Are you diving head first into freelancing? From moving through various clients, working on a range of projects and meeting new groups of people, daily, weekly or monthly, the life of a freelancer can be a fun and exciting one. But if this is your first rodeo, there’s a lot to know about when you start and what to expect.
As with any job, you need to quickly understand the landscape, players and most importantly your role. Although you’re “only a freelancer,” you’re now part of a team and should act like it. And even if your role is temporary, you’re still expected to go above and beyond – which requires putting your heart into it.
Be sure to remain flexible and try and adapt quickly. One of the main reasons a company reaches out to a staffing agency is for flexibility. Since you’re acting as an extension of that agency, you should make sure that you understand the expectations going in. Things like projects, schedules and team dynamics can change quickly, but you can avoid many pitfalls by communicating clearly and discussing any possible conflicts with both your agency and the client.
Although you may be used to doing things a certain way, remember that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. If you’re not being paid to improve process, don’t. The quicker you learn how a company operates and executes certain tasks (such as using Photoshop and file conventions), the less of a burden you are on your new team and/or boss.
One aspect that will likely remain consistent is time-tracking. More often than not, you’ll be asked to record your time in a number of locations. If you’re working at an agency, studio or design firm, it’s fairly certain that tracking your time across multiple clients is required. You’ll also need to complete a timecard for your staffing agency and submit your hours in a timely manner to ensure that you’re paid. If you’re not diligent about tracking your time, it could lead to a ripple effect for not only the client, but perhaps even your pay.
While you’re bouncing from client to client, don’t forget to make friends; it’s a great way to get to know talented people within your industry. Use tools like LinkedIn to your advantage and ask for references or recommendations (if you think you deserve it, of course). These will last you a long time and will certainly prove to be invaluable to you down the road and throughout your freelance career! If you have any additional comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment below and our staffing specialists will be happy to get you going in the right direction!