Setting up your career as a freelance engineer means you are essentially running your own business. And as such there are many associated aspects you need to consider beyond simply gaining the necessary technical skills.
Being a freelancer means that you will be responsible for everything: sourcing business, keeping clients happy with professional, top-notch and innovative work, and ensuring timely payment through a regular monthly invoicing routine. You will need to set aside time each week for getting business processes in order – and then keep track of this time and factor it into your overall work time to ensure you’re being both productive and accurate, while maintaining fair recompense in your billing.
The benefits for you and your clients
- You can choose the hours you work. You can also choose the projects you want to take on, avoiding those which will ultimately offer little in the way of financial return. You have the reins and can direct your career as you wish, choosing the length of contracts you want to sign in order to control working times, and the length of contracts. This affords the client better productivity and attention from you.
- Working freelance means you can remain constantly aware of any new job opportunities that may arise, and especially those that will offer real scope for experience and skills enrichment. Through freelance you can enjoy numerous changing opportunities as you grow your industry connections, and broaden working opportunities. The more contacts you can tuck under your belt, the better the service you may offer your clients.
- As a freelance engineer, you are able to run your own marketing campaign. Social media is a good way to go, and you can drive prospective clients to a personal portfolio page which will showcase your qualifications and experience. Employers want to see evidence that you have developed good engineering skills and are a reliable and established professional. Clients can see reviews on your profile and peruse the various contracts you have worked. It’s important to remain connected on the Internet, keeping active in your network, and updating your skills ware continually. Having a portfolio of your best work ready and prepared is crucial to capturing business opportunities quickly.
- Developing your own brand via the Internet is not that easy, and also can be time-consuming. But it is important that you are able to sell yourself with confidence. What are your unique selling points over and above qualifications and experience? Are you meticulous in approach, a good team leader and manager? Are you easily adaptable to various situations, and do you work decisively to time and budget? As a freelancer, a portion of your focus is continually dedicated to business development and cultivating potential clients.
- Being persuasive about oneself can be daunting for some, but if you have chosen the freelance route then you must believe in yourself. Pitching yourself with confidence is something that will develop as you grow your freelancing career, and you will get better at it. And, as you’re growing your freelance career, you can position yourself as a thought leader on social media, so when people have a question they will look to your valuable expertise.
- Getting hired for freelance work is very different from applying for a permanent job. They’re not interested in your future potential, they want to know what you can get done today. And you need to be able to tell them that in the most positive way. The better you understand your strengths, the better you’ll be able to sell yourself as a freelancer.
Pointers to note:
- When driving your own work, you need to remain motivated, keeping your finger on the button of current work and future work plans.
- Always ensure the time and hourly rates are worthwhile. What income is required for the support you seek? Can you pay essential bills? What time is optimally required to ensure a good income?
- A great advantage of freelancing is that you are not necessarily restricted to the local market. You are free to apply for work in a variety of areas where freelance hourly rates may be considerably higher.
- Time management abilities are vital when you are on your own. Sort out a schedule that works for you overall. Be proactive, but organised at all times.
- Your value to companies will be the flexibility you offer them with regard to setting up for a project, without them having to set up the long-term commitment of searching and appointing full-time employees.
Get in Outsource Engineers to handle your project
Imagine you could take your pick from a dream stable of just about every kind of engineering resource available at a moment’s notice. OutEng offers just that. Comprising a network of trusted, experienced and highly skilled engineers, project managers and technical people, including ECSA registered engineers in almost every discipline, all our engineers are freelancers or contractors who are contracted in per job as their skill is required. Each operates as an independent Business Unit, therefore covering own overheads (working from home or over weekends or remotely).
OutEng is setting new trends and standards in an agile, trust-based business style that is taking the engineering environment by storm. Across a multitude of cost-effective engineering and project services, you can expect:
- solid expertise and experience
- a unique combination of design, project management and engineering capability
- well-informed professionals who are up to date with the latest research.
To find out more, visit: www.outeng.co.za