According to a new report from Freelancers Union and the platform Upwork, there are now over 56.7 million American freelancers. Freelancing is more than a trend; it has become a new professional path for many experts who are not willing to work in an office. As a result, reports have depicted a rapid and regular increase in the numbers of freelancers. By 2027, experts estimate that over half of the US population will be freelancing as a temporary or full-time employment solution. According to Upwork’s CEO, Stephane Kasriel, “the growth of the freelance workforce is three times faster than the traditional workforce.” As of today, 47% of Millennials admit to be freelancing to some extent as a side hustle gig or even on a permanent basis. In other words, freelancing appeals to people who are looking for an alternative career.
However, the image of the typical freelancer still needs to evolve. Many businesses continue to think of freelancers as someone who works in their pajamas in front of the TV. In reality, freelancers don’t need to do much to boost their reputation and show their professional side. More often than not, establishing your freelancing career as a business from Day One can help to manage your reputation. It only takes smart tech use to turn a freelancer into a respectable solo entrepreneur.
They don’t mix personal and professional calls
Many newcomers to the freelancing world are willing to build a website to establish their presence. Platforms such as Wordpress or Wix.com allow non-technical individuals to build professional websites in a matter of a few minutes. Wix even offers an option that creates a whole look and feel based on a short online questionnaire. However, where businesses are comfortable displaying contact information, freelancers often think twice about publishing their personal address and phone number. The easy way around is to work with a second phone number, such as purchasing a SIM card with unlimited data plans, which you can use as your professional contact number. You might even want to invest in a second phone to make sure you can remain available to your professional and personal contacts. Using a contact form on the site avoids the unpleasant experience of publishing your personal email address without stopping people from getting in touch. More and more freelancers work remotely and refuse to publish their physical location. However, depending on your activities, using a local PO box or a shared office as a storefront could prove useful.
They maintain brand consistency
Even freelancers need to think of their brand. Businesses have the advantage of working closely with brand designers and experts to create a branded guideline. Nevertheless, while freelancers may not have access to the same experts, they can work toward brand consistency. Indeed, while your choice of logo and colors plays a significant role in your business identity, the creation of an image that remains the same through time is what branding is about. For freelancers, the focus should be on getting the little things right, such as using an email signature creator to maintain your brand in your digital communication. Simple settings, from adding the logo as your profile image for your mailbox to branding your professional social media presence, are easy to manage and can help to anchor your business dedication.
Who needs an accountant when you’ve got an app?
The days of Excel calculations and paper bookkeeping are long gone. Freelancers can struggle with their accounting duties. However, the apparition of accounting apps provides solo entrepreneurs with the opportunity to manage their financial operations in a matter of a click. Ideally, freelancers want an app that can provide the professional services they need, such as creating invoices. Indeed, clients are more likely to honor their bills if the invoice template appears professional – in other words if they think it comes from a legit business. Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting software solutions on the market with an affordable subscription model. Wave Accounting is another useful solution that provides a vast range of features at no cost, making it the ideal partner for freelancers who are just starting to establish their business.
Manage projects on the go like a pro
As a freelancer, you aim to manage multiple projects as effectively as possible. Ultimately, depending on your services, you can’t afford to work on individual cases separately. However, managing clients’ projects can be tricky, especially when you’re a one-person business. With a ton of different processes to manage and consider, freelancers can maintain a professional by using smart tools that offer all the organizational support they need. A solution such as Trello is a favorite in the freelancing and creative world as its visual display allows you to keep everything in one place. More importantly, Trello is flexible and lets you add or remove elements to your project to adjust to the current situation.
You can look the part without spending money on design
As mentioned earlier, building a website has become one of the most accessible skills online. Wordpress offers an excellent package. However, Wix is taking the market by storm with its modern and edgy looking designs. With a variety of options such as creating an online store or building a blog, Wix offers some best practice layout tips and trends to help freelancers to boost their presence. More importantly, the online builder system can already set up your contact page and relevant plugins, which means you only need to sit back and relax. Additionally, Wix also gives you access to a selection of free image stocks, helping your website to look professional from Day One.
In LinkedIn, they trust
What’s the point of a professional networking platform if you can’t use it to find your clients? LinkedIn is a lot more than a job hunt platform to publish your resume. It’s a powerful tool you can leverage to build new connections and reach out to relevant businesses. For freelancers, LinkedIn offers an advantageous chat function that allows for a more casual and friendly approach among professionals. Additionally, freelancers based in the US can even look out for contract gigs through the ProFinder tab – however, bear in mind that the 10 first proposals are free, and you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription to carry on using the system.
They make security a priority
Security is not a laughing matter. Freelancers need to act upon cybersecurity concerns with the same diligence as any other business. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for solo entrepreneurs to make sure their data are protected. Using a virtual private network service with a low monthly subscription can prevent painful hacking accidents. Additionally, the implementation of an encryption solution to secure the information on your device(s) can be an additional safety guarantee to your clients. As hackers are more likely to target easy targets such as SMEs that fail to secure their access adequately, a small investment in cybersecurity can go a long way for freelancers.
They boost their brand profile with videos
Just because you are a one-person company, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the popular digital marketing tools. Vlogging, for instance, is hugely popular as it enables businesses to build a direct connection with their audience. For freelancers, creating a vlog on a smartphone is not only a cost-effective option, but it is also easy to implement and build. Vlogging apps such as YouTube Studio and Quick are free and deliver high-quality results.
The question is not how freelancers can make their business venture appear more professional, but why many are still missing out on the smart tech tools and solutions available. From keeping your work organized to sending business invoices in a click, there’s no reason anymore for freelancers not to be taken seriously by the business world.