There are many great reasons to go into freelancing, especially in the IT sector. You get to be your own boss, which means that you can take charge of your career and set your own parameters. In theory, you can make your own hours and choose your own jobs, though in practice, freelancing is hard work. However, at least you know that when you’re giving 110 per cent, you’re doing it to benefit yourself as well as your client.
Wide open field
The IT sector in particular is wide open for freelancers, and continues to grow. The reason for this is that information technology is a relatively young field that is advancing rapidly. Practitioners with specific skills are often needed for a particular job, but it’s not cost-effective for a company to keep somebody with those skills on full-time. For one thing, the skills needed are always changing as new technology comes into play. To be a successful freelancer, it’s vital to keep your own skills updated, and to have a fresh portfolio that displays this.
Going it alone as a freelancer isn’t always easy, but thankfully there are organisations that can help you with the legal necessities of setting up in business. You can get help with IR35 and other tax matters by going through an umbrella company. You may also want to think about using a professional accountant to help you keep track of your income and outgoings.
Boost your portfolio
Every job that you do as a freelancer is another boost for your portfolio. If you do a great job, shout about it. Hopefully, the work will speak for itself, and your reputation will precede you. However, if this isn’t the case, don’t be afraid to bring your recent triumphs to the world’s attention.
Of course, the opposite is also true. If you do poor work, then it will reflect on your reputation, and that in turn will impact your earning power. As a freelancer, you have to protect your brand. This means doing your best on every job, no matter how small. Make sure that you fully understand the client’s requirements and that you keep them updated with your progress. Two-way communication is the key to producing work that is satisfactory for both parties.
Making good your mistakes
Sometimes, even the best IT freelancer will do work that a client doesn’t like. If you’ve genuinely made mistakes, then it may be worth offering to fix them for free. If you feel that you’ve genuinely done a good job but that the client didn’t accurately communicate what they needed, then diplomacy may be required. However, you can’t please everyone all the time, and other potential employers should recognise this.
Even if you don’t want to stay a freelancer forever, doing contract work will help you build up a very useful contact book and develop a wide range of skills. These will be extremely useful if you then decide to apply for full-time work. Alternatively, you may decide that IT freelancing is how you work best – and the more that you showcase your skills, the more others will agree.