How To Become a Technology Freelancer and Be Your Own Boss!

Are you tired of long days at the office, feeling like you’re working only for a paycheck and the advancement of a company you don’t care about or believe in?

If so, it might be time for a change.

One of the great things about being a technology professional is that – virtually across the board – there is tremendous room to become a freelancer and work for yourself, on your time schedule, rather than that of the company.

Benefits of Freelancing

Most technology careers are virtual, which means that if you’re hired for project work, you don’t necessarily have to trudge into an office everyday, but can work from the comfort of your own home. Especially in the NY area, that simple shift can add two or more hours to your day, as you cut out your commute time!

According to OnlineJobsAtHome.org, freelancers also earn a higher hourly wage, as much as 2.5 times the hourly equivalent of their salaries before beginning their freelancing career.

While it’s true that the extra cost doesn’t necessarily mean a higher paycheck (you’ll have to buy your own insurance and office space, if you so choose, and will need to spend some time each week on non-billable activities, like looking for new clients) you do have the opportunity to earn more, and gradually increase your rates over time, as you prove you can add more value and grow your client base.

How To Get Started

To get started as a freelancer, the most important thing is, you guessed it, to find your first client. For many in the tech industry, that isn’t too difficult.

One tip is to bring up the subject with your current employer. Politely explain that, for personal reasons, you’re interested in spending more time at home and working as a freelancer rather than a salaried employee.

If the company doesn’t offer to renegotiate according to your terms, you can at the very least suggest you stay on in an interim role while they search for a new employee. Sometimes, those interim roles will last for years.

Secondly, use your existing network. When I first started my freelance business, I got my first client simply by telling a few close friends in the industry about what I was doing, and my aims and type of clients I was looking for. You might be surprised at how easy it is to find one.

Finally, turn to job search sites, but stay away from classic outsourcing sites like Upwork, where you’ll find yourself competing for the lowest wage with workers in India and SE Asia.

From there, it’s all downhill. Once you have a client, you’re officially in business for yourself, even if you still have a ways to go to begin earning what you want. Leverage that first client into a second, and the second into a third, and before you know it you’ll have more work than you need!

Tips to Grow Your Business in 2016

grow your businessAs the New Year approaches and 2015 draws to a close, it’s the time of year when many business owners and C-level executives map out their plans for the coming year.

It’s not an easy task, so I thought I’d write a few notes that might help you as you’re going through the process this year.

Reflection and Evaluation: 5 Questions To Ask

To help you sort everything out, I’ve come up with 5 key questions you should reflect on before coming up with your plan or strategy for 2016.

Taking a step back from the day to day of the business to focus on these bigger picture items is something that every business leader should take the time to do now and again.

So, here are a few things to think about:

  • What are your growth objectives?
  • What tools and techniques do you have in your arsenal to help achieve them?
  • What skills or areas of expertise do you need to improve personally?
  • What processes can you systematize and make more efficient for your company?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to growing the company, and how can they be removed?

Here’s a great video on how to plan for the year:

Tips for Growing Your Business

Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time to get down into the weeds and work on the specific points that will truly move the needle for you in the coming year.

While this can feel like a daunting task, there are a number of resources available to help you.

Effective Outsourcing

One of the best resources available to you as a business owner is that our globally connected world gives you the opportunity leverage international talent at international prices.

For many tasks, it doesn’t make sense to hire a full time employee in the US, when you just need a one time execution or maybe a few hours a week of consistent implementation.

Many of these tasks can be performed by outsourced workers, like those found on Fiverr and Upwork. You can find a breakdown of alternatives and outsourcing sites by industry in this post.

Consider a Course

Secondly, many business owners overlook the fact that more often than not, the biggest obstacle to growing the business is the owner himself. Whether you lack experience or knowledge in a specific skill area, or just don’t have the time to execute everything properly, figuring out where your own weakest links are can do wonders for your business.

For many business owners, they developed their businesses out of their expertise in their chosen field, but then reached a plateau. In this case, taking an online marketing course, for example, might help to get you over the hump and breakthrough to new opportunities and growth strategies, that you hadn’t previously considered.

For others, it might simply be an issue of time management, and taking a course on this topic or working with a mentor or business coach could help you make incremental and significant improvements in your day to day productivity.

I hope these tips prove helpful, and best of luck with your business in 2016!

 

President’s Letter – December

Hello Everyone and Happy Holidays!
meeting datesThe December Meeting will be held on Saturday December 12th at the Hearthstone and featured Fred Zering of Citrix Systems discussing “What’s new with Citrix”.
This was a great presentation that covered everything you ever wanted to knowabout Citrix.
I would also like to extend my sincerest thanks to Lou Mistretta from Tri-Delta Resources for making the arrangements with Citrix and to Citrix Systems for paying for our meals.
The January Meeting will be held on Saturday January 9
that the Hearthstone and will feature Ellen Reen of Insyte Consulting discussing “Business & Competitive Intelligence, Techniques and Research using the WEB.
Clay Dinger, our Membership Chair, is working hard to bring new members into the organization. Please send leads his way.
Anyone that is aware of organizations looking for interns should contact either me or Clay so that we could pass this information on to local colleges to assist them in placing interns.
Please join us at the Hearthstone Manor on January 9th for this informative meeting to enjoy an excellent presentation and network with your fellow IT professionals.
Wishing everyone a Safe and Happy Holidays!
Sincerely,
Louis J. Callari
president@wnysip.org