If you've found yourself with a change in employment over the last year due to the pandemic, or a new found desire to work from home, becoming a freelancer might be the way to go. If you've already been a freelancer for awhile, you're in good company, many AFWJ members are part of the community. Working remotely is also a great way to stay employed in your industry in Japan without having to had Japanese language skills!
This post will point you to online courses to help you with five general freelancing skills: starting out, improving business, organization, contracting, and branding. With increasing numbers of freelancers joining the independent workforce, there is more competition than ever; don’t worry, there’s also more and more online education available to help you succeed.
In order to thrive as an independent worker you need to know how to handle the business-side of freelancing; here’s just a few places to help get you started in your quest for knowledge:
Starting out: A course a new freelancer might want to start with is aptly called: Becoming a Freelancer in 2021. It is a free course that can be found at Upwork, a well-known freelancing website. This course covers all the skills a new freelancer needs to get started. It is a great course for beginners and anyone struggling with some of the basic freelance business skills needed in order to be successful.
Improving business: Several sources of advice for freelancers will point you to this course: Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course as one of the best online course available for anyone, from beginners to freelance-veterans, who is interested in becoming more successful in their freelance career. This course covers areas such as: finding clients, building your reputation, growing your business and earning a higher income.
It also addresses a few other common concerns that freelancers face. It can be found at Udemy, one of the premier sources for online education, which is set up in a pay per course style and it’ll set you back ¥24,000
Organization: When working from home it can be difficult to know when to be “on the clock” and when not to be, if you’re having trouble with scheduling and work/life balance as a freelancer, the course The Freelancing Guide: How to Organise your Work and Life might be right for you. This course covers 5 useful topics:
- Scheduling your time
- Doing favours for friends
- The importance of networking and socialising
- Using your downtime effectively
- Working around a family and other commitments
It can be found at Skillshare, one of the most popular online education hubs, which operates by charging a monthly fee. To access this course, as well as all others available on Skillshare, a membership is required. They do offer a free one month trial if you’re not sure if you want to commit.
Contracting: People who are just starting out as freelancers can often be totally clueless when it comes to contracts. Sometimes even experienced freelancers may not feel confident and competent in their knowledge of how contracts work and need a little help. The course Contracting for Creatives explores contract-related topics so thoroughly that you will be an expert by the time you finish it. It covers:
Branding: Our final course is offered by fiverr, another freelancing platform like upwork which also offers free courses. Anyone in need of branding help can learn from this guide called What is Branding, which covers: what branding is, why it's important and how to do it. It is not as spiffy as the fee-based content available but this easy to read guide is great for people who need to learn about branding but do not have money to spend on education at the moment.
Taking time to study the business aspect of freelancing can really improve your chances of success. However, be sure to spend your time wisely; it is important to spend more time on studying and improving your skills in your niche area than it is to become a business expert.