Contracting and freelancing: how to identify marketable skills

For many individuals the idea of becoming a contractor or freelancer is a tempting one. After all, it allows them to choose their own projects, work the hours they wish and become their own boss; all while delving into a career they’re truly passionate about. However, the freelancing and contracting market is a saturated one, with more people than ever before turning to working for themselves. Is it possible to stand out from the crowd and make a success of being a freelancer? The answer is yes, but it is essential for anyone even considering this option to first identify his or her marketable skills.

First thing’s first: Identifying those marketable skills

If a person wishes to explore the plausibility of becoming a freelancer or contractor, they must first identify their marketable skills; that is, what skills do they possess that a business might need? Illustrators, graphic designers, business analysts, IT experts, writers, market strategists, accountants, translators, photographers, voice over artists, and SEO experts can all command a decent contracting wage these days and so are worthy career possibilities for those possessing the right skills. The Internet and its sheer capacity for connecting people has really expanded the freelancing and contracting markets in recent years, forming networks that potential employers and workers can access in order to create profitable relationships. The growth of the Internet has also led to the creation of a number of jobs that simply weren’t available before. They include, web development, web content writing, Internet security consultant, and mobile-app developer. Jobs that may previously have been done by one person and on a much smaller scale, are now frequently contracted out, owing to the sheer number of experts within the field. While freelancers and contractors existed before the Internet’s boom, their role has become much easier and in demand, thanks to the global platform on which many businesses are now able to operate. It is now more important than ever for freelancers and contractors to stand out from the ever-increasing crowd.

Contracting and freelancing: getting started

Becoming a freelancer or contractor doesn’t require learning new skills necessarily but to develop the ones already possessed; any budding talent can be encouraged to flourish with the right motivation – say, being able to work for themselves on a freelance basis. Perhaps a person is a keen writer, loves to create graphics online, or is good at numbers; once that skill has a drive behind it a career can be forged. Of course, becoming a freelancer is more complicated than simply being good at something. A person must be prepared to network, create a social media presence, and transfer and develop those marketable skills, as well as reaching out to potential employees. Only then can the work begin… Working as a freelancer does have its legalities, of course. Those working for themselves must ensure they’re registered to do so, that they apply for the relevant licences and that all financial and business records are kept up to date. Keeping on top of national insurance contributions and tax self assessment is vital, and best done with the help of a specialist company or agency, such as Crystal Umbrella. While filing paperwork, completing forms, and managing invoices may be the less glamorous side of freelancing and contracting they are among the most important issues. Anyone considering such a career path must be prepared to do everything properly, or face stiff penalties. This is where an umbrella company comes in; it is their job to handle paperwork, offer support and guidance for those just breaking into freelancing and contracting, and to offer IR35 advice, amongst other areas of specialist knowledge. An umbrella company is a hassle-free way for a freelancer or contractor to ensure they’re being compliant: a helpful and secure way to ‘go it alone’. Everybody will find, at one time or another, that they’re good at something; sometimes that ‘something’ can be enough to base a career upon. They must simply identify their marketable skills and work out how best to use them; easy when they know how.