Being Hired As A Freelancer: What You Need To Prepare For
When you first began life as a freelancer, you probably worried endlessly: will someone hire me? Am I going to be able to pay the bills? How can I secure contracts with companies?
All of these concerns are typical for any freelancer just starting out in their career, though admittedly that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. In those early days, it must seem like the moment that a company does hire you, you’d have nothing else to worry about.
As a more mature freelancer, you’ll come to realize that getting hired might not be the hardest part of freelancing… but it’s far from the easiest. A company agreeing to hire you is the beginning of a new set of problems. So if you’re hoping to generate a freelance income but have yet to be hired, then here’s a comprehensive look at everything you should expect from your first proper freelancing job…
- Being Asked To Sign A Contract
Few reputable companies will hire a freelancer without asking them to sign a contract. For the most part, this contract will be rather simple. It will usually state the following information:
- The work you are being hired to do
- The timescale you have to complete the work
- How payments are going to be made
Most freelancers can read through these simple contracts and, if the terms are acceptable, they can sign them without any further intervention. If, however, you find yourself dealing with a much more detailed contract, then you have to tread carefully. Read through every single line and ensure you understand what you’re signing up to; you have to be especially confident that you’re going to be able to meet the deadline for the work to be complete. If you find yourself struggling with any aspect of the contract, then it’s better to hire a lawyer to look over it, than it is to sign something that could cause you huge problems in the future.
At the very least, consider joining a few freelancing forums to talk over any issues you are having with a contract. You will likely find other professionals who have experienced something similar, and will be able to advise you accordingly.
- A Requirement To Go Through A Background Check
If you’re going to be given access to confidential information or business software, then you may find that the company contracting you requires you to go through a background check with the likes of ClearStar. This is not a bad sign; in fact, it’s a good one, it shows that the company takes their work seriously and is careful when contracting freelancers. This, in turn, should mean that they are just as diligent when it comes to working with and paying you.
- Understanding The Project Might Go Wrong
Freelance projects go wrong all the time. The client changes their mind; you realize that they have asked for more than you’re able to deliver; or communication can break down. It happens– but it feels like the end of the world if it happens on your first project.
Try not to pin your hopes on your first project. This is not the make-or-break moment of your career; it’s a first attempt. If it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean no one will ever hire you again. Even the most experienced freelancers have opportunities that don’t quite pan out. You need to keep this in the back of your mind throughout the contract; it will still be difficult to cope with if the contract is canceled, but at least it won’t be a surprise. Do your best, keep organized, and hopefully everything will work out.
- You Now Have To Keep A Constant Eye On Your Deadline
Learning to work to a deadline tends to take some practice. It’s important that you see any agreed freelance deadline as an absolute. It’s not a target; it’s not an “it’ll be ready then if possible”; it’s a set in stone moment when the work has to be complete. If you break a deadline, few companies will want to hire you again.
It is especially important to keep this point in mind when you’re agreeing to the deadline to begin with. Even if the customer pushes you to quote a shorter timeframe, only ever agree to a deadline that you know you can meet. Your burgeoning reputation as a freelancer is counting on you being punctual.
Thankfully, you will likely be reassured to know that the above process does get easier. While it may be terrifying to go through these steps for the first time, by the time you have been freelancing for a few years, it will feel like a walk in the park. Get through that first experience, gain the knowledge you need, and allow your first completed contract to be the starting point for a lucrative freelance career.