In this issue of Freelancing.HK-News, we will publish our recent study on the hourly rates of freelancers in Hong Kong. The rate charged by freelancers for their work varies greatly, ranging from 60 HKD per hour to 2300 HKD per hour. The analysis of the nine most important service categories shows that an hourly rate comparison is really worthwhile. This is because the hourly rates do not depend solely on the service and the service providers. Other factors also play a role, such as the gender and age of the service provider. Surprisingly, even the hourly rates of comparable freelancers differ by a factor of more than two and some freelancers even invoice very different hourly rates depending on the customer or the project.
Moreover, we have eight tips for freelancers who are determined to tell the world what they can do and further focus their goals to gain new clients.
In our freelancer article, an accountant will give you tips on how to set up a full-fledged controlling system and finally, the freelancer joke of the month is about a smart engineer who is not taken seriously by management.
Despite the Corona crisis, I wish you a lot of fun reading and of course, as always, success in business!
You may be the most talented freelancer in the world. However, if you just sit at home and let no one know you exist and how great your work is, you will struggle to land jobs and secure contracts.
The truly successful freelancers are not actually the most talented ones. More often than not, it is the people who tell the world what they can do and therefore consistently gain new clients. After all, being a freelancer is largely a people´s business. Even in times of COVID-19, the best jobs come from contacts in your own network. So if you want to advance your career as a freelancer, you should learn to network. Our eight tips are a good place to start:
1) Choose the right event: Especially at the beginning of their freelancer career many make the following mistake. They attend almost every online and offline event in the hope of acquiring customers for their own projects. Finding the right customers that suit you and your skills is not equally likely at every single event. The chance to find exactly the right customers at events that really suit you is not the same everywhere. Especially if the event is mainly attended by colleagues who are looking for customers just like you. To seriously win over good customers, it is better to choose an event where you meet people who are already where you want to go and also companies that have the resources to hire you.
2) Do not necessarily think of it as 'networking': If you force yourself to network before visiting a get-together, it can create quite a bit of pressure and make your appearance appear cheesy from nerves. Instead, tell yourself that you are going to an event to get out and make interesting contacts or to get support from other freelancers. After all, nobody wants to give a job to someone who is practically begging for it! Leave the salesperson routine at home and just be yourself.
3) Pursue a clear goal in networking: It may sound strange to set goals for networking, but this approach can be extremely helpful. Once you know where you want to go it is much easier to meet people who can help you along the way. These goals could be, for example, finding a supportive network to share goals and questions, a mentor or other assignments. Do not be afraid to communicate your goals clearly.
4) Stay in touch: To get the most out of networking, stay in touch after you´ve shared your information. It is best not to wait too long for this, but send a short message the next day, in which you can continue the conversation and possibly arrange the first meeting. So-called follow-ups are often more effective than you might think! You will be remembered as a professional network expert while showing your fellow participant that you are serious.
5) Work in a coworking space: In coworking spaces, you will meet many interesting people from different industries. By sharing an office with other freelancers, your network often organically expands.
6) Keep in touch with former colleagues and clients: When you start freelancing, it is advisable to keep in touch with former colleagues from employment relationships. Your ex-colleagues already know you and your professional qualifications, which can be a great advantage for you. Invite your former colleagues to become part of your LinkedIn network and follow what they are up to.
7) Be prepared for opportunities: Perhaps you know the saying 'Happiness happens when preparation meets opportunity'. If you get an opportunity to spend some time with someone who could positively influence your career, you shouldn´t skip it. Always be clear about your goals and prepare a summary of what you do and why you are so good at it. Then, if you get the chance to impress someone, you can do so.
8) Give speeches and run workshops: Prove your authority and professional competence by giving lectures and workshops on topics that you master. This is the best way to gradually build up a positive reputation as an expert in your field, thereby increasing your chances of attracting new clients. Do not be afraid to post articles and share posts on LinkedIn.
The current hourly rate analysis of freelancers from nine different categories listed on Freelancing.hk has just been released. And the conclusion? An hourly rate comparison is always worthwhile!
On average, a freelance service provider costs HKD 448 per hour. A comparison of different service providers is always worthwhile when deciding who to work with. This is important as hourly rates do not only depend on the service and the service provider’s qualification. Other factors also play a role, such as gender and the age of the service provider, amongst others that we will discuss.
