Many project managers enjoy a successful freelance career but taking the leap can seem like a step into the unknown. So just how do you carve out a niche for your project management services on a freelance basis?
It sounds idyllic becoming your own boss and setting your own working hours but going freelance is one of those career stages that doesn’t come without risk. Balancing the risk with reward is key to any freelance career.
Keep your skills up to date
You may be recently qualified after studying on a professional project management course or you may have several years of experience and a wide range of project management skills, either way, you need to keep your skills sharp. It doesn’t always have to be a training course although continuing to develop your skillset is a must. Reading project management blogs or journals and staying in touch with the latest issues via LinkedIn, for example, all help you keep up to date.
Get your name out there
As a freelance project manager, you need to make and maintain connections. As well as in-the-flesh networking opportunities, you can also tap into many of the online project management communities. Harness the power of social media too, especially LinkedIn for raising your profile and availability.
Build and maintain your portfolio
As well as listing qualifications, you also need to make sure that you make the most of your project management and employment experiences. Make the most of every ounce of experience by listing them as short and long term projects, discussing their risk and crisis points, the finer points of team management as well as highlighting effective communication skills.
Set your work hours
It is part and parcel of the job that freelance project managers (as well as other freelancers) work long project hours. There are times when late-night, stressful sessions are unavoidable but you don’t want these to become the norm. Protect your work-life balance by setting your work hours and sticking to them.
Make contacting you easy and keep communications clear
You want people to be able to contact you easily but you also need to be able to respond quickly when someone makes an enquiry. An e-newsletter can be a great way of staying in touch with clients and interested parties too. A weekly round up is a great idea and one that can reap many rewards in terms of work.
Be clear on who you are and what you offer
This isn’t just about your skillset but about your values and ethics. If you applied for a paid position, you would do so with a company that aligned with your own personal values and ethics. Opting to work as a freelance project manager is no different. When you work with a client whose goals and values align with your own, you’ll find that the project and communications run much more smoothly.
Training for project managers covers many facets and for the freelance project manager, it certainly equips them with the technical skillset they need. If you are serious about freelance work, why not consider business-related courses too?