Contributed by Jenny Rothe to pmStudent
Image credit: Unsplash
Are you looking to be a project manager, but still have control over your time? You might be interested in a freelance career in this field. Freelancing can be a very lucrative career, especially since many businesses are trying to cut costs and are actively seeking remote workers.
CNBC reports that over a third of the American workforce was freelancers during the pandemic. This contributed $1.2 trillion to the nation’s economy. This was 22% more than in 2019.
Here are some things you should know before you decide to pursue a career in freelance project management.
Register your business
People often say that freelancers can be their own boss. This is both legally and literally true. You must submit the necessary documents to run your business. Selling your services is considered a business. Legally, you are called a “consultant”. Freelancers have two options for starting a consulting company: a sole proprietorship or an LLC.
A sole proprietorship is the easiest to set up and most affordable. All you need is an employer ID number, a local tax certificate and a permit to offer your services. An operating agreement is required for forming an LLC. Owners can also separate their personal and business assets, which gives them additional protection against liability.
It can be difficult to pitch freelancing services for a company, especially if you are the one who stands behind your work. Potential clients may be more likely to accept your services if you have certificates or training courses. A survey by Project Management Institute (PMI), found that project managers who have been certified earn at least 23% higher than those without them. You can also look into certifications issued by the PMI and the International Association of Project Managers, American Academy of Project Management, Global Association for Quality Management, and American Academy of Project Management. You can have more than one certificate.
Expand your network
Freelancers don’t have a company that provides them a steady stream of projects (unless they’re contracted to one). So you need to build your network. Participate in conferences and events. The PMI Global Conference, for example, just ended in October. You can look forward to next year. Join project management groups to meet others who might recommend you for a job. It’s important to maintain the relationship once you have established a connection. Reach out to people when you have a job or if you have other opportunities. If you want to make lasting connections, they must be two-way.
Find a balance
Learning how to balance work and family life is one of the greatest challenges in becoming your own boss. Your home is your office. This makes it easy to get work done. Plan your day is one of the five ways to improve your self-management skills. You can list your priorities and create a schedule for 30-minute increments. This will help you establish boundaries and let you know when you should stop working. It may be beneficial to have an office space in your home, but not in your bedroom or other “comfort” areas. Your “office” will help you become a project manager mindset by allowing you to enter it. It becomes a personal promise to yourself that you will leave it when you are done with the day.
There are many steps to follow if you want your project management skills to be used in the freelancing industry. However, you will not regret it once your business is established. Be sure to plan your steps before making any major decisions.
Jenny Rothe is a freelance writer