Ariana Green wrote a great article about freelancing in the Harvard Business Review today. Of course, we may be a bit biased given that she included some of our words of wisdom, but really, it’s well worth reading.
- For the novice freelancer, starting with online job boards makes sense, says Kate Lister author of Undress for Success: The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home and a former banker turned freelancer. She recommends oDesk, Elance, Guru, and Rent a Coder. The benefits of these sites: they are secure (you sign work agreements), and ensure freelancers get paid. The downside: competition is steep, and the site takes a cut of your pay.
Lister suggests that freelancers not charge as though they were working full-time. “You might think you can start with a certain rate, but you have to be careful because you will be spending part of your workday marketing, sending out bills, and chasing payments, so you can’t assume you’ll earn your hourly price 40 hours per week,” she says.
And how will you know when to charge more? “When you get too busy to handle everybody, a good way to figure out who to stick with is to raise your price until you don’t have enough customers,” she advises.
If you are early in your career, you would be wise to test your skills in a controlled way before you take the leap. Do some moonlighting on these sites or try some freelance work part time.
With more and more unemployed people turning to freelance careers, the article couldn’t be more timely. Nice job Ariana.