Thursday, January 28, 2010

Freelancing

Lifehacker, a tech (and some non-tech) blog about productivity, linked to a good article today on another blog I hadn't heard of, called Freelance Folder. The article was called 12 reasons you shouldn't freelance.

I agreed with a few of the points. It's true that you still pretty much have to keep regular business hours if your clients work regular hours. And if some of your clients have regular business hours and some don't, then you can end up working all hours!

I also agree that it can be hard to stay motivated at times. Especially when there are other chores to be done around the house and yard. So you have to be a pretty disciplined and organized person to make it work.

One of the things people often ask me as an independent contractor is where I find my contracts. It's a good question. I've hardly found any two clients the same way. Here are all of the different ways I've found clients, roughly in chronological order since I started:

-- referral from past co-worker
-- searching for part-time jobs/gigs on craigslist
-- referral from friend/family
-- referral from a volunteer project that I worked on
-- referral from an existing client to another organization
-- people finding my website by just searching on Google
-- referral from an existing client within a large organization to another branch/department within the same organization

So you can see that most of these are referrals. What I did, and what I recommend to others, before the referrals started happening are:

-- Develop your own website. Link to any sites you've worked on. Make it an online resume and portfolio.
-- Do some volunteer projects to build your portfolio and make contacts. If the project is a website, ask if you can put a small link to your own site in the footer of their site. Most organizations I've worked with are open to that.
-- Search craigslist for part-time gigs, or full-time short-term if you don't have anything going on at all.
-- Get in contact with some recruiters. I still haven't found any work from a recruiter because they are usually trying to fill full-time positions. But they occasionally have part-time opportunities.