Avoid Compromising Opportunities As A Freelancer

So many people who make that decision to go forth and conquer the independent worker lifestyle can soon be bumped off-track a bit by small but ever more problematic issues that interfere with their ability to freelance effectively. In this feature we’ll address some of those sticky issues that a lot of us would rather not confront but are losing out on opportunities as a result.

Social media split personality

This usually applies when you have a main freelance gig on an on-going basis. If you are a freelancer that a hirer wants to represent their company, they may request that you are on business social networking sites like Linked-In with the company profile and job title and no mention that you are available for independent work. It maybe that you like to put their brand on your Linked-In for kudos and connections.

However, as a freelancer there may well be opportunities missed with this strategy – as it might mean this sabotages your own business identity as a freelancer. If you want new work or want to protect your micro-brand of you, then remember that you own the rights to your own social media and digital profile.

Be polite but assertive from the off, that you are a freelancer and need the social site to remain as a component of your business. This should not be a deal breaker with anyone reasonable and who understands the freelance position. If you want to ‘wear two hats’ on your social sites, your business and someone you prolifically work with that you want to champion – there is no reason you can’t mention them up-front on your social profile – it may even help you get work for you and your main client.

Anchored to the office

You agree to freelance for an exciting new client, you are fired up as this looks like continuous work and security, then the bombshell drops, that condition slipped into the conversation after agreeing on the gig – ‘We will need you in the office, rather than home.’ It’s a reasonable request in that communicating with colleagues, having resources at hand and instant gelling with the business can make a good flow for the work… But, that may mean you are not technically a freelancer anymore.

If you are expected to work fixed hours, on company resources at a desk in an office, with terms and conditions that are akin to an employed worker then that’s what you might actually become – rather than a freelancer with their own business, who sets their own working system. People do freelance in office situations obviously but there are rights that might need to be addressed when doing that – as any system that looks like employment, in the eyes of the law, probably is.

This is one that both hirer and hiree need to be a bit careful of as it may affect tax returns and holiday & sick leave rights and also claiming for fuel. Make sure the understanding is that as a freelancer you have to be flexible – that’s the best advice, you don’t need to ruin the opportunity but do keep it in the fore that a freelance contract is a well-defined position legally. The problem here is that you may need to juggle other commitments – home and work – and that is something you ought to be able to do with relative ease as someone with no defined employment contract.

Business cards and phone number

As a freelancer you need to market yourself as a business so invest in a few basics at least, to give your brand of skills a flavour. A snappy, relevant business name, a logo and some basic marketing tools like a business card, a social media site like Facebook, a blog and if possible a separate business mobile number.

For those – and there are many – who drift into freelance or do it by default, get the mindset right and embrace the role you are now in. Think of yourself as an SME – not a guy or girl who does a bit of work for a couple of people to pay the bills. The freelance life can be empowering but it takes you taking some initiatives and marketing yourself, reinventing your offer as the most attractive package it can be. By doing this, it will also be a lot easier to sort out the previously mentioned issues as you will be more than a person who freelancers but a business entity.

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