Tired of working for someone else? Determined that your reinvention will include freelance work? You’ve got the right idea to join a burgeoning employment market, but you still have to make sure that you sell your personal brand.
Career coach and personal branding specialist Randi Bussin of Aspire! in Boston points out that freelancing may sound less stressful than the corporate grind, but there is still the persistent need to keep projects flowing. The best freelancers are also comfortable in an active sales and self-promotion role. See what Randi says below. —KAS
The work world is changing, and it’s changing quite rapidly. NBCNews.com reports that one-third of all workers in the United States, approximately 42 million, are freelancers who don’t work in traditional jobs. Freelancers are using short-term contracts and projects, part-time work, temporary positions, and consulting jobs to weave a new type of career.
More to the point, they are filling a need in a corporate world that can no longer afford–and is relying less–on full-time, salaried employees.
We’re not in the world of our parents when it was common to work for the same company for an entire career. Now workers are switching jobs more frequently and also creating a professional freelance patchwork that includes a variety of projects and roles–often at the same time.
Freelancing should not be perceived just as a last resort in a difficult job market. Today there are an amazing number of opportunities for freelancers to create their own personal brand and build a career on their own terms. But, to compete in this so-called Gig Economy, freelancers have to be proactive and self-promote.
Technology has helped to increase the number of opportunities available, and freelancers should use this to their advantage. If you’re interested in this style of work, you should check out www.elance.com, www.freelancer.com, and other similar websites to network and keep on top of opportunities and trends. There is great independence in the life of a freelance worker, but there can be great pressure to keep the work flow going. Investigate this work style closely before you jump in with both feet.
While these resources will certainly help to increase the volume of leads that come your way, you also have to make sure your brand is visible and credible in the eyes of your target audience. Be sure to focus on creating marketing tools that will elevate your profile as a VISIBLE EXPERT. This can include online profiles (such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), public endorsements via social media or more traditional direct marketing, referrals from satisfied clients, articles you write or comment in as a source, speaking engagements, participation in professional associations and more. The bottom line is this: be seen as an expert and you will be hired as an expert. Very few freelancers can sit back and wait for the phone to ring.