How to join the freelance economy

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If you are entertaining the idea of leaving the 9-5 rat race to start your own freelance service business, then your thinking is in line with a growing global trend. 


Millions of people across the world are foregoing the corporate grind and taking the plunge into self-employment instead. Attracted to the promise of freedom and better work/life balance. 

In the USA there are now more than 58 million freelance service providers, contributing over $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy. Current research suggests that 50 percent of the US workforce will be employed on a freelance basis by 2027. And over the next two decades, freelancers will become the majority of the US workforce. 

On the home front, around 3.15 million Australians are today in some sort of contract or freelancer style employment arrangement, according to ABS data. That's 28 percent of the total Aussie workforce. A figure likely to rise, fueled to some degree by attitudes of millennials - a PWC survey showed that 66 percent of millennials want flexible work hours. And the impact of the pandemic which is resulting in companies of all sizes opening up to the idea of sourcing talent remotely.

If you are considering jumping on this self-employment freedom-seeking bandwagon, then here are a few tips from a local small business coach, Elizabeth McDonnell, to help you get started. The tips below are relevant to anyone with advice to give or knowledge to share who wants to start their own service business doing what they love. 

First, get crystal clear on the specific service you want to provide and specifically for whom. This could otherwise be described as, finding your service niche, and finding your ideal client audience or target market. When deciding on your niched service, make sure that you can marry your existing knowledge, skills and experience with a service that is currently needed in the marketplace. 

If you are struggling to join the dots on your career, then have a look into the Japanese philosophy of, ‘Ikigai', as a way to bring about clarity. The centre of the diagram below is considered to be 'your purpose' according to Ikigai philosophy.

Once you are clear on your service niche, you can then position yourself as a service provider in the marketplace. With millions of self-employed freelance ‘experts’ now offering their services across the world online, the need to stand out amongst the competition is now more relevant than ever. Try to develop a pitch that describes what you do in a way that resonates with the specific group of people you’d like to work with. Your pitch also needs to tap into what is unique, special or different about you. You need to aim to show up in the market as ‘the specific person’ your ideal clients should want to work with.  

And finally, you will get more work if you can package-up your services into a clear service offer for sale. Creating a service offer or a packed-up service product that solves a specific client problem is one of the easiest ways to sell services, simply because people buy packaged solutions. 

This step starts with defining the specific client problem you solve, or plan to solve, and then developing your own methodical way of working to achieve your client’s desired results. 

If you are new to self-employment, then you can speed up your progress and chances of success by working with the right business coach. You might need to try out a few different coaches until you find the right fit for you. The right coach will ultimately be a person you have great rapport with who helps you confidently reach for your small business goals.

Millions join the freelance laptop-lifestyle each year spurred on by the promise of more freedom and a better quality of life.


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