Honing Your Skillset
Episode #1 of the course Starting a freelance business: Ten essential tips by K.C. Finn
Welcome to the course!
I’m K.C. Finn, a multi-award-winning and bestselling author of young adult, fantasy, and horror fiction. I have been self-employed all my life, running multiple successful freelance enterprises from the comfort of my own home. As well as writing for a living, I’ve worked in freelance education, journalism, critique, and graphic design, all for private clients with my own price points and timescales.
I’m here to show you how to avoid common pitfalls that most aspiring freelancers (myself included) have fallen victim to along their journey. There’ll be no selling yourself or being messed around with here, and we’ll also examine how to make yourself look, sound, and perform at the topmost level of professionalism, even from client number one. In ten detailed sessions, you’ll have everything you need to set up your own business online.
So, onto the first lesson. Are you a Creator, a Teacher, or a Critic? We’ll help you discover how to determine which are your most marketable skills and what elements of the freelance world they best fit into. From here, you’ll develop the building blocks of your own business, and we’ll be able to move onto elements such as platform choice and portfolio design. As with any product, knowing how to market yourself and your skills is a valuable first step.
The Creator Type
This is what I would call my primary type these days, though it hasn’t always been. It will be important to establish your primary type of service that you wish to freelance in, even if you branch out into others down the line.
Creative types are producers of products, typically those with artistic or productive skills who can create new elements, objects, or designs for others. My primary example of this was in my work as a ghostwriter, creating stories for other authors before I had my own platform of work, but I’ve also been a graphic designer for book covers, theater playbills, and online advertising graphics. Other examples of creative types and their products can include t-shirt graphic designers, text art, blueprints or schematics, musicians and composers, voice actors, animators, and theatrical performers.
One of the most important things that Creators have in common is that they often work hard to produce their products and spend many hours on a single job. As such, their hourly rate and task price points will be higher than that of other types of freelancers, but the demands put upon their time and their creative energies are also high.
The Teacher Type
Despite the abundance of schools and educational programs that are available in the physical world, there is still a thriving market for online education. This comes in two different forms, and it’s important to decide which approach you’d like to begin with and which you may branch into at a later date.
In-Person Teachers are those who engage in tutoring and delivering online seminars in live, face-to-face conference settings. This can include private tuition for individual students whom you find through agencies or word of mouth, and they will have individual needs and lessons that are prepared for them especially. It can also include widely delivered online classes designed for multiple users to engage with at once.
Content-Producing Teachers are those who write educational courses to use their skills to teach other people, whether that’s in online email courses (like this one!), tutorial videos, multimedia courses, or instructional guidebooks. Both types require time and investment, but each has different rewards and pricing structures for their efforts.
The Critic Type
Product reviewers, book reviewers, appraisers, editors, and consultants form the world of the Critic type. Freelancers in this vein will start their own business based on their expertise in a specific field, perhaps one in which they have worked or have firsthand knowledge of that increases their credibility. Whether they deliver written reviews, private reports, or public video critiques, this type of freelancer has to be aware of how they develop their platform and client base so they can become a trusted voice in their chosen industry.
Critics are often in the least time-consuming role for the freelance services they provide, but this also means that they have to find clients and new jobs much more regularly in order to make a full-time business from their work. The pay can also be highly variable, depending on the field and platform that the critic has available to them.
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking these types and exploring the best options online for how to list yourself and gain those all-important first clients.
Until then, explore your potential in these areas and decide on your primary approach.
For more information on how services find and fill a gap in the worldwide market, check out this great article for tips, attitudes, and approaches.
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