Becoming an independent worker means choosing the path of entrepreneurship and taking responsibility for creating one’s own opportunities.
Like an employee, the freelancer exchanges their time and skills for money. However, unlike an employee, the freelancer doesn’t have a job description or a fixed salary. They have to specify, by themselves, what they are offering, who they are selling to, and at what price. That’s what’s called the business proposal.
Let’s look together at how to specify a clear and relevant business proposal, one suited to your profile and the realities of the marketplace. That way, you'll have every chance of success in winning over your future clients and making a living from your freelance business.
In this part of the course, you’ll learn to:
Identify the right concept about services (the one that suits you);
Identify your future clients;
Calculate your break-even point;
Set the price for your services;
Present your business proposal.
Find ideas for your individual business
You want to become an independent worker, but you have no ideas? Are you dithering between several types of service provision?
This chapter contains several exercises, in the following order, to help you to:
Produce your special, freelancer skills assessment,
Build your proposal based on what you want personally and professionally,
Validate your concept with a short market analysis.
Produce your special, freelancer skills assessment
The skills assessment is a survey of your professional assets. It will allow you to identify what you can (and hope to) do and evaluate the following achievements:
The knowledge that brings together the expertise you’ve acquired thanks to your training and experience;
Know-how that describes your knowledge in action and in a practical way;
Life skills (also called soft skills) that include your attitudes and interpersonal skills. These personal abilities are greatly appreciated in the work world.
There’s also a special category for independent workers:
The conditions that encompass your desires and limitations. They shouldn’t be presented as constraints, but rather as assets for the enterprise hiring you. Everything about you can be transformed into assets. For example, if you don’t want to work evenings and weekends, you can indicate that you’re available for a wide range of working hours, from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm for assignments. You just need to formulate it in a positive way.
Understanding hard skills and soft skills
These are frequently used terms. Hard skills designate an individual’s knowledge and know-how. Soft skills are the abilities relating to life skills.
To summarise, to produce your special freelancer skills assessment, it is necessary to identify the following assets:
Nature of asset
Path to finding one’s talents
Knowledge (what you know)
I know + name
I know marketing.
I know the law.
Capability (what you can do)
I can + verb
I can sell.
I can drive.
I can create schedules for a team.
Personal qualities (what you are)
I am + adjective
I am punctual.
I am intuitive.
I am enquiring.
Desires and limitations (what you want)
I want + complement
I want to work on creative projects.
I would like to work away from the office.
I want a flexible schedule.
Now it’s your turn to do this professional and personal survey.
Give yourself 15 minutes in a quiet place and at a time when you won’t be disturbed to do this assessment.
Do you lack inspiration? Don’t hesitate to:
Ask your family, friends or former colleagues what your strengths are;
Browse freelance job platforms to find ideas (website names are given later in this chapter);
Take OpenClassrooms courses to make an inventory of your skills and analyse your strengths and weaknesses, such as the Learn how to learn and Develop your career plan courses;
Carry out research on the Internet to find lists of knowledge, know-how and life skills;
Seek the help of professional careers counsellors, with a professional development adviser.
In some circumstances, you can get funding to carry out a skills assessment with a professional development adviser.
Draw up a strategy that prioritises your preferences
The second stage in your search for ideas consists of drawing up a list of these assets, in priority order. To do this, we are going to use a matrix to classify them according to your proficiency level and your degree of interest.
Bring together all your knowledge, know-how, life skills and conditions in the table below, according to your preferences, your degree of interest (enthusiasm or indifference), and your proficiency in the subjects (expert or basic knowledge).
Proficiency / Interest
Expertise in the field (+)
Where you shine (Plan A)
To retain in case of financial need (Plan B)
Basic knowledge (-)
Area for improvement and long-term goal (plan training sessions)
Everything shown in this cell should be forgotten about
In becoming an independent worker, you have the amazing opportunity of building your work around your life, rather than the other way around. 😁 Don’t set strict limits for yourself; you can always readjust your strategy if your Plan A doesn’t work from the outset.
Validate your ideas with a quick market analysis
A market analysis for a freelancer involves a rapid and cursory analysis to satisfy yourself that there is a demand for your proposed services.
Here are a few techniques for researching market demand for your services:
Browse freelance platforms, job search websites and the small ads online looking for similar service offers to your own, or for business needs corresponding to your skills.
Here are a few tips on sites to explore:
Small ads (jobs sections): Classiads, TaskRabbit
Jobseeker sites (even if these are generally for salaried job postings, it means that the skills in the job descriptions are sought after): LinkedIn, Monster, Freshminds, Indeed
Look for freelance profiles similar to your own (and to what you offer) on social networks (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.). There are numerous Facebook groups dedicated to freelancers, and there’s lots of goodwill there. Don’t hesitate to contact your indirect competitors (e.g. those based on a different region) and to ask for their feedback.
Conduct several interviews, if possible with potential clients, or with your circle of contacts on social networks. Ask them if your services could interest them, and if they already use competing solutions. Avoid questioning your friends, their advice could be biased by their wanting to support you.
Explore search engines with the following keywords “becoming + (the name of your role) + freelance” or “UK job market for + (the name of your role)”. For example: “becoming a freelance secretary” or “UK market for chauffeur-driven car hire”.
If your market analysis doesn’t enable you to confirm the existence of opportunities for your services, you have several solutions: research new ideas, or persevere by taking the steps below. It’s up to you to follow your intuition to know whether you should take the risk of investing more time in that idea, or whether to abandon it and choose another way forward.
Congratulations, you now know what services you can offer! 😎 It’s time to find who you’ll sell them to, by defining your target clientele.