Today, in practically every industry across the board, more Americans are choosing to take their freelance careers full-time. The reasons workers have for making the transition to freelancing are endless—from more flexible hours to a less restrictive work environment.
More employers are looking to hire independent contractors, as well, making it easier than ever to secure work as a freelancer. One of the positions gaining traction across the U.S. is contract engineering.
While in the past an engineer would often begin their career working for a firm, today, many are venturing out on their own from the start.
There is a wide range of benefits that come with working as a freelance engineer. You can work at your own pace, according to your own schedule, and tackle as many or as few projects as you desire. Plus, freelancing in general tends to offer additional freedoms that you just won’t find working anywhere else.
Read on to learn how you can become a freelance engineer in just 5 simple steps!
What Is Contract Engineering?
Contract engineering offers you the unique ability to contract your work to a variety of clients. As a contract engineer, you don’t work for a company or firm. Instead, you represent yourself as an independent engineer for hire.
People can contact you directly. Or, clients can contact you through a freelancing site, which provides an easy way for them to find the exact type of employee they need to fill virtually any position.
Freelance websites have become more common as a way to hire ideal candidates to fill a role, as needed. However, all freelancing sites are not the same.
Some websites cater to specific groups of workers more than others. As a freelance engineer, you will want to seek out the best sites for professional contractors such as yourself, to find work.
Step One: Create a Killer Resume and Portfolio
Like any job that you may apply for, freelancing requires preparation.
Since you will likely be competing against a sea of other contract engineers, you will want to make sure that your resume and portfolio stand out.
Spend some time crafting a killer resume and putting together a portfolio that will impress potential clients. After all, this is how you will get noticed and prove your credibility before you are hired for a position.
As a beginner, your resume and portfolio are crucial since you haven’t yet had the opportunity to grow your client list. Make sure that they broadcast your professional skills, highlight your credentials, and display past accomplishments in a way that is easy to read and understand.
Step Two: Set up Your Office
Many freelance engineers choose to work from home when they are just starting out. Whether you opt for a home office or choose to work in a space away from home, you will want to make sure that you have everything you need at your fingertips to do your job and to do it well.
Create a checklist of supplies and equipment that you will need when performing your job. Then, you will be able to maintain office inventory so you can easily restock items when they become low-in-supply.
Create a neat and orderly workspace. Organize your workday essentials so that they are easy-to-reach and accessible when needed. Then, wrap up daily by decluttering and preparing for the next day.
Step Three: Develop a Marketing Plan
Marketing is essential as a freelancer. If you don’t have an effective marketing plan, how will you connect with clients? That’s why it’s imperative that you find a platform where you can be found by those in need of your services.
In today’s digital world, marketing opportunities are endless. Create a social media page on all of the major social media channels to boost your visibility.
Spend some time defining your own individual brand. Even as a freelancer, you will want to develop a brand that defines who you are and allows others to recognize you. You might even choose to create a logo, which can help potential clients recognize you.
Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing!
Word of mouth continues to be one of the best marketing tools out there. Tell everyone you know about your new career as a freelance engineer, and let them know how to reach you. In turn, they too will spread the word when they hear of opportunities that fit your career profile.
Finally, be sure to search for local sites for help-needed advertisements that align with your abilities. If you see a local ad that is hiring for an engineer, don’t be afraid to reach out and offer your services.
Step Four: Register on a Freelancing Website
Freelancing websites not only help you find work, but they are also one of the top ways that companies and individuals find suitable candidates to fill a position.
The right website will make marketing effortless. Why? Because it will automatically connect you with clients who are looking for your skills, specifically.
Choose a website that is well-suited for engineers and contractors. It also helps if the freelancing site offers additional job-specific resources to help you market your skills and find new jobs.
When looking for a freelancing website, find out how their hiring process works. This will tell you a lot about your potential for work. And, look for a website that focuses on freelance engineers (believe it or not, they’re out there!).
Step Five: Always Put Your Best Foot Forward
Once you start obtaining work, be sure you commit to excellence and only take on what you are able. Overloading yourself will result in a sub-par quality of work, which is the last thing you want clients to expect from you.
Offering high-quality work is paramount in any field. Anything less can quickly ruin your career as a freelancer.
Make sure that you put your very best into every job that you are hired to do.
You might even consider offering your customers a “satisfaction guarantee”. This will help new clients feel comfortable hiring you. This is especially important when you are just starting out and haven’t yet accumulated many reviews.
Ready to Get Started?
There couldn’t be a better time to start your career in contract engineering. With more people choosing to work from home, and more employers choosing to hire independent contractors, the job market is ripe.
If you’re ready to take the leap into a new freelance career, we can help.
Click here to sign up and get started as a freelance engineer today!