Are you ready to go freelance?

Have you been considering going freelance, but are unsure if you are ready?

As a freelance recruitment agency, we have worked with many new freelancers over the years and provided advice and guidance on this very topic. Making the move requires preparation, which is why we are going to talk you through how to prepare yourself professionally (opposed to how to set yourself up correctly as self-employed which we have already covered in a separate article here)

A lot of these tips will help you prepare before quitting your full-time job, so you can start taking steps towards going freelance today.

Evaluate your market

Investigate how much of a demand there is for your type of work by speaking to similar freelancers in your market about how busy they are throughout the year, and research what is a standard day rate for your level of experience.

Find out which skills are requested by video production teams who hire freelancers like yourself. If you find a gap in your skills make sure you bridge this by taking a course, watching approved tutorials, or being mentored by a friend who is skilled in this area.
For example, within post-production, clients looking to hire a video editor often look for someone who can add motion graphics as well as edit. If you are a Premiere Editor it may help to learn After Effects so you can offer this within your service.

Analyse your competitors to work out your unique selling point – what makes you stand out from them, and how can you use this to your advantage? Identify which companies would benefit from working with you; these are companies you should approach.

Map and build your network

Map out your industry, specifically looking at companies where you have connections. You need to identify people who would be willing to recommend you to the hiring managers in the company who would book a freelancer. You should begin having conversations now, so that relationships are already in place when you do go freelance.

Network at industry events, workshops, conferences to connect with the community around you who may be able to introduce you to opportunities.

Join forums and groups to be involved in discussions about topics that are relevant to your industry. Freelance jobs often get shared in these groups, and you never know who else is in that group who might be looking for someone with your skillset.

Prepare to market yourself

Create a strong CV and showreel, and a website / Vimeo account to showcase more of a selection of your work.

Update your Linked In profile to show you are freelance and available for work and give a clear description of your experience and skillset. Set your status as ‘open to new opportunities’ to allow recruiters, talent managers, and clients to see that you are interested in hearing about freelance work.

Ask for testimonials from colleagues, clients, or previous employers. They can ‘recommend’ you on Linked In which will boost your profile, and you can add their testimonial to your website or CV.

Consider working with a recruitment agency

Joining a freelance recruitment agency can be a good idea at the beginning of your freelance career.

Once you register with the agency, they will introduce you their clients and will contact you when they have a live job that matches your skillset, so you will have work coming directly to you rather than having to hunt it out yourself.

Find an agency who specialise in what you do for example join a Post-Production recruitment agency if you are an editor. Yellow Cat specialise in Post-Production and VFX Recruitment, we are always interested to hear from new freelancers and are happy to discuss how we can help you.

Go freelance at the right time of year

Think carefully about the fluctuations within your specialism in the industry, when is likely to be the best time to network and build relationships with hiring managers, what time of year might offer the highest volume of work, when is the best time to take a holiday. For example, advertising agencies can get particularly busy in the lead up to Christmas. Summer can be good time for freelancers as a lot of staff tend to take holiday’s so companies turn to freelancers to support their workload. These are all things to take into consideration and you will soon be able to map out a pattern which might help you choose when to launch yourself.

Have a plan B!

While we really hope your plan A will work out, there are sometimes factors outside of your control which can potentially throw you off course in your first year. We suggest having a plan B – a contingency plan for your first year which may help you succeed in the long term.

A plan B could involve negotiating a deal with your previous employer to some freelance work for them, or being open to taking short fixed-term contracts (for example a 3 month employment contract where you are put on a companies payroll).

It is also useful to keep an open mind on the type of work you do and be willing to take on projects that fall outside of your preferred genre of work, or with different types of companies if it will help keep you busy!

The first year of freelancing can be challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. We hope that by following some of this advice you will minimise the surprises and maximise your opportunities for success.

If you have some tips for going freelance and would like to share them, or maybe want to ask some questions regarding the transition, feel free to contact Mary at mary@yellowcat.london 

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Yellow Cat Recruitment Ltd.
WeWork, 22 Upper Ground,
London, SE1 9PD

020 7580 7333