With gas at an all time high freelancing may be something you want to consider since one of its advantages is that you can determine where you wish to work. It also offers you the opportunity to be a free agent giving you carte blanche to decide your own hours and assignments. However freelancing has some obvious challenges.

According to Ben Jablow, Senior Business Development Director for Sologig.com a Web site that connects consultants and freelance job seekers with more than 60,000 projects most freelancers have made a conscious choice to work for themselves. He believes that this choice was made to help these independent soles find a better balance between their personal and business lives since it allows them to control what they do, how many hours they do it, and how much money they earn when working.

Freelancers are also often a good choice for employers since it allows them to hire employees based on specific sets of needed skills for specific projects and to outsource more operations, ranging from design and marketing to IT. This in turn helps to reduce staff levels based on workflow thus controlling costs by minimizing employee benefit coverage and lowering payroll demands.

So if this sounds like the right type of work for you Jablow offers seven ways to help build your client base.

  1. When seeking a skill find one that fits into a growing niche. To do this examine your own set of skills to identify the unique services and value you can offer. Then figure how you can offer these to employers where there is a growing demand for these skills. You may have to be flexible in what you want to do in order to fulfill the needs you find. This may mean instead of writing society information you may need to find the skills within yourself to write technical pamphlets for a multitude of industries.
  2. Formulate a network and regularly keep in touch with those on it. Go to where the employers are those who have used you in the past and those who you think you can service. To do this attend conferences and association meetings where you are sure to make contact with the employers you need to meet. To find out where these meeting are attended seek out trade magazines and newsletters that offer this information. Use information obtained from past co-workers and those you come across through your network to find additional work.
  3. To get started you may wish to join a service like Sologig.com that works with freelancers to bridge the connection gap between themselves and future employers. To help the future freelancer the site requires employers to purchase project postings and access profiles from their database. They do not require the freelancer to pay to access the site, log-in or bid for jobs. They also do not require them to pay to post a profile or apply for projects thus making it a wonderful tool for the new freelancer to begin their career.
  4. Then like any good job you need to build a referral base. Even successful real estate agents who work for a broker are dependent on their good name and referrals to keep their income coming in. So it is with the freelancer referrals will keep you working and once you get rolling they can have a snowball effect that will bring you more work than you can handle. You can accelerate this effect by asking satisfied employers for testimonials and referrals in exchange for a referral reward which could be as little as a $25 gift certificate to a nice restaurant.
  5. Being a freelancer does not mean that you cannot offer your services to be subcontracted out. This often works for firms who do not generally need extra help but occasionally find themselves with more work than they can handle. When this happens the employer often will hire a subcontractor at a lower rate than they may receive if they found the work on their own but in many ways it is a win-win for both the employer and the freelancer. For the employer they get the necessary job accomplished at a fee they can afford and the freelancer finds fill in work between assignments.
  6. Jablow tells us that more is good. The more qualified prospects you reach, the more clients you will have even if you can only handle a few assignments at a time. Just remember a larger client base allows  you to choose the assignments and projects that you would rather work on.
  7. Lastly establish yourself a trained professional with a reliable work ethic. These two things alone will make you invaluable to many employers who have been burned by unreliable employees in the past. To establish yourself as an expert in the field in which you are freelancing write articles for trade magazines or specialized websites like lockergnome if you are a computer geek. In return those who like your articles will seek you out for advice and information securing your niche in the market.

Hopefully this information will be found beneficial for those of you who are either having difficulty finding employment during this time of economic crisis or for those of  you who need to fit your schedule and duties around family or other jobs.

[tags]employers, employees, freelancing, jobs, employment, Jablow, sologig, lockergnome, networking, job networking, [/tags]