Now is the best time to become an AV freelancer. It’s estimated that the US alone will have a workforce that’s made up of over 40 percent freelancers by 2020! That means the gig economy as we know it is thriving, enough so that with the right infrastructure and motivation, it should be easy enough for a technician to get started.
How do you know if AV freelance work is right for you? Perhaps you’ve already posed this question, and it’s a valid one. The industry is more competitive than it’s ever been, with buyers hiring freelancers not just locally but globally.
If you want three clarifying questions that will help you answer the big one, check them out below.
Do You Have Excellent Communication Skills?
Excellent communication is the grease that keeps the cogs moving in an AV project, so to speak. Project managers require ongoing communication from start to finish to ensure milestones are being met on schedule and that you’re trustworthy and reliable.
Speaking of trustworthiness, these skills are also the key to genuine networking, which can generate enough AV freelance work for you to make a living on. To accelerate your career as a freelance technician, you’ll need to garner positive references from your clients and fellow teammates on AV projects. Your reputation is everything, next to your technical skills when you’re a part of the AV freelance marketplace.
If you can demonstrate professional oral and written communication, then you’re starting off on the right foot!
Are You Certified?
This might seem like an obvious question to ask, but you might just happen to be really handy with AV hardware and software and are self-taught. While it’s a great sign that you have a natural proficiency for technical work, AV companies are looking for even entry-level technicians to have industry-standard certifications. That’s the “bad” news. The good news is achieving certifications is a much more accessible process now than it used to be.
Many manufacturers and trade associations are offering flexible online training and resources that will give you a competitive edge. These programs come in two modes: in-person and online video courses. For the latter mode, manufacturers often allow you to self-pace and choose where you want your training to begin.
So, if you are already an expert at mounting equipment, as an example, you can focus on pulling cable skills instead to start. Or, perhaps you want to specialize in 4K digital signage or home AV; that’s an option too.
Are You Business Savvy?
As someone seeking AV freelance work, you’re running your own business. You may be working for AV companies that hire you for specific projects, but you’re essentially selling your skills. To ensure you’re running a profitable business, you’ll need to have solid business skills.
A few of the most critical skills to have include knowing how to negotiate for fair yet competitive rates for your work, creating thorough legal contracts with every buyer to ensure fair treatment and payment, and invoicing promptly so you get paid on time. Possessing a coveted skillset and certifications isn’t enough to guarantee you successful AV freelance work. You need to know how to effectively sell your skills and protect your interests.
Fortunately, there is an online AV freelance platform that can help you set up your business infrastructure and connect to a specific set of interested buyers. Platforms like this have tools for communication (milestone updates, reporting), setting up payment terms, and even creating work order contracts and invoicing.
So long as you’re passionate about your AV training and you’ve got good business sense, you’ve got a great chance as a candidate in the AV freelance marketplace. That’s what getting steady work in this industry is all about.