Freelance/contract work is the new black!

As Canada recovers from a recession, many employers are still hesitant to hire full time employees.  Therefore, in order to cut costs, many employers are opting to hire freelancers or contractors.  According to Statistics Canada, there has been an increase in the demand for freelancers and contract workers.

Therefore, if you are new to Canada and are experiencing difficulty securing a full time job, maybe it is time to consider opportunities working as a freelancer or contractor.

A freelancer or contractor sells services to employers without a long-term commitment and is hired for a given task or project.  A freelancer or contractor does the work and is paid once it is complete.  Thus, it is very common to work for more than one employer at a time.

There are many advantages of working as a freelancer or contractor.  Depending on the industry, you could find yourself doing the same tasks you do as a full time salary employee, but working for yourself.  Furthermore, you could even find yourself earning more money than you did as a full time employee.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a freelancer or contractor, review the following steps:

1) Market yourself professionally

Freelancers are only as good as their last job.  Build a portfolio and use examples of your previous work experience.  Do not be afraid to spend money on professional marketing tools such as a website or presentation materials.  Successful business people view this kind of spending as an investment rather than a cost.

Also plan to spend time networking.  People buy people.  As a freelancer this could be the best marketing investment you make.

One of your biggest issues as a new freelancer will be establishing credibility. You may find it beneficial to join professional associations, and ask for testimonials from all contacts.

2) Work your contacts

If you are freelancing in an industry that you have been in for a while, then make sure everyone knows about your new role. You have no idea where your next opportunity could come from.

Consider sending a simple email newsletter once a month to keep your contacts up-to-date with the work you’re doing.  Make it easy for people to remember you.

3) Finding Work

If you’re an aspiring freelancer trying to find work relative to your career field and capabilities, the fastest way to do so is to visit online sites such as Elance.com, FlexJobs.com, Freelancer.com, Guru.com and Odesk.com.

These sites let prospective clients post details of the jobs they need done and allow freelancers to submit bids for the jobs. Once the client has found a freelancer that meets his/her requirements judged by the cover letter submitted with the freelancer’s profile, they can proceed to hire the freelancer or negotiate on the terms.

4) Stay focused

As a freelancer you will probably be based from home, and that can bring on a lot of challenges. Especially staying focused.  If possible, use a spare room in your house as an office, and have working hours that you stick to. That should include breaks. The more you treat working from home as proper work, the easier it will be.