Employee To Freelancer In 13 Steps ~ Here Is Your Checklist Manifesto
What started with me doing part-time freelance jobs since the age of 21, finally became a full-time career in 2011. So if you are an Employee & are planning to become a Freelancer — well, this is the article for you.
So how or when should you make the move from an Employee to Freelancer?
- WHAT DO YOU HAVE GOT?
Identify what skills you have which can solve other peoples problems, make their lives easier or offer them a novelty which would intrigue them (like art or entertainment)
- FREE ANYONE?
Start by offering this service to all your friends, relatives and inner circles for free
- FEEDBACK PLEASE!
Once you have offered them this service for free — take feedback on how good, bad or ugly was your service. Ask them what could be improved upon and what could you do to become better
- TEST & IMPROVE
After they give you the feedback — go back and improve on your performance/service and once again — repeat the process
The next step is to ask them to recommend on person whom they know who would like this service for free.
- WHAT IS YOUR SERVICE WORTH?
When they finally do like the service, ask them if they would like the service again — and if yes, how much at its most minimum would they be willing to pay — even if the amount is USD $5 or USD $10 (per hour) — make a note of the amount. The amount should be one which they wouldn’t think twice about giving
- ASK FOR THE MINIMUM
Once you get them to give you the bare minimum, ask them (in a very tactful manner) if they would pay you for the next session. Find out how many people (whom you already gave the service to) book you for this ‘paid’ session.
- THE BARE MINIMUM
Now this is where you start offering your service to the repeat customers for a very tiny fee. Make a note how many people give you repeat orders. And at the same time — ask them to refer you to someone ‘new’
- TRIAL & ERROR
Now this is where you can get a realistic sense about how much you are worth, how good you are or if you should/should not go ahead. For instance, if your client base starts growing more and more every passing month — then yes, you can seriously think about increasing your rates and marketing yourself more. However, if you notice that people are not very keen to pay you even the most basic minimum amount for your service — maybe its a wake up call for you to know, you are not as good as you assume to be or your service is not that much in demand.
- THE MENU OF OPTIONS
The next step in this equation is to start increasing your price range to the point where you not only offer people the rates by which you can sustain this career choice as a viable option but you should also have slabs — where you offer Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 — more like Standard, Professional & Premium Level of Service.
- TEST & OBSERVE
Then it comes down to Test & Feedback versus application via Trial & Error. As you keep offering more and more people your services, you will not only get feedback how to improve, how much to price your services, what to offer people and whom to target — you will get better at know if this is a sustainable career option or not.
- MONEY TALKS
The last & final step is to check the financials or the net-revenue that you generate. If what you are generating through your freelancing activities is equal to or greater than what you generate as a employee AND you have experienced this cash flow for the past many months — then maybe you should look into the possibility of getting into this full-time.
- ADDITIONAL BONUS TIPS
Oh yeah — one last bit — before you finally decide to make the plunge — please do ensure that the following tips, tricks & strategies are kept in mind.
- You have sufficient savings of 24 months of your existing salary saved so that in case things don’t work out — you can make the transition back into the corporate world
- You check all the expenses you would incur if you went into this on a commercial basis legally
- You employ the services of a lawyer because you just do not know when things can and will go wrong. And when they do — you know what to do and are absolutely prepared for it. The last thing you need is rude surprises.
- You must have 12-month budget saved for marketing & promoting your services
- You must have a plan of action & strategy in place for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months
- You have a Master Mentor who will be there to guide you every step of the way. Remember — guidance from an experienced mind is priceless
There is no fool-proof system or a one-size-fits-all method that can be applicable to all and that too across all industries. What works well with one person, may not work at all with another. It is all about finding the right groove, the right fit and the right mix. In my experience, what I have discovered is that you get better and better only after making mistakes, correcting what doesn’t work, doing more of what works and always being alert & aware of what is going on — while intuitively predicting the future. This takes deep involvement & experience. And with time — refinement occurs.
Like I had stated before — I’ve been a freelancer now for 11 years. I am still studying, learning, experimenting and doing my best to improve on what I have, what I offer, whom I offer it to and how much I can charge my end customer. And thanks to the guidance of my Master Mentor — I am always certain that I will be guided properly towards success.
So these are the 13 points to consider when moving from an Employee to a Freelancer. Let me know what you think about the points discussed here. If you have suggestions & ideas — feel free to share them with me. I would most happily go through them and who knows — get in touch with you to brainstorm a few great ideas!
This is me wishing you all the best.