Become a Freelancer if you do not have a job

8 tips for freelancers and inquisitives

There is a lot of unemployment in Colombia in the IT sector* and this happens in a country with human resources of a high academic and professional level. However, there is a large labor supply in the global market for independent IT workers. And if that were not enough, the technological conditions are the best (Internet, equipment and electricity).

In other words, there exists all the conditions so that there is not a single IT professional unemployed.

In-Dependence, virtual work and what grandma thinks

Freelance work is not something new, however, persist many taboos and much ignorance about it. If you have a stable job, it pays you enough and you feel good you can stay there. But if you're not so happy, you might consider trying something else, in the  "surplus" time. Although after 10-12 hours per day that you consume in employment (including transportation) maybe you can not get the stamina.

Stability could be enough reason to keep you in a job, but... What if you do not have income right now?

I assure you: one day you will die

I consider that I have some experience after having been a freelancer and having worked with many. I want to share that experience and maybe, hopefully, break down some of the barriers and help demystify some beliefs.

I think that if you keep this in mind you will avoid many obstacles:

  1. Competition: There is a lot of supply, they pay better (and on "strong" currencies), but there is also competition. You will have to be able to propose solutions to problems, with fast and competitive estimates (costs vs time), that means: do not overdo it.

  2. Self-knowledge: Learn to know yourself and know your level and how much is being payed usually for that level in the project/technology you aspire to. Be clear about your rate. 1 h/h has to be equal to an amount of money.

  3. Portfolio: You won't solve it with (just) a CV, you should have DEMOS of everything you have done on hand or find the way to ask for writed recommendations to any client to whom you have carried out any project. If you are so new on work that you do not have what to show, I advise you to lower the price a little so that the client considers taking the risk with you.

  4. Integrity: Forget about lying and breaking deals, something so common in our southern countries, particularly if you want to achieve something in life as a freelancer. Like most e-shops, freelance project sites also have ways to evaluate people.

  5. Culture: You will develop interpersonal relationships with your clients and your teammates, it is possible that they become friends. But almost always they will have another culture, so evaluate what you are going to say, moderate the "jokes" and comments out of place. Issues such as the crisis in your country will probably not be topics of their interest.

  6. Holidays: Forget about holidays. Being a freelancer will not prevent you from enjoying leisure with a lot of flexibility, that is, you can stop 90 minutes for the match of your selection, but then you will have to recover that time. When you think about taking vacations, tell your regular customers and avoid in advance projects that overlap your planned rest dates.

  7. Discipline: You will be mostly at home, but ... "forget" the family and homework during the time you plan to work, it will take time to adapt and adapt to those around you (talk to them and get them to understand you). If you have a room and you can close the door to prevent the cat from coming to your desk, do it.

  8. Rate: I reiterate this issue of the rate, 1 Hour/Man is equivalent to a certain amount of money, dedicate time to research and compare your knowledge/skills with those of other people that you can reference in the same market, it is important. The answers of the type: "that depends on the project and its complexity" are ominous. If programming in X has a complexity Y, it assumes that it will always be that X * Y, and avoids losing opportunities.

I did not want to write an entry of the type: "the good thing about freelancer work". I intend to encourage especially those who today do not have a source of income and who believe their skills, experience and knowledge can be useful to other people regardless of their location.

After knowing this, the topic of independent work will become clearer.

Deciding to take the step only depends on you. I will only add that I do not know anyone who has done it and has not had any of these stumbles. Of course, none of them have become unemployed again nor have been desperately not knowing how to pay their bills.

And you do you think? Are you already freelance? Do you want to be a freelance?

If you have any questions or criteria, I invite you to leave it in a comment.

*My most practical source is the group of WhatsApp Engineers. I looked for statistics, but: either the DANE (statistical institution of Colombia) did not have it very clear or I did not have time to keep looking.

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