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With the 21st century seeing a sharp increase in technological advancements and systems, more and more people are opting to work freelance rather than working for an existing company or multinational firm. There is no shortage of freelance jobs in Singapore, especially if you have a skill that is in demand. In this article, we will share 10 important things to know and answers to some questions you may have before kicking off your freelance career in Singapore. By the time you reach the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of how to get started as a beginner freelancer in Singapore and how to avoid making some common mistakes that may end up in you failing your freelance venture.
1. Difference between freelance and self-employed
With work options becoming more accessible, words like “freelance” and “self-employed” are becoming hotter conversation topics. It is important to know the difference between “freelancer” and “self-employed” especially if you are looking to begin your freelancing career. Being self-employed means that you run your own business and do not work for anyone else. Typically, people own businesses that provide services and goods to buyers. People who are self-employed have complete ownership and control of the business and have to decide how to operate the business. On the other hand, freelancers usually offer services for a living such as writing, photography, video editing, cleaning, musical instructions, etc. They are sometimes referred to as “independent contractors” so do not be alarmed the next time you hear that term.
2. When should you do freelance work?
People choose to do freelance work for different reasons; because they want to and because they might not have other options. Before starting freelance work, it is important to consider a number of factors that will be discussed throughout this article and ensure that other work options are less suitable for you. As a starting point, it is not recommended to begin your freelance career before having 6 months’ worth of your salary saved for a rainy day.
3. Skills for freelancing work
Freelance workers stand out due to their unique skills that other individuals may lack. Thus, it is important to make sure your skills are highlighted and advertised properly for potential clients and companies to see. It is crucial that you choose the skills which you enjoy doing. For example, if one of your skills is advanced video editing, then you should really enjoy editing videos. Also, make sure you advertise skills, which you are exceptionally good at, instead of mediocre ones. Lastly, make sure that there is a market for the skill you are providing. Remember, freelancing is a job, not a hobby, and hence should be done in order to gain financial benefits to support yourself. If you feel that there are some skills you wish to brush up on, do so before quitting your job and starting your freelance journey.
4. Who are some potential clients?
Before doing freelance work it is also important to know and plan how exactly you will get to work with potential clients. The common ways would be inbound, outbound as well as referrals. Inbound applies techniques such as content marketing or search engine optimization (SEO) to attract clients to you. The second way, outbound, is when you directly reach out to clients by either sending them emails or replying and applying to jobs they have published. The last way is through referrals, in which clients are recommended by word of mouth. This would be the most ideal option, as it will feel great having clients reach out to you based on your previous work etc. It may be useful to note that most individuals who begin freelance work do not have established reputations they can rely on before they establish a proper brand for themselves and their clients. Thus, actively searching and applying for jobs would seem like the best option for most.
5. How much are freelance rates on average?
In this section, we discuss how to price your work to clients so that you will be able to gain more future prospects and repeat work with existing clients. It is vital to establish freelance rates before discussing with clients to avoid that “I’ll get back you” response, which may in fact deter clients from you. One way to decide on your pricing is to look at what other people in the market are charging so as to remain competitive and ensure that you are not overcharging or undercharging clients. The next step would be to calculate your expense rate for your service to make sure you are profiting from your work.
6. Work contract
Many people forget about drawing up their own personal work contracts because someone within the company usually does this. However, for freelance work, it is a must to have a written contract detailing the agreements between yourself and your client. Having a written contract will ensure that you will not get underpaid by any client etc. Include both names of the parties, project details including scope, payment agreed on as well as payment deadlines to ensure they are paid on time.
7. Getting paid while freelancing
While most companies have their payroll settled by someone in HR or finance, it is very different for freelancers. Freelancers should be open to various payment methods as clients might have different options. The most common way would be via bank transfer or by cheques. Another option that is very popular for online transactions is PayPal as well as bank wire transfer, which may take a few days to process for international payments.
8. Registering your business
In Singapore, if you are running your business under your own full name, it is not legally required for you to register your business. Many individuals are opting not to register their businesses due to registration fees. On the other hand, registering your business can legitimize it for clients and may increase the amount of work for you. In saying this, it is important to decide if your business will be a sole proprietorship or a private limited company.
We have come to the end of this article! Hopefully, it has been an insightful reading for you who are interested in kick-starting your freelance career in Singapore!