This article is written by Quin Hoskins. Having studied law and several science-related subjects at degree level, this has provided him with the perfect foundation to cover an eclectic range of topics in his freelance writing career. From the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs to countless travel sites, he is proud to be associated with companies and organizations that are definitely at the top of their game. The flexibility of his freelance writing business allows him to devote a significant proportion of his time to study and is finishing his last course – out of 6 – towards his LLB (Hons) this year. He is also an avid traveler and has proudly visited 40 other countries to date, with much more planned for the future.
If you have managed to gain some impressive qualifications and experience in the healthcare industry and are accustomed to working for health care organizations in the past, it will prove to be a rather daunting prospect to take the plunge and do it alone as a freelancer. I hope to help you with this checklist of the do's and don’ts you need to consider before you first branch out in your freelancing career. Here's a guide to get started as a freelancer!
- Do Prepare Your CV and Gather All Relevant Documentation Together
As a freelancer, it will be essential for you to ensure you have a top-notch portfolio that knocks the socks off any of your competitors. All future clients will wish to consider your previous experience and qualifications in the healthcare industry before they even consider offering you any work.
You will need to gather all the relevant documentation that any potential client will wish to see? For example, you may want to print off some copies of your certificates for your qualifications and any government registration that may be pertinent to where you live. You should also secure at least two reliable referees: politely ask them for a succinctly written reference that you can include with your documentation; plus they will need to include contact details for when clients wish to check a reference more thoroughly.
- Do Carefully Advertise Your Services
Before you leave your present employment, research the type of sites that are known to work well for healthcare professionals. Ask around between your colleagues; investigate online sites that seem to be buzzing with activity and positive reviews from past users; you may also wish to approach some healthcare agencies at first, just to secure some work for yourself as a freelancer to get started. In time, your connections and understanding of the freelance healthcare industry will grow, and you will come to appreciate the best courses of action to take to secure new work.
- Do Consider Your Business Plan
Now, while this may sound as though it should be more connected with most other types of freelancers, you do need to remember that when you branch out on your own as a freelancer, actually, you will still be starting your very own small business. Therefore, you need to create a thoughtful plan on how you intend this business to operate. This plan should address the following questions/points:
• Will you be content to secure just one or two clients in the industry or will you divide your working week between many different clients/patients?
• What rates of pay do you expect to achieve?
• What is the main ‘raison d’etre’ of your business? In other words, what are your core goals and what are the main positive points you would hope to achieve through your business and wish to be known for among your clients.
• How would you look to resolve any complaints/issues that may arise in your business?
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- Don’t Offer to Work for Free
This is a real bugbear of mine and an issue I battle on a regular basis: never, ever offer to undertake work for free for a client! This is so important. There are many unscrupulous clients out there who are ready and waiting to exploit any new freelancers. Unfortunately, these newbies often panic when they first start out in the world of freelancing and are prepared to work for free just to get a foot on the first rung of the ladder – don’t do this. There is a very good reason as to why you are starting to work for yourself: the skills and talents you are able to bring to the healthcare industry. Never undersell yourself and work for free – we need to work together to eradicate these verminous clients from the freelancing industry once and for all.
- Don’t Take on More Work Than You Can Realistically Handle
Okay, so in your desperation to prove yourself as a freelancer, you may commit yourself to far more work than you can ever realistically hope to handle. This is not the way to start out as a freelancer; this will burn you out before you even find your feet in the game. If you have read previous blogs on this site, you will know that the mantra here is ‘softly, softly catchy monkey’: start off slowly and build your workload to a manageable level over time.
- Don’t Ever Forget the Art of Communication
This piece of advice will serve you well as you enter the world of freelancing. Always remember, even when you become a seasoned freelancer, that communication is always the key. If you think you may be late in attending a patient or client – keep them informed; if you are not going to be able to hit an agreed deadline – inform the client as early as you realise this. I have come to find that polite and punctual communication is one of the aspects all clients really appreciate – no matter what realm of work you are in.
So, there we have it, a checklist for the top do's and don’ts to help you get started as a freelancer. Hopefully, if you follow the advice given here, you will find this exciting prospect to be a whole lot easier. In any event, I do wish you all the luck in the world!
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