5 Steps to Professional Development as a Freelancer
a professional can make their own hours and work from anywhere.
On the other hand, a freelancer often works from home or at odd hours
– and it can be lonely to work in that kind of solitude.
other freelancers for a coworking session. The more serious threat to a freelancer’s career
is the lack of professional development and mentorship that would otherwise
be available in a traditional office environment. It’s incumbent on freelancers
to seek out their own development and mentoring opportunities to continue
to grow professionally. Often, there’s no formal corporate ladder, no regular
one-on-ones, and no development benefits available to freelancers.
here are some steps to take to branch out and grow your skills.
Complete a skills evaluation
This is an important first step to your professional development.
“While it can be tempting to rely on a mentor to give you guidance on where you need to improve,
you’ll get much more out of any mentorship relationship if you’ve done some self-reflection first,”
- Core Values Index assessment
ask trusted colleagues or clients to give you some feedback on where you could improve.
It could be as simple as asking a client what they think they will need ten years down the road:
for instance, what coding language would be useful to learn?
What business trends or customer preferences are they planning for?
Map your development around the needs of your customers to stay sharp.
Create a professional development plan
Flexjobs says this step involves deciding on which of two areas you should focus your effort:
“learning new skills or developing existing ones.”
Essentially, do you want to become an expert in something you’re already good at,
or do you want to broaden your skillset to learn new things?
But, it does help guide freelancers to spend their time thoughtfully.
When you have a path to focus on, then you can begin to carve out time each day to practice a skill,
enroll in a class, attend a seminar, or listen to podcasts.
It also gives you direction when working with a career coach or mentor.
Work with a coach
and a network of professionals to get career development.
Our coaching focuses on working through a series of real-world projects that will hone your skills
in effective communication, accurate estimation, agile methodologies, product concepts, and more.
Once a freelance developer completes this phase in their relationship with JetCake,
and successfully completes a project with a client, they will have access to JetCake Developer
Network for ongoing support, learning, and growth.
Codementor is a similar organization that offers live mentorship on freelance projects.
skillset, and growth. A career coach can weigh in on your LinkedIn profile,
business development plan, and help you expand your network much in the same
way a traditional mentor would. They can be expensive though, so make sure you
go into a career coaching relationship with a specific goal in mind.
Keep in touch with former colleagues
with former colleagues to combat freelancer isolation and
to make sure you’re apprised of industry trends.
“Seek out real, regular interactions with former colleagues.
If lunch at the old office isn’t feasible, there’s always a sustained IM chat on Facebook,
an outdoor activity, or an invitation to dinner at your home.
Such connections maintain continuity in your life.
They also help you stay on top of what’s happening in your industry in a way that
mere consumption of media can’t.” Keeping in touch with colleagues can help you find new
business as well as learn about your industry.
Join a coworking space
like Toastmasters. Coworking spaces frequently offer guest presentations or seminars
to their members. Simply talking to people over lunch can also bring new learning opportunities
across your desk. Find a way to network frequently and keep your big goals in mind as you
interact with other freelancers, colleagues, and coaches.