After graduating, we have all thought, ‘Okay, now what?’
As they say, ‘Now you are entering real life’ (as if what I was doing before was not real). But we all know what that means: more responsibility, less freedom, a more serious job that will pay your bills…
When I moved to Lyon, France for my Master’s degree, I had no idea I would end up doing a freelance job, travelling around Europe and not giving up on my freedom. But the decision to go freelance was not an easy one to make. When I graduated, I started applying for various positions (in order to land a job in France, you need to apply for at least 15 a day) but I realized that most of the jobs I was applying for were not something I wanted to do in my life.
So I started looking for what motivated me and what I really aspired to do. I talked to some friends who had had a career transition at one point in their life, and one thing they all mentioned was that they were not using their strengths in their old jobs. This eventually led to dissatisfaction with their job. In pursuit of a perfect job, I tried a couple of personality tests until I came across a free Strengths Finder that helped me understand what my top 5 strengths were. It would appear that people who know their strengths tend to make better career choices.
Guess what? Not liking to be told what to do, appreciating one’s freedom of choice, not feeling comfortable doing a routine job were some of the traits that came up when I dug into my own strengths. A month later I found myself applying for various freelance jobs where I could use what I was strong at and what I really felt fit my personality.
Today, I am a freelance content marketing manager, still in France, still doing what I like and still travelling around Europe to find inspiration for writing (and, of course, eating croissant and pain au chocolat).
With this in mind, I decided to come up with a small guide for finding freelance jobs in France as a copywriter (remember: first things first).
1. Get your paperwork done early.
Once you decide you want to become a freelance copywriter in France, the simplest option is to get your social status of micro-entrepreneur or auto-entrepreneur which basically means you are someone who has created an individual company and has opted for the micro-enterprise tax system. You can do it online through the official portal for liberal professions like a copywriter, or by visiting Centre de Formalité des Entreprises (CFE) (“Business Formality Center”).
The main advantage of this social status is that it is simple to create and manage, there are very few charges and almost no accounting to do. When you exceed the revenue cap for micro-entrepreneurs, you might need to look at other social statuses.
Quick tip: If you are not currently in France, you should get your profession libérale visa in the nearest French Consulate. If you want everything to go smoothly, all your documents should be in French.
2. Register on the most famous freelance job platforms.
There are numerous freelance job platforms for copywriters, but I suggest Hopwork (France’s 1st freelance platform) and Ouishare. If you are not fluent in French, you might want to take a look at Freelance in France (for English-speakers) and Twago (the largest marketplace for European freelancers).
Quick tip: When you start contacting French employers, remember to keep it professional. The initial business contact in France is quite formal and polite.
3. Network! Network! Network!
Do not forget about the 2 types of networking that are crucial to your success: online networking and offline networking. While the online networking seems easy (LinkedIn is widely used in France; you can also use Facebook groups as well), the offline networking requires some effort. One way of doing offline networking is working from coworking spaces. They can be expensive depending on the city, but it is a good opportunity to meet other freelancers).
Quick tip: You will be successful if you combine both types of networking. Once you have contacted a prospect, asked about their company and the type of work they do, suggest grabbing a coffee together. If they accept, prepare a good pitch and be ready to stand out.
4. Your freelance job is your business.
When you start treating your freelance job as your business, you will only become more successful. It will mean spending less time on things that do not earn you money and concentrating on things that will eventually pay your bills. Do not forget to include in your resume and portfolio of all the relevant skills and projects you have worked on.
Quick tip: You might not have a 9-to-5 job or staff meetings to attend, but you still have some responsibility as regards to your work, so do first things first.
Whether you like busy cities like Paris, or a cozy village in the French Alps, or even a seaside city like Nice, France has a lot to offer to freelance copywriters. So what are you waiting for?
About the author:
Anatoli Chernyaev is a content marketing manager born in Armenia and currently residing in Lyon, France. He writes about various topics such as self-awareness, positive thinking, personal development, and career advice.