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Social Media Consultant Kelly Elgenia gives us an insight into Freelancing

Freelance: self-employed and hired to work for different companies on particular assignments

Is freelancing good for your career?
Freelancing is exactly what you make of it.

It doesn’t have to be a full time job and certainly doesn’t require the headache associated with setting up a business and learning how to spell the word ‘entrepreneur’.

What freelancing is great for is giving you the space to peruse your passion with the added bonus of developing yourself at your own pace.

Are there more financial benefits with freelancing?
It’s not just about making money, it’s about saving!

You don’t waste time and money commuting, and working in your underwear is not a crime so you will spend far less on fancy suits and ties.

I freelance in a subject I never studied, so to be taken as seriously as I’d like by a business I’d have to invest in another costly degree. To avoid this, I need to put in a lot more time and effort to build my influence amongst peers and customers. If you’re not prepared to put in the extra work, freelancing is not for you.

How do you get clients?
My network is my best asset. I began with social media, then started attending free conferences trying to build relationships where possible. Get your network right, and you will have a wealth of people recommending your services to their friends and clients.

Not great with paper work and legal documents. What do I need to do to set myself up legally?
Like with so many ventures we all fancy trying, it’s the paper work that is always so overwhelming. If it’s just that which has been putting you off, fear not – there are companies that will help you to do all of this (for a small fee). I can recommend, Parasol; I’ve used them since I started freelancing and they even do your tax returns.

What made you want to freelance?
I needed the flexibility. I was at University and had a really boring job that made me work all kinds of hours. I was missing lectures, parties and my sanity after a year – so I quit.

I tried internships and found I had a skill. 6 internships later, I questioned why I couldn’t keep using my skills in different companies permanently for income.

Are there any free resources available to help get started?
Get a mentor! They’ll provide an unprecedented level of support and answer the questions Google can’t make sense of.
Find freelancers in your field that are pioneers, they’ll provide insights and advice, but above all inspiration. Use LinkedIn to help you connect with potential mentors, join groups of like minded people and create a bank of resources you can refer back to.

Your worst experience as a freelancer?
When I first began, I had the worst time keeping. If a client said 10am and I got there for 10:20 I thought it was OK, this lost me clients and damaged the small reputation I had built for myself.

Best experience?
After a long day of workshops in a business that I had spent weeks researching and still knew nothing about, I received a call when I got home from the Head of Marketing to let me know that I had inspired her; she is now a freelancer in the same field.

Is freelancing for you?

Bottom line is the choice is always there. If you’re willing to take the risk, freelancing offers you professional freedom. But please remember, with freedom comes the risk of financial instability and the risk of failure.

Never think that turning to a freelance career model is the answer to you not being able to secure a traditional job. It is not and you will suffer for thinking this. The transition is hard work and will require more effort and focus than you might find with graduate roles (and other office jobs). If you’re having trouble securing interviews and attracting the attention of recruiters, then maybe you need to assess your CV and the way you’re presenting yourself.

However, if you feel like selling your skills direct is the best option and you’re ready and willing to fully market and brand yourself accordingly, go for it! Just remember, your name, your reputation and your network are now EVERYTHING.

If you have more questions for Kelly feel free to leave comments below, or you can contact her via her LinkedIn profile: Kelly Elgenia (YPTN)