difference in whether you’re considered for a job. If you’ve done quality work for them, this should be no problem. Moreover, they’ll be likely to use you again and again, as well as refer you to others.
3. Be sure to charge what you’re worth.
Once you have some freelance jobs under your belt, decide on your base rate and stick to it. You understand what the work entails, and your clients don’t. Explain what they’re getting for their money, and demonstrate why you’re worth it. You’ll always get clients who will lowball you, and who will expect you to do a job on the cheap with the promise of more and better-paying work in the future. This almost never works out, so be willing to decline jobs.
4. Diversify your client base.
It’s essential that you diversify your client base as much as you can. It’s great to have clients who have projects so large that they eat up most or all of your time, but there will come a day when either you’re done, or they head in another direction.
What do you do then? If you plan to remain a freelancer long term, make it your business to always have a steady stream of leads coming into your business. If your work is in high demand, you can take only the highest-paying jobs or perhaps hire a subcontractor or two and realize a little passive income. Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have!
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