How Should Freelancers Choose Work Wisely
The prospect of getting a new work assignment is thrilling for a freelancer. This is also the time to evaluate the job on a practical basis and decide if it makes sense to pick or drop the project right away.
Picture this: You got shortlisted for a freelance work assignment. Your chances of grabbing the opportunity are high. Excitement runs down your spine instantly and the only thing occupying your mind is the thrill of cracking a new client. Most freelancers have mixed emotions at this juncture, ranging from feeling proud about their work and thinking about work management.
Experienced freelancers will however tell you that, more than rejoicing, one should pause for a moment and take a step back to think if you should 'really' take this assignment or not.
It sounds passive but that is the most practical thing to do. On a realistic note, most freelancers pitch for any project that finds a relevance or match with their skill set. It is common to see feature writers pitching for story book editing jobs or event managers pitching in for choreography jobs.
Bangalore-based Debapriya Sengupta took a maternity sabbatical from her job at an IT-company. Once her son was a year old she started looking for part time work assignments and got shortlisted for an office executive position job with a fashion chain establishing local unit in the city. Soon she realized that this was not her cup of her tea. She was ok with the office management tasks but calling up people and coordination took a toll on her. "I found it really uncomfortable to call up people and chase them to send reports on time. And as it happens, some would avoid calls and others would give vague reasons. Every time something like that happened, I realized that I was not happy with the job," she says. Gradually, she gave up on that assignment.
Lesson 1 - Pick an assignment only if you know the work thoroughly or have the courage to pull it through any how like a pro.
A freelancer may be the jack of all fields and even the master of some of them and hence may want to take on an assignment on this basis. He may even get shortlisted based on his profile, face-to-face discussion or experience but the real devil lies in the execution stage. Think once before putting in a final say and ask yourself – ‘will you be able to do a real pro job of the given assignment?’
Another big fact is that most freelancers like to work independently. Fair enough, but in case of bloopers, that can be suicidal. If you have an assignment at hand where you are slipping up on work, it makes real sense to get help immediately. Either discuss it with someone who is a pro in the given field…or simply, pass on that take to someone who can do it more confidently. That will save you some embarrassment later.
Lesson 2 - Have you backups in place before taking on an assignment.
Another interesting case happened with a freelance blogger. He claimed to be great at blogging. He was appointed as a consultant with an upcoming mobile reviewing website. He did know “how to write” but content management and particularly project management in this case entailed some technical know-how too.
He realized this much later when he started with the assignment. He found it difficult to coordinate with tech lead and design lead or to review their work or give them meaningful feedback. He had to go back to the proprietor, requesting him to be considered only for writing assignments.
Lesson 3 – Taking assignment on basis of things that you have done very vaguely will back fire for sure. Make your case clear in advance.
What one should evaluate when taking projects -
- Can I do a good job of this assignment on my own?
- What is my backup in case of an issue?
- What is my Plan B to get through it smoothly?
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