Thinking about freelancing in Singapore, mama? Here’s a few helpful tips below.
There’s no doubt the nature of work is changing rapidly these days. New terms like ‘remote working’ and ‘digital nomads’ have entered our lexicon and mamas looking for an alternative to full time corporate work can find some great options that will help them re-enter the workforce on their own terms.
What is freelancing?
Freelancers are self-employed, doing contract work for other organizations. The most common freelance profession is writing, but even within that there are a lot of different options: travel writer, blogger, reviewer or report writer, for example. There’s also graphic designer, editor and proofreader, photographer, videographer – in this age of content marketing businesses need all the help they can get with creating content in all forms.
Are you ready?
It can be easy to romanticise freelancing life – being your own boss, tied to no one, and working when you want to. But freelancing is a tough gig. Working alone can be taxing. You will also spend a lot of time on admin like contract negotiations, communication with clients, and of course looking for new clients.
In Singapore, you can set up a Sole Proprietorship (SP) with ACRA to work as a freelancer. Expats on a Dependent Pass will then need to apply for a Letter of Consent to work for their own SP, a process that has recently become tricky and you will need the help of an agent to get this processed.
How you can make it work
Define your expertise
It’s great to be a ‘niche’ expert as it allows you to really narrow down you target customer, and allows them to know if they need you or not. Are you a graphic designer specialising in e-commerce sites? Or a writer specialising in the beauty industry?
Invest time (and money) on setting yourself up as a credible, experienced practitioner of your trade. Work on your LinkedIn profile, and create a simple webpage with portfolio work and contact details. If possible get testimonials from past contacts.
Network like crazy
Figure out where your customers will be and devote time each week to be there, too! You need to be out and about to be noticed. This also includes the online world. Use social media with a purpose – keep an eye on what’s happening in your industry and what the latest trends are. Be part of the conversation (but don’t get distracted!).
Define your boundaries
How much time do you have available? Set your weekly work hours and stick to them. Don’t try to bounce between parenting and working all day, it just doesn’t work. Spending three hours devoted 100% to working smart and efficiently will have far better results than trying to run errands, parent, or cook with one hand while sending emails with the other! Once your hours are defined you can be super productive, especially with a little forward planning in the evenings.
Choose a platform.
Don’t want to stick it out totally alone? There are a number of different platforms you can list on and can also process payments through which can make life a little easier. A few good ones include; Power to Fly (a new female-only global freelancers platform); Upwork (formerly Elance and Odesk. Touting itself as ‘the world’s largest freelance talent marketplace’); and freelancer.com (similar to Upwork with the addition of ‘contests’ to win work / prove your talent.).
Get a workspace.
Working from home can seem like a great idea, and for some it’s awesome. For many, especially mamas with small children, it’s a unproductive, frustrating and isolating. Have a look at your local co-working space; you’ll find a place to focus on your work, network and find business opportunities and tap into up-skilling and personal development events. Most have very flexible packages on a monthly membership, so you can work there from just one day a week or have a permanent desk.
Freelancing can be a great opportunity to keep your skills honed and resume filled, while taking time off from your career. It can also lead to something bigger and better – it can lead to a small business, which can grow as big you dream it! You have control over projects and your time which can teach you to work smarter and more selectively. Freelancing can be a great way of finding the balance us mamas are craving – just make sure to work it smart and on your own terms.