The way we think about work has drastically changed in the past decade, and even more so in recent years. Fixed 9 to 5 jobs in offices have become less attractive as people have started to value their free time over money. It could even be argued that time has become the new currency of our world.
Flexibility is the leading concept of this new currency. As a result of our desire for more free time, remote working has become somewhat of a standard in certain industries. But there is only one concept that truly answers the question of how to work more flexibly while still creating a successful career, and that is freelancing.
You are probably reading this because you are either interested in freelancing or are about to become one. But before you are getting started with freelancing, you need to know a few things. Let us help you there. At the end of the blog, you may download our ‘Guide to freelancing’ that we created to help you set up your freelance business from A to Z. Let’s get started, shall we?
What is freelancing?
In short, freelancing means being self-employed. Freelancers may work on a variety of projects for a variety of clients/organizations at the same time without being employed by them. Freelancers are often hired for short-term projects and get paid by the hour or by the project.
As a freelancer, you are your own boss. You get to work on your own terms and have a lot of flexibility in choosing what to work on. But on the flip side, you also have some serious responsibilities such as declaring your taxes, organizing a pension, and making sure you get paid for your work.
But to most people deciding to go freelance, being your own boss far outweighs the administrational burden.
Are you freelancing by choice?
In reality, not everybody consciously chooses to become a freelancer. Whereas freelancing in for example the financial sector is often a personal decision, freelancing in the performing arts is more likely to be out of necessity.
The performing arts have relatively one of the largest percentages of freelancers from its total workforce in comparison to any other sector (60%-70%). This is directly caused due to the fact that the performing arts heavily rely on government subsidies and other types of funding for their continued existence.
Because of the lack of full-time jobs and because most work opportunities outside of the large institutions and companies are often project-based due to subsidies, the majority of people working in the performing arts are practically forced to work as freelancers.
The right mindset is important!
Whether you are freelancing by choice or out of necessity, you are going to be your own boss. Understanding what that means is where the right mindset starts. As a freelancer, you are responsible for all of the attributes that a real business consists of. You may call yourself the Chief Executive Officer of your business.
It can be a little scary to call yourself a business, but when you do it’ll provide you with a different mindset. You are an entrepreneur now! Entrepreneurs are problem solvers, and your main problem is going to be working consistently. Understand that as a freelancer your skill is going to be the service/product that you’ll be selling. In order for you to sell your skills, you need to find out what makes them unique. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? After sorting those out it’s time to match… which type of client is the right fit for you? It’s almost like dating!
Especially in the Arts and Culture Sector, you’re probably going to get a bunch of no’s before you land your next project. But just because you haven’t found the right fit yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in your field. You, as the CEO of your business, are responsible for creating your own work opportunities. You’re the captain of your own ship and you’ll need to do whatever it takes to make it to land!
Getting started with freelancing…
You’ve made the decision to become a freelancer or maybe you’re just thinking about it. Either way, you’re going to have questions… Where do you start? What do you need to do as a freelancer? Do you need to register yourself? And most importantly, how do you set yourself up for success?! Truth be told, you don’t start a business overnight. Taking your time to research how freelancing works in your country is something we strongly recommend.
Through extensive research and many conversations with freelancers working in the Cultural and Creative Industries internationally, we’ve come up with a universal 10-steps guide that will help you prepare to successfully kickstart your freelance career. By following these 10 steps, you won’t just set yourself up for success, but you’ll also get a clear understanding of what a freelancer needs to do, what you should take into account when working with clients, and in what ways you can protect your business.
Down below you can download our entire ‘Guide to Freelancing’. The guide is very much a practical guide. Each step requires you to perform research, brainstorm, or write some things down. Some steps are more practical, others take up more time. After reading (and working through) this guide, you will have a basic understanding of everything freelance.
It’s time to kickstart your freelance career. We wish you the best of luck!