The freelancers are on the march! As the old “jobs for life” disappear in favor of the so-called gig economy, It’s now reckoned that more than a third of all US workers are freelancers, while the equivalent figure in Europe is a still-healthy 15%.
Does the freelance life appeal to you? The freedom to be your own boss, choosing the jobs you like and creating your own schedule is certainly very attractive. And you don’t have to be a graphic designer or PR consultant to take advantage: there are plenty of opportunities for hospitality professionals to freelance all over the world.
A bit of courage, preparation and some useful pointers might help you become an in-demand hospitality freelancer. Why not start with these seven top tips we’re happy to share:
1. Prepare in advance
The most common reason for failure in self-employment is an impulsive and hasty start. If you want to make it work, start preparing for freelancing before you quit your current job or finish studies. Take some time to create your own brand; network with other specialists; do some research and make a business plan. It might mean you’ll get off to a little bit of a slower start, but your freelance career will definitely last longer if you organize everything properly.
2. Your identity is your brand
Your personal brand should reflect your purposes and goals – think about what makes you special and how it can help you market your services. Showing your personality should allow you to create a connection with clients and win their trust. It is especially important for the jobs of hospitality consultant, travel consultant, tourism blogger, luxury hotel advisor and hotel reviewer, as they may require you to have a strong brand and be an influencer.
3. Create a portfolio
A well-designed portfolio is a must-have for any freelancer, as it shows prospective clients what you are capable of. Gather information from your previous work or samples that represent your skills. If you do not have a lot of experience, you could offer your services for free in order to generate some samples. Whether you cook some incredible dishes, organize events or plan cruises, choose a portfolio format that can show your work in the best possible light.
4. Make a plan
Creating a personal business plan is an important step for any freelancer. Self-employed workers often have to balance between two or even three projects. A plan will help you combine these tasks successfully. Think about your goals, financial requirements, working hours and your limits. Do some research to find out the current rates and set your own prices. Decide how much you would like to earn a month and how many clients you need to achieve this goal.
5. Build a client base
Most of your first clients will come from referrals and people who know you. The first thing to do is to inform all the people around you about your decision to become a freelancer. Post your portfolio on relevant websites for freelancers to let people know that you are available. Use platforms like LinkedIn and Upwork to find offers. Visit job-related events and conferences to make new connections. Networking is the main tool in building a client base. The power of word of mouth might surprise you.
6. Get finances under control
When you work for a company, there are specialists who take care of insurance, taxes, invoices and other financial details. When you’re a freelancer, you have to handle everything by yourself. You might either learn how to do it or use the help of an accountant. If you travel a lot working in different hotels or restaurants, meeting an accountant in real life might be difficult. However, there are websites that offer online services of reliable accountants.
7. Believe in yourself
If you want to be self-employed, you have to believe you can do it. Freelancing starts with desire, faith and enthusiasm, not with quitting a job. Your clients will not trust you if they don’t feel you can handle the tasks they’re giving you. Find a mentor or influencer to get some inspiration, or network with more advanced, successful freelancers and learn from them.
Becoming a freelancer might be scary, but a clear plan of action can make it real. Whether you want to become a hospitality blogger, event manager, a chef, a travel planner or any other freelance specialist in the hospitality industry, the tips above will be vital.
Why not also take a look at the infographic below, which we’ve borrowed from Resume Writing Lab? It shows all the key steps to becoming a freelancer.
Last, but not least, you’ll find plenty of entrepreneurial inspiration from Les Roches alumni now striking out with their own businesses – find them on the dedicated microsite Made in Les Roches.
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