Gary Keller, a famous American author, once said “Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls – Family, Integrity, Health, and Friends – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked and perhaps even shattered”
The quote from Gary largely sums up why most women give up their Jobs or work once they go the family way. For a woman, nothing comes above her family and she will do whatever it takes to protect it. That’s the reason a large number of women give up their job to take care of families, only a few pick it up again.
To bounce back to work, a woman needs to strike a fine balance between work and family. Freelancing is a great alternative that helps to strike that balance and yet keep a woman involved in work. Let’s look at why freelancing is a great choice for women:
- Wide range of jobs
With time, companies are hiring freelancers for a wider range of Jobs. The recent COVID19 situation has forced companies to move an even wider range for jobs to freelancing. So you can choose to be a freelance writer, designer, software developer, legal counsel, accountant, tutor. And if you have the time and diversity of skill, you can choose more than one. What freelancing cannot offer you are managerial tasks. Since you will be at flexible work hours, it will be difficult to have other workers dependant on you.
Freelancing does not require a sustained long term commitment. You need to commit on a project to project basis. Hence, if you feel like taking a break, it is relatively easier as compared to a regular job. So as a freelancer, you can work as and when you want once you set your working style with the client.
- Enjoyment of work
Since freelancing comes with freedom of working as per own timings and schedule etc, a woman freelancer does not have the stress or anxiety of family being impacted due to the work.
That’s why enjoyment at work is a great motivation.
- Time with Family
Freelancing is not a fixed 9-5 Job. One can choose work timings as per their own convenience. And since largely the work will be done from home, staying at home gives a woman the best of both the worlds.
Starting a freelance career is not tough. Just make your resolve strong and you shall be able to kick off smoothly. Following is our step by step guide on how to start your freelance career:
- Selecting your domain
Selecting and deciding your domain of work is the first step you need to take. There are so many domains and one cannot work in every possible domain. You have to choose a domain that overlaps between your expertise and the domain which has a demand. If you choose a domain that does not have demand, you might get no work or less work. If you choose a domain that has high demand but you lack expertise, clients might not find you credible to pull off the work.
- Build a portfolio
Every client will like to see some samples of your work. If that is of the same domain as the client’s, it is even better. So if you have done some work already, it is easy, just collect and put it on a website. You just need to create a website or use any existing website like Refrens.com, GitHub, or Behance depending on your profession. If you don’t have any samples, it is better to create some first, to put it in a portfolio, and then approach clients. The sample portfolio does not need to be commissioned work as a freelancer. It could be work from your last employment, assuming your employer is fine with you disclosing the work. It could also be non-commercial work that you did as part of education or practice.
- Approaching clients
The best way to get early leads is to approach friends and family first. Since they already know you, there is an inherent trust, the chances of landing a deal are very high. Post this, you can leverage the network of your friends and family, any referrals from them will also have a good chance of landing a deal since the referrer would have already done the selling for you. If you are leaving a full-time job, try taking some part of it as a freelance.
Social media is a great channel for generating leads. Follow your industry key people, influencers, hashtags, trends. Engage with potential decision-makers by providing them a solution to their problem upfront. This will demonstrate your problem-solving nature and increase your credibility. Your initial few works may not be from a client directly but another agency or freelancers who want to offload some of their work.
- Pitch it and seal it.
Do not send template pitches. Send customized pitches to each client. In your pitch, do not just sell a product, sell a solution. Empathize and understand the problem of the customer, provide a tailor-made solution, and not a ready-made solution. While you negotiate, understand what your objectives are:
1. You want to work for this client Vs
2. You want to experience this work Vs
3. You want to maximize profits Vs
4. You want to keep yourself easy.
Knowing your objective will remove the flak in your mind and keep your focus on what you really want.
- Don’t burn the bridges
You get the deal or you don’t get the deal. Don’t spoil the connection with the client. The world is a small place and who knows the same client might have another work matching your expertise and domain. You will want to carry forward from where you left rather than starting afresh.
In totality, freelancing is a great work alternative for women. It has the advantage of both worlds. Work of your choice at the time and place of your choice. So, what’s holding you back, discuss with your family and let’s start 🙂
Ashutosh works as a Product Manager at Refrens.com – India’s most powerful platform for freelancer’s finances and growth. He has helped some renowned technology companies with their product. In this blog, Ashutosh shares his thoughts about why freelancing is a great career choice for women and how one should start it.