By Kim Nokwaza / 19 of February 2021
It is no myth that people’s lives and work have been negatively impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Research shows that women’s jobs and livelihoods are more vulnerable during the pandemic than men’s jobs. Simply put – women are more likely to lose their jobs than our male counterparts are. What’s new?!
More and more women have realised that they need to find ways to supplement their income (because they were barely making things meet even before the imposed salary cuts!). The national lockdown was a game-changer as it gave people the time and space to pursue their passion projects and try to monetise them.
The international health crisis has driven millions of women globally – particularly mothers with young children – to consider stepping back from their careers to venture into the world of freelancing, which offers more flexibility. This can be a big and empowering career shift, and it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one, either.
Thinking about going solo? Here are some things to think about before you take the plunge and become your own boss.
1. Timing is Everything
Before you start freelancing, think about the right time to transition. Knowing when to quit your job to start a freelance career can be tricky. Ensure that, at the very least, you have some work lined up and that you have some savings to keep you afloat in case things don’t go as planned from the get-go. It’s also important to assess whether there is enough demand for your skills before going the freelancing route.
2. Market Yourself
If you have enough contacts or clients to give you work – great! If not, you will need to put in some extra effort! Make a list of all the people you know in your industry and in others that align with yours. Then let them know you’re now flying solo and are on the lookout for work.
Remember, as a freelancer your reputation is everything. Put together a brilliant portfolio to show off your skillset and build your credibility. Once you’re up and running, and as you build relationships with your clients, be sure to ask for testimonials or referrals. You have *absolutely nothing* to lose here!
3. Get Your House in Order
One thing that is certain in life is having to pay taxes. Make sure that you’re putting enough money aside to pay yours. The last thing you want is to be slapped with a huge bill of outstanding cash owed to SARS, which attracts interest by the way! Understand which tax bracket you fall into and if necessary, get a professional to assist you with your paperwork.
4. Manage Your Money
If you’re not sure what you typically spend on things like transport, groceries and shopping, making a budget can be intimidating. But how else will you know where your money goes?! Keep tabs on money coming into and going out of your account. You could write these down on paper, or you could use an app or an online spreadsheet. Completely up to you!
5. Name Your Price
It’s completely normal to second guess your pricing from time to time, but you want to ensure you’re getting paid what you’re worth, and for the value you’re bringing. Some freelancers prefer to charge an hourly rate, while others prefer project-based pricing. Find one that is suited to the service you’re offering.
Getting the Gigs
Freelancing spans a wide range of careers and industries and there are plenty of jobs available, many of them offering remote working opportunities. Check freelancing platforms regularly and stay in touch with other freelancers, because we all know how lonely it can get in this industry.
A platform such as Weworx is a great place to start. They are a freelance service marketplace that provides a platform for service seekers to find and hire a freelancer with a particular type of skill. Freelancers can also advertise and offer their services remotely and can easily connect and collaborate with each other.
Other trusted freelancing platforms to find work are:
- South African Freelance Association (SAFREA) – http://www.safrea.co.za
- NoSweat – http://www.nosweat.work
- SA Creative Network – http://www.sacreativenetwork.co.za
- Mintor – http://www.gomintor.com
- NomadNow – http://www.nomadnow.co
If freelancing is something you want to pursue, start with some research to make sure that there is a freelance market for your skills and experience. Be disciplined, work hard and stay shining, baby girl!