|While you still have a job, why not start a parallel career by freelancing and aim towards the end goal of being your own boss (which is what changing career the Parallel Career Way is all about)? Don't wait until you face a midlife crisis or after you lost or quit your job. |
Today, literally millions of people all over the world have established highly-successful careers as freelancers. Many of these work-from-home professionals have found that freelancing offers a dream lifestyle - flexible working hours, free from bosses, total control, independence and 'good money'.
As a freelancer you act as an expert or specialist in your field on a project/contract basis. You're an independent contractor or some call you a Free Agent. You're not on anyone's payroll. You're self-employed. Your remuneration for each project/contract is based on a fee.
The type of projects available for freelancers are as many as there are job functions in the traditional workplace. These include auditing, copywriting, research, text translation, creative and commercial writing, quality assurance, forensic accounting, website design and maintenance, medical law, graphical work, software development, technical writing, data entry, research, training and motivation, engineering design, raising equity funds and venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, corporate law, international law, etc. etc.
First…You'll Have to Be Sure…
But because you're still working for someone else, there're pros and cons in freelancing as a parallel career. Your current job will surely provide you with some 'Assets' BUT at the same time you've to be sure that there's no conflict of interest with your employer.
*Is the freelance project for a client who is your employer's competitor?
*Is the nature of the project such that to undertake it, you'll have to disclose some of your employer's proprietary secrets? (These secrets could be sources of supplies, technological know-how, formulas/recipes, product costing calculations, or any information that gives your employer's company a competitive advantage in its industry/market).
Re-read your employment contract thoroughly, and if still in doubt, consult a lawyer. Paying fees for such legal advice is money well spent.
The Good Thing Today…
The good thing about freelance project opportunities today is that most likely you'll be undertaking project work for a company too far away to have any conflict with your local employer. Or the scope of your project does not 'threaten' your employer at all.
For example, you live in Los Angeles and work for a medium-size accounting software company twenty miles from your home. It's very unlikely that there's a conflict of interest if you were to take on a programming project for a company in Italy to develop an inventory management program. BUT there'll be a potential conflict if you undertake a freelance project to develop an accounting software for a company not too far from LA (say in San Diego) because this new accounting program may 'eat' into your present employer's product market share.
Another example: You are the head of your company's quality assurance team. You've a good working knowledge of the International Standards ISO9001. There is no conflict of interest if you were to take on a freelancing project to write the quality manual for another company nearby as long as that company is not your employer's competitor.
Is There Demand for Freelancing Professionals?
Yes.. Aye...Si...Ya! There are many reasons why companies need the expertise of a freelancer:
1.There is a sudden burst in business activity and the company's existing workforce cannot cope.
2.The company has a one-off project (example: a takeover of another company or production of a massive catalogue).
3.Deadlines must be met.
4.The company needs specialised skills not available within the company.
5.The management cannot justify the long-term expense of employing a full-time person
What Qualifications Do You Need?
What qualifications DON'T you need? Generally, you don't need to have any special license, insurance, a company, an office or employees.
But you DO need to be sure that you will be able to do the project. Afterall, this is what you'll be paid for. Knowing your 'Assets and Skillset' will give you a good feel of whether you can do the project.
You'll need to put together a profile or portfolio that is more convincing than a resume. It needs to be more like a marketing presentation. Remember there are others out there who can do the project as well.
Keep in mind that there will be opportunities to secure future projects with the same company. So it's worthwhile doing it right for the first project.
The Parallel Career Way
To be a full-time freelancer, the biggest challenge is finding enough work to justify giving up your full-time job. How can you be sure that you will have enough work to pay all your bills?
The Parallel Career Way makes it less stressful and risky because you start developing your freelancing career while you still have a job. And thanks to the Internet, things are now much easier.
About the Author
Infopreneur, Writer, Engineer and Consultant. Former company high-flyer - shares tips, ideas and information on how to change career the Parallel Career Way at: http://www.parallelcareer.com
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