You’ve toyed with the idea of moving from a permanent position to becoming a Salesforce freelancer. Good news for you, the Salesforce market is booming!
Moving from a permanent position to the relative uncertainty of freelancing can be a risky journey for some IT competencies. Salesforce, however, is an easier area to make this transition into. This is partly due to the abundance of Salesforce vacancies currently on the market due to extensive implementations and upgrades. The user-friendly interface has also played a significant role in its success and proliferation of skills in the form of key users and developers, who -with some expertise- are well-qualified to become freelancers in their own right.
Freelancing can be extremely rewarding for those who decide to take the plunge, but there are a few things that should be considered before you take on your first contract. Here we will cover a few essentials for any Salesforce freelancer: skills, network, savings, portfolio, terms, and vision.
You’re committed to the idea of becoming a Salesforce freelancer but it's important to give yourself a reality check before diving into freelancing. Ask yourself: are there enough freelance opportunities for your skill set?
A good place to start verifying this is looking at specialist job boards (jobserve.com, indeed.com) or through a recruiter’s project vacancies like ours at Global Enterprise Partners. By scanning through a mix of these sources you will be able to see if your skillset is sought out not only regularly but on a contract— rather than permanent— basis.
Naturally, there are some skill sets that will be more in demand in the Salesforce freelance field, such as Vlocity consultants, senior-level developers, and Marketing Cloud professionals. Others such as Salesforce Administrators will be in lower demand for contract positions as these roles are traditionally filled internally.
Ensuring that your skillset is sought after on a contract basis should be considered as a prerequisite for pursuing a healthy freelance career. Without the appropriate demand for your skillset, freelancing may turn out to be more famine than feast.
Your network will inevitably be one of your biggest assets as a Salesforce freelancer. Tapping into and developing your network of Salesforce professionals working both in permanent and contract positions will ease some of the potential pain points of freelancing. Once you opt to transition into Salesforce freelancing, it will pay off to update your network on your new career path. This may encourage them to alert you should they hear of any contracts in their network that might be interesting for you.
However, sometimes it’s not as easy as a one-time reminder- maintaining contact with your network is important. As you become more experienced, developing and expanding your network will help you maintain a stable pipeline of projects coming your way and help you get your name out in the market. One of the biggest concerns of many Salesforce freelancers is the downtime between projects. Maintaining your network, and speaking about your professional passion, can alleviate this concern by providing another source of potential projects outside of hunting one down yourself.
Sometimes your personal network may turn up dry and you may require the services of a specialist recruiter, like Global Enterprise Partners. Specialist recruiters can also be a valuable addition to your professional network as they work exclusively with clients hiring for your skillset. Identify the right recruiters for your specialism and location(s). Often freelancers prefer to use recruiters to ease the stress of securing their next assignment and find more project variety than they may otherwise find on their own.
As a Salesforce freelancer, you’ll likely have project opportunities to choose from. It’s important that you select opportunities that will continue to develop your skillset. From time to time, this may mean turning down offers and sometimes even having a waiting period between assignments.
During these periods where you’re off a project, it’s important to be able to sustain your lifestyle— whether that's paying your rent, mortgage or other bills / regular expenses. For some Salesforce freelancers, this means maintaining a secondary source of income- this can be from a rental property or part-time freelance work (given that this is allowed by any other concurrent contracts). For others, savings play a crucial role in ensuring that these periods are relatively comfortable.
Most contractors estimate for a 3-6 month gap between any contract with allotted savings to carry them through to their next assignment.
While traditionally professionals use a CV to introduce themselves to a client, Salesforce freelancers ought to consider a portfolio as a supplement. What’s the difference?
CVs tend to be descriptive documents that are tailored to each individual company. A CV will detail each position and related responsibilities or achievements. The problem with using a CV as a Salesforce freelancer is that you will accumulate far more positions than the average permanent employee. After a couple years, maintaining a CV can easily mean creating a 10+ page document. For many prospective clients, your real skills and potential added-value to any project will be lost in the volume.
It’s advisable to prepare two separate documents:
1. A CV: an overview of positions (title and company) and basic responsibilities; four pages maximum and tailored to the role you are applying for.
2. A portfolio: a full outline of project scope/goal, involvement, responsibilities, technologies, functional competencies, team structure and achievements for every project.
The aim of the portfolio is to give clients a detailed record of your project experience on paper, while CVs are intended to tailor your experience to the role and demonstrate relative suitability. Portfolios can also provide a helpful reference point for you collect your specific project experience in one living document. As a living document, a portfolio should be updated throughout a project to ensure you capture small details of your experience that may be otherwise overlooked at project close out.
Coming prepared to any hiring process with your expectations when it comes to rate, payment terms, hours and travel arrangements is particularly important when you start out as a Salesforce freelancer. While every process has some degree of flexibility, having a range in mind will help you negotiate the appropriate arrangement for yourself and know when a project may not be worth pursuing. This is an area where most recruiters will be able to either help inform you on market standards or to assist in the negotiation phase for a vacancy.
As a Salesforce freelancer, you will be responsible for your own professional development. This means not only selecting the right projects for your career but also forming a vision of what you would like to achieve through your work. Moving from project to project can become monotonous and repetitive without a vision or goal to work towards. Your goal can be professional— to develop your skill set in a new technology or functional competency— or personal— to purchase your first home. These goals will help drive your career and give purpose to your work through tough project lifecycles.
Interested in taking your Salesforce freelance career to the next level? Check out some of our contract vacancies in the Salesforce space by clicking below.