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!