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Going Freelance: What Engineers Need To Know

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Engineers at a desk

(RAEng Publications, Pixabay)

30 July 2021. We have all had a tough time when it comes to job security over the course of the pandemic. Many of us have been put on endless furlough, waiting for businesses to reopen and the market to rebound, hoping that our employers will survive long enough to bring us back to work. Even with things looking better out there as more and more people are getting vaccinated, there is still a lot of uncertainty as new COVID-19 variants continue to emerge. With that in mind, it makes a lot of sense that so many engineers are considering going freelance.

Becoming a full-time freelancer is an incredibly exciting time as you can finally take full responsibility for your work, but it is important to note that there are several hurdles to jump and several important duties that you will need to fulfill. If you are thinking about taking the jump and becoming a freelance engineer, here are a few things that you need to know.

You’re going to need to get organized

It’s one thing to have confidence in your skillset. It’s another to know that you have the organizational skills necessary to keep your head above water as a freelancer. You are going to need to get to grips with your timekeeping as you rush from one job to another. You don’t want to find yourself unable to keep a commitment because you agreed to a job in a hurry. You are going to need to make sure that you stay on top of your finances. There has to be a clear record of every incoming payment and every outgoing expense, and you need to make sure that you are filing your taxes correctly. If you are at all unsure of what your financial responsibilities as a freelancer are, then it may well be worth talking to an accountant.

You are going to have to put yourself out there

If there is one thing that every freelancer knows, it is that you have to hustle for each and every job. Now, there is a good chance that if you are going freelance, then you already have a number of contacts in your book that you already have a good relationship with. Start there. Get in touch and let them know that you are going into business for yourself and that you are actively looking for work.

Now is not the time to be shy or modest. If you are going to make a living at this, you need to let people know how good you are. Secondly, you need to build your web presence. Get yourself out there on social media and promote yourself an experienced, expert engineer. Make sure that you are marketing yourself to the right people.

You are going to need to make sure you’re covered

Of course, no one gets into freelancing expecting something to go wrong. However, it is more important than ever that you make sure that you have the correct insurance as soon as you go into business for yourself. If you suffer an injury while on a freelance job, or you accidentally cause damage to the property you are working on, you could be looking at a huge range of expenses from medical costs to compensation, let alone legal fees. Reliable engineering insurance will give you the peace of mind that you need to go about your work confidently. You can focus on the task at hand without worrying about how you’re going to cover the cost of any unfortunate incident. Next offers a range of different policies starting from just $21 a month.

Build your portfolio

One of the most important assets that you will have as a freelance engineer is your work. That means that you need to make sure that you document each and every job that you complete, detailing the different challenges that you overcame and the speed and efficiency with which you got it all done.

You should be sure to solicit feedback from each one of your clients to help build your review history and demonstrate your customer service quality. People looking for a freelance engineer will be looking for someone trustworthy who will get the job done quickly with minimal fuss. The better you can demonstrate that you are that person, the more clients you will attract. Times may be tough out there but studies show that freelancers have reasons to be optimistic. Be confident, be assertive and hit the ground running.

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