Strategy - Freelance To Expand Your Network And Portfolio
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Getting out into the work force in today's rapidly changing market is challenging but don't let that discourage you.
Everyone is looking for the best opportunities and searching for the ultimate job. And why not? They should! But the ultimate job might take some diligent work to secure the opportunity you are dreaming of. Everyone knows the more you do something, the better you get at it.
Five Reasons To Seek Out and Continue To Take On Freelance Work
1) A wise and very successful person once said....."You are never graduated from your job or career" What does that mean? It means there is always more to learn, do and expand to. Your current job may be consistent but look beyond to freelancing for opportunities to grow and learn as well.
2) Freelancing uses and hones your skills while you broaden your opportunities and most importantly your portfolio. What I call the "working portfolio". That means the one that you can show actual work from. The portfolio you leave school with is beautiful and shows off skills you have learned. But it may not directly relate to the work and solutions you come up with day to day. Both are useful but when it comes to telling a possible employer how you were able to meet a challenge or create a solution....the working portfolio just works. A portfolio supports the stake you make in your ability and talent. Document everything...
3) Networking - it's who you know. I could share countless stories of people experiencing amazing success by the networking they did. They had an entry level job - gave it their best, kept a good attitude and stayed open to opportunities. The networking qualities of freelancing keep you circulating amongst positions in companies or business opportunities that may arise.
4) Never Stop Learning - It teaches you to be flexible, learning and able to key in on what you are good at, what you want and how you can apply what you know.
5) Freelance can end up being more - How do you hold a job and do freelance work? It's not easy but if set aside 10 -20 hours a week to do freelance. You will be surprised at how it actually happens and you make it work. If you invest the time, in the beginning, your chances of landing the position/or starting position you want will increase.
Some end up making freelancing a profitable business (this is where many need mentoring.."profitable" is the key word) and after a few years, they pursue their own business based on their own experience. This is not unique to the design industry as I have spoken with engineers who take on freelance work to make more money, provide a bit of security or build their own business opportunities.
If You Are Just Starting Out...
Sometimes interning is necessary and often you can pick up freelance work to gain experience and exposure. Be sure to let small to medium businesses know you are available for freelance work. They could be growing and a position for you may become available - especially since they are familiar with your work.
Check in with them periodically. Most business people appreciate that....listen, we are all busy and a little reminding helps. I appreciate it as a professional. You can tell if they are not interested but often just a "Hello...this is what I have been working on" sort of update is good.
In design, working within a company as an intern or entry level job is standard. It's important to remember you have to start somewhere. Learn as much as you can. Also, once people n your circles and network groups know you are a designer, they will ask for your help. That is a great way to take on small jobs and build your portfolio, experience and a possible design business of your own.
Learn What You Need - Even If You Are Freelance
Getting to know how to navigate the details(not design) of a project and learning the steps to starting your business – even if it’s freelance – is necessary to your success. Get a jump on it and get the tips without a commitment.
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Elizabeth Ribons, ASID,CID - Creative Entrepreneur, Mentor and Pro Designer