Being a Freelance IT Consultant is a great way to make side money however when you have multiple clients you can turn your freelancing into a full time gig. Before you start freelancing determine if you want to work part time for side money or you are thinking of freelancing full time. Let’s take a look at some questions you should ask yourself to determine if being a Freelance IT Consultant is right for you.
How many hours do you want to work a week? The worst thing you can do is take on a project or two and then realize you do not have enough time during the week to work on them. Before taking on any work document where you spend your time each week and determine if there is something you will have to sacrifice. Once you know how many hours a week you can spare you will know the project time commitment you can take on.
What type of experience do you need? If you have been working in IT for three or more years then you have a decent amount of experience to be a freelance IT consultant. If you are looking to make a change in the type of work you do then you will have to get training and work on a few personal projects before you can begin working for clients. The first few clients you will have to bill at a lower hourly rate until you have built up your experience. Then you can try working for a freelance IT consulting website like www.UpWork.com, www.ifreelance.com, www.freelancer.com or www.moonlighting.com.
Do you know what your core competencies are? Your IT Core Competencies are specific IT skills that make you an IT expert with a type of technology that helps businesses either make money or save time. Document what your IT Core Competencies are and how they benefit a customer. If you sign up for the IT Consulting Academy newsletter you will receive a copy of the IT Marketing How-to Guide which will help you define your IT Core Competencies.
Do you have any marketing materials? Create marketing materials around your IT core competencies. The first thing you should do is create a website showcasing your IT core competencies. Display your IT expertise and how customers will benefit from them. At the end of each core competency explanation have a call to action provoking a potential customer to contact you. Once your website is complete you can begin using it as your first marketing tool to drum up business. There are many more avenues for creating IT marketing materials to help you drive business which will be discussed in future posts. To learn more about building a your own website visit How-to Build a Website for Business.
Do you know your hourly billing rate? Before you work for any customer you must determine how much your hourly billing rate is. Even if you bill on a per project basis knowing your IT hourly billing rate is crucial so you can properly bid on projects. Perform billing rate research at the IT freelancing websites listed above. However if you are finding clients without those sites you will typically bill higher because you are cutting out the middle man. You can also call local IT consulting companies and esquire about their typical billing rates. In the Chicago-land area typical hourly billing rates for a network consulting range from $100 – $135 per hour for basic networking services. Click here to learn more about how to How-to Calculate Your IT Consulting Rate.
Do you know the type of customers you want to work for? When starting out you will be willing to take on any type of customer and perform almost any type of work just to get business. You will quickly find that not all clients are created equal. Some of the hardest clients to work for are the ones that spend the least amount of money for IT services. They also take the majority of your time and take a long time to pay their invoices. Your best clients are exactly the opposite. They do not even seem like clients. They are more like your friends or coworkers! This type of client you will work for many years. We work together and they have no problem paying the bills on time. When meeting with new clients know what you are looking for and walk away from work if they do not fit your definition of a good client. Signup for the IT Consulting Academy newsletter and you will be given the IT Marketing How-to Guide which contains questions that will help you quickly identify your ideal clients so you are not wasting your time.
Do you have a plan for moving to full time IT freelancing? Try working for three or more clients at the same time so you can have a taste of full time freelancing. Working on multiple clients simultaneously requires you to have good time management skills especially if you work full time. If you can manage to work on multiple projects throughout the week then becoming a full time IT freelancer might be right for you. Moving from IT freelancing to a full time gig you now become an IT consultant. Working for yourself as an independent IT consultant can be a wonderful way to make a living because you are highly paid and your work hours are flexible so you can have more time to do whatever you want without having to answer anyone for your actions.
IT freelancing and consulting can be a great way to make side money to pay off bills or an avenue to switch career paths so you can find employment fulfillment. In either case if you can answer the questions above and feel comfortable with them then you are well on your way to being a highly paid Freelance IT Consultant. Signup for the IT Consulting Academy newsletter and start learning more about how create and run your own IT consulting firm. Enter your name and Email address below to get started today!