Surprisingly, even the hourly rates of comparable freelancers can differ by more than a factor of two. Additionally, some freelancers even charge different hourly rates to their clients. Many factors are considered, including the client themselves, the scope of the project and their personal interest. The selection amongst equally qualified service providers can therefore save an average of 30 per cent in costs.
Let´s discuss the influencing factors on the hourly rate and examine them in more detail.
As expected, remuneration depends strongly on the type of service. On average, a freelancer in the 'language' category charges HKD 199 HKD per hour while a consultant charges HKD 776 per hour. Predictably, services requiring academic qualifications are better remunerated. Interestingly enough, the ability to deal with people is paid at a higher rate than pure professional knowledge. Thus engineers at average charge HKD 396, while it is HKD 897 per hour for project managers.
The age of the service provider also plays a role. Older service providers are generally more experienced and are, on average, two times as expensive as younger professionals. The average 18 to 29 year old charges a rate of HKD 364, while for those over 50 years old, the average is HKD 689.
Gender has only a small influence on the requested hourly rates. Although men request an average of HKD 493, which is more than women at HKD 349, this seems to be due to the fact that women are more strongly represented in the less well-paid services. For example, 60 per cent of all language providers are female, while only 12 per cent of business consultants are women.
Within a service category, the differences in remuneration are therefore small. For example; female accountants with an average rate of HKD 200, charge slightly less than their male counterparts - an average of HKD 270.
Pricing on the basis of clear market criteria is only partially happening in Hong Kong. For example, very different prices are paid for comparable services without there being any qualitative reason for the disparity. We found that hourly rates vary widely within a type of service - there are consultants, for example, from HKD 310 to HKD 2340 per hour. Interestingly, this range also applies to comparable qualifications and experiences. Thus, when we compare consultants with 10 years of experience and similar skills, the hourly rates can spread between HKD 470 to HKD 1170.
A lack of market transparency may likely be a contributing factor for the large spread of hourly rates. Both suppliers and customers are often poorly informed because they know only a few market participants. With the growing importance of electronic marketplaces in Hong Kong, however, the information deficit is shrinking. Thus the service providers listed at Freelancing.hk often orient themselves according to the hourly rates of fellow providers. Flexibility in determining the hourly rate is surprisingly high for many freelancers. If service providers discover that they are rarely selected, they often reduce their prices by up to 30 per cent. Likewise, service providers who are in high demand in the marketplace often significantly increase their hourly rates significantly as a result.
However, there is often more than just one hourly rate for a specific expert. Depending on the customer and sales channel, some specialists charge different hourly rates. In individual cases, the hourly rates that can be found on the freelancer´s website are twice as high as those listed on Freelancing.hk.
It is therefore worthwhile for companies to compare the skills and hourly rates of freelancers. As our statistically selected samples showed, one saves on average, 30 per cent if the cheapest service provider is selected out of five instead of resorting to the first one available. In addition, a larger pool often leads to the discovery of the most suitable expert. The classical way to compare providers is to ask for quotes from several service providers. While this process is time-consuming for both requesters and providers, this selection can now take place in a few minutes thanks to the existing internet marketplaces. Therefore, there is no longer any reason to not compare the freelancers and their offers before making an informed decision.
Registered service providers can present themselves with a short article in the Freelancing.HK-News. In this issue, we present you a freelancer who is expertise in financial and also a certified accountant.
My focus is on sustainable profitability increase in small and medium-sized enterprises. In the course of more than twenty years of independent work as an accountant, I have specialized in cost monitoring, cost reduction and thus increasing the profitability of small and medium-sized companies in connection with the preparation of accounts.
By setting up a full-fledged controlling system and integrating it into the processing system of the accounting (strategic accounting), I can save you the otherwise usual additional costs for independent controlling systems, since the necessary controlling data is provided directly via the accounting. The running costs for such a 'strategic accounting' system require only a small additional expense compared to conventional accounting.
The management of a company had a flagpole erected in front of the company building. They are very proud of it and want to write about it in the company newsletter. However, nobody knows how high the pole is. Therefore the managers try to measure the height with a yardstick. However, none of the managers can reach the top. Even though they try different methods, like standing on each other’s shoulders, nobody is able to measure the length of this impressive flagpole.
A freelance engineer comes along, takes down the flagpole, puts it on the meadow, measures, says: “The flagpole is exactly 7.58 meters long” and walks away.
As soon as he has disappeared, one of the managers says: “Typical of an engineer! We wanted to know how high the pole is and he told us the length! Such a person could never rise to the top management like us”.
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