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Topics: Career Development
I want to work as a freelancer and need some guidance on how to start. Please help!
Hello,

I have around 14 years of experience as a BA/PM and had a full-time job earlier. Since I moved back to home country so I am looking to work as a freelancer. Can someone help on how to start?

Regards,
Ashu
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Ashu -

Landing your first gig can be challenging especially if you have only done full-time work before. Couple that with changing locations and things might get more tricky.

A good place to start is to go through your network to identify leaders who might have moved into new roles or companies and might be looking for the assistance of an external PM. That way, you are a "known" entity and hence would have an advantage over hundreds or thousands of unknown applicants.

Depending on where you live, you'd also want to look into the logistics side of the process as well - setting up a company, bank accounts and so on.

Try to find other ways to differentiate yourself - is there a specific type of project you've got deep expertise with that you can highlight in social media, through blogging, webinars or other types of no/low cost promotion?

Finally, it would be good to increase the amount of networking you are doing including registering with one or two good recruiting firms who specialize in gig work.

Kiron
Read Tom PeterĀ“s work on creating your own brand.
I can only reinforce what Kiron has suggested:
1) most important - contacts, contacts, contacts.
2) you need to set yourself apart from the crowd, narrow your focus. Find out what is needed in your industry/location and establish an expertise

Sometimes you have to not only provide the services required but also offer more - take to client beyond expectations. Mitigate risks and enhance benefits they didn't recognize they needed.
Hi Ashu, as Kiron mentioned getting the first gig is challenging. Contacts and increase your network is key.

In my case, for my first opportunity as a contractor I worked with a headhunter or recruitment agency. At least for Tech, there are a lot of companies that do that for you. This kind of companies have a lot of contacts and the only downsize is that they take a % (depending on your negotiation skills and client budget) of your monthly invoice.

I recommend this option if you have a small network or you don't know where to start.

Good Luck
As Kiron stated there are two hurdles you have to overcome and in the absence of a miracle it will be an uphill battle and you will have to accept a decline in work/income for a period. I did exactly that some time ago. I worked for my whole life in a specific industry in other countries and then returned to my home country, left full-time employment, and left the industry. The first thing you realize is that you have no or very few contacts in a country you never worked in.

Don't give up, market yourself, and do not stop investing in yourself.
It took me almost two years to get up to speed again but it is worth it.

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