How Can Freelancing Move Your Career Forward?
In a recent blog post (Design Your Career) I advised readers to think about their career in a different way. Instead of simply trying to climb the corporate ladder or reach that next expected title increase, I suggested that one should seek out jobs where you will learn the necessary skills to reach your ultimate goal. That goal could be to have your own label. It could be to own your own retail store. Or you may want to be a design director some day. All of these goals require different skill sets, and your career trajectory is not always straight up. You sometimes need to take on different jobs or make lateral moves to gain experience in a different area in order to move up. Freelancing offers you the opportunity to do just that.
We couldn’t cover every possible angle of the fashion freelance business in just one post! This article is part of a 5 part Fashion Freelancer Business Series. If you are considering freelancing check out the other articles that are part of this series at the bottom of the page.
How This Freelancing Article Is Different
Most articles written about freelancing are written from the perspective of the individual having the freedom to work for themselves. Flexible hours, choosing who you work for, and being able to fire your unwanted clients are usually top of the list of reasons people turn free agent. Here I will discuss why it also offers a wealth of opportunities for you to navigate your career to much higher levels than any job title can bring you.
If you dream of owning your own retail store one day then you need to know how to sell the product, merchandise, source and buy your products, and much more. If you want to have your own line of clothing you will need to not only know how to design your line, but how to source the fabric, price your products competitively, and find production. There is a lot that goes into it. And that is where freelancing can come in handy.
Pros to Freelancing:
First, freelancing allows you to make connections with many more people than you normally would just working for one company. Keeping in touch with them is not just good for business. Your network can help you advance quickly in your career. When you work full time your position is usually only considered up for promotion once a year. However, as a freelancer every job you take is an opportunity to advance due to new skill sets acquired or new categories covered. You can give yourself a raise. You are responsible for setting your own fees. So, you can raise your rates whenever you want. Just keep in mind that you are competing with other freelancers, so you need to remain competitive. However, new skill sets make you more valuable as a consultant.
Also consider that when you have a full-time position you are often pigeonholed into a particular area (missy, denim, swimwear, etc.). It can be difficult to gain experience in a different area of the business. Even if you are moving up in that company you may be losing out on opportunities to learn other areas of the business (design, sourcing, product development). Freelancing allows you to get your foot in the door in different areas of the industry and offers the ability to work on a multitude of product lines. Keep in mind that if you have little experience in this new area your compensation will reflect that. But once you gain this experience you will be worth much more.
The ability to set your own hours is wonderful. This is great if you need time to work on your own business or side projects. As long as you get the work done in a timely manner everyone wins. However, keep in mind that as a free agent one must constantly be lining up new work so that they have a steady stream of income.
Another great benefit is the ability to choose where and what projects you work on. As a free agent, you have to build your clientele. By networking and growing a solid reputation you have the potential to work for the best brands in the business. Your pedigree of clients speaks volumes. As a freelancer, you can move around and work on different projects which will keep your creative juices flowing and build your portfolio quickly.
There is the potential to make more money freelancing as you could working full time. However, that means making the right connections, having a great reputation with those you have worked for, and therefore clients are willing to pay more for your services. You can technically have multiple clients at one time. However, be aware of what you’re physically capable to take on.
Freelancing is not for everyone. But it is a great way to build your career and learn new skills that will help you reach your ultimate goals much faster. Take the time to think about what you need to learn or get experience in to reach your goals. Can working as a free agent help you get there faster?
- Talk to some other freelancers.
- Connect with a freelance agency in your area.
- Decide if it is for you.
Are You A Freelancer And Need To Get Organized?
Fashion Freelance Business Series:
- Is Freelancing Right For You?
- Build Your Career By Freelancing
- Top Tax Deduction For Fashion Freelancers
- How To Build A Successful Freelance Business
- Interview With Jennifer Diana of DJD Studios
- Advice From Top Fashion Freelancers