Freelancing has seen a huge surge in popularity over the last decade or so. The number of freelancers has risen year on year since 2013, and more and more people are considering switching from employment to freelance work. In fact, according to a recent study, 71% of UK employees would consider becoming a freelancer. It’s no surprise then that I’m regularly asked questions like:
- “What should I freelance as?”
- “What’s the best freelance job for me?”
- “What area should I freelance in?”
- “What freelance job should I do?”
So how do you choose which area or job to freelance in? Let’s take a look…
The clue is in the question
Firstly, the biggest clue to what you should do is in the question: “I” or “me”. In other words, it’s all about you. The best freelance job for you is based on:
- Your previous experience
- Your individual skills
- Your personal interests
It’s not about what someone else thinks you should do, or what someone else says is the best freelance job.
Why should I be experienced in it?
When you’re starting out as a freelancer, it’s best to avoid choosing something you’ve never done before, because you probably won’t have the knowledge, understanding, or skills needed to succeed. If you want to get off the ground reasonably quickly, then what you choose should be something that you have experience of. This might be from your studies, your current job, a previous job, or something outside work or education. This experience also means you’ll know whether you enjoy the area and can envision a long-term career in it.
Why should I be skilled in it?
As a freelancer, it can be difficult to compete against other freelancers, so you need to be great at what you do. It’s very difficult to be successful as a freelancer without being skilled in that area. If you’re interested in an area but you don’t have any skills in it, then you need to take the time to develop those skills in order to compete, which can take a long time and can be uncertain. As such, it’s better to choose something you know you’re amazing at.
Why should I be interested in it?
Even as a freelancer, with hopefully a better work-life balance, you’re probably going to spend a large portion of your life working, so you need to enjoy it. If you’re not interested in what you do, it’s difficult to motivate yourself on a day-to-day basis. And if you want a long-term freelance career, then you need to be passionate about and interested in your work.
Should I choose a new area?
If you’re starting from scratch or really don’t like the areas you have experience in, then you may want to consider freelancing in a new area. However, you need a lot of time on your hands to learn your new area thoroughly and become skilled in it before trying to freelance in that area. You may also need resources to do so (such as money, equipment, courses, and so on).
The final factor
While these three key factors are internally-focused, there is one external factor to consider: customer demand. To succeed as a freelancer, there needs to be some demand for what you’re offering. Once you’ve found the centre of your skills, experience, and interests, then you need to check whether there’s a market for it. If there’s little to no market, then you may need to think broader. If the market is hugely saturated, then you may want to check whether there are niches within the market that you can operate in.
Becoming a freelancer is your opportunity to do what you want to do, rather than doing a job that someone else suggests for you. So choose what you love, are great at, are experienced in, and that customers want!
Considering becoming a freelancer? What’s at the centre of your skills, experience, and interests? Comment below or get in touch.