5 Exciting Career Tracks for Freelancers

Can a freelancer have a career track?

Back when I was an employee, the company that I worked for decided that each professional-level employee needed to choose a career track as part of their employee development plan.

We were given a choice. Jump on the management track and be groomed to move into middle management. Or, choose to stay in your professional field and continue developing expertise in your field. Eventually those on the expert track would become team leads.

At that particular company, those two choices were pretty much the only ones available to the employees.

The other day I was thinking about freelancing and wondering what freelancers could expect from their freelancing careers. At first glance, it might seem that freelancing exists outside of career development. It might seem that once you’re a freelancer, that’s all there is–you’re a freelance writer, developer, designer, or whatever your field happens to be.

Well, of course staying in exactly the same position is okay if that’s the way you want it, but some freelancers may want to move ahead in the career. As freelancers, can they?

After thinking about this for a while, I became excited when I realized that freelancing actually offers many more career tracks than nearly any other business environment! Here are five career tracks that you may wish to explore.

Exciting Career Tracks for Freelancers

We often talk about taking our freelancing business to the “next level,” but exactly what does that mean? Once you have established your freelancing business, what’s next?

Here are some directions that you may wish to take your freelancing business:

  1. Management Track–Do you think that freelancers are excluded from becoming managers? It doesn’t have to be that way. A freelancer can move into management by starting to outsource work. As you take on more and more work and oversee more and more people, eventually you will hire your own employees. Many small agencies actually began as freelancing businesses.
  2. Expert Track–What if you’re not interested in becoming a manager, but simply wish to become one of the best in your field? Freelancing can accommodate this ambition too. Work hard to stay on the cutting edge and be sure to use guest posts and speaking opportunities to highlight your growing expertise. Experts can charge top dollar for their freelancing services.
  3. Coaching/Teaching Track–Many freelancers move into another direction entirely–that of a coach, mentor, or consultant. If this is you, you’ll be helping others grow and succeed, which can be quite rewarding. Freelancers on this track often get started by writing an eBook about their field. If you are interested in this, try adding coaching to your current services.
  4. Product Development Track–Another exciting opportunity for freelancers is the development of new products and tools that can help others in your field succeed. The inspiration for many apps and other products is often a freelancer’s own experience. Someone can’t find what they need, so they create a new tool or app and then make it available to others.
  5. Lateral Career Move–It’s fairly common for an employee to be hired for a position they end up not liking. In a traditional company, when this happens the employee may be stuck. They have to wait for the right opening or quit their job. For a freelancer, a lateral career move to a new field is much more possible. They can learn a new skill while working on the old.

These are just five of the many directions that a freelancer’s career may take. Now it’s time to talk about whether these career tracks can be combined.

Freelancing Career Tracks Need Not Be Exclusive

One of the great things about freelancing is that you’re in charge of your job. You really are. If you want to travel down one of these career paths, it’s up to you to make it happen.

Likewise, if you want to combine several of these tracks–you can. You’re not hemmed in by any corporate restrictions (like I was when I had to pick one of two career tracks as a corporate employee). You can combine career tracks however you see fit. In fact, I can’t think of a single company that offers so many career paths to its employees.

Not only that, you can change career direction whenever you want to (or need to). You don’t have to wait for the right position to open up. If you’re tired of the direction you’re going, reboot your freelancing business and reinvent yourself.

Your Turn

I’ve listed five possible freelancing career tracks, but these are really just five possibilities out of a vast realm of freelancing opportunities. Many more possible freelancing career tracks exist.

Can you think of several career tracks for freelancers that I’ve missed? How has your freelancing career developed? Have you changed or expanded your direction?
Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image by Biscarotte

Related posts:

  1. Using Quora to Boost a Freelancing Career
  2. Boost Your Freelancing Career by Making the Most of LinkedIn Groups
  3. Preparing for a Freelance Career

Source http://freelancefolder.com/?p=15303
Wed, 20 Jul 2011 12:30:13 GMT
Tags: Inspiration,
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