There are so many perks to becoming a freelancer. And one of the big ones is that you finally get to march to your own beat. You don’t have to take orders from anyone else anymore because you are your own boss. This is really attractive for a lot of people and is one of the main reasons why so many of us like to become freelancers. But, you have to remember that it’s not a walk in the park. In fact, becoming a freelancer can be very challenging.
You have to take responsibility for everything now. And that’s why it can end up being too much for some people; so you need to figure out if freelancing is for you. The perks of freelancing can far outweigh the drawbacks. This is provided you understand what is involved and you set yourself up in a professional and organised fashion.
Here are the steps in starting a freelance business in a nutshell:
- Choose a niche.
- Build a portfolio.
- Market yourself.
- Set rates.
- Be professional.
- Be organized.
- Be prepared to work hard.
Following these steps will help you get started on the right foot and increase your chances of success.
So, you can begin your journey as a freelancer here, by following this advice and using it to mold yourself as a business badass!
What are You Going to Do?
Consider what your strengths are and how you can play to them. Freelancing is not easy, so you need to be good at what you do. It’s no good simply deciding you’re going to be a freelancer, and diving in head first. You have to make sure you have a strength or specialty first, and focus on it. Almost 4 million Australians currently freelance, so you’re entering into a competitive market. This is something that is only going to get more competitive. So you have to make sure you are as good as you can be in the area you’re freelancing in. If not then you’re going to struggle to make a success of things.
Self-Awareness: Know Yourself: Gary Vaynerchuk
Talk to Other Freelancers
It’s always a good idea to speak to other freelancers about their experiences, and about how they find the process of freelancing. You may not know whether this kind of career path is right for you until you’ve already started doing it. So, by chatting to other freelancers, you can at least start to build up an idea of what it’s like. You will probably know at least one person who works as a freelancer. Get in touch with them and tell them you’re thinking of doing it. Meet and chat to them about the process. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about freelancing. Of course, your overall experience will end up being different to theirs. It’s different for everyone, but you will be better prepared for the process after speaking to other freelancers about it.
Hunting for Clients
Once you have started to establish yourself and you’ve learned the ropes, it’s time to hunt for clients. Now, you can find freelance clients from any number of sources. The Internet is going to be your best source of reference. There are thousands of job boards, websites, and adverts for people who are seeking freelancers. The global outsourcing industry generates revenue of well over $500 billion. This should give you some indicator as to the demand for freelancers these days. It depends, of course, on what you specialise in. But you should have no problem finding opportunities online. The development of outsourcing in business has led to an increased desire for freelancers. So, provided you choose the right market, you should have no problems finding clients. Try to start by taking on one or two clients, to begin with, and work your way up from there.
Never be afraid to take opportunities. In fact, when you start out as a freelancer you should try to take every opportunity that comes your way. Sure, you need to be making money. But, you may also find there are opportunities to do work for free. These might seem unappealing, but they can open a lot of doors for you further down the road. So, it might not be the worst thing in the world to take a few of these opportunities. They may not seem like it now, but they could be the best choices you ever make. It’s better to develop a reputation as a cooperative and hard-working individual than to be too selective and burn bridges.
Always Follow the Rules
Many clients will have rules for the way they like to do business. And you have got to make sure you follow these rules, to the letter. There are a lot of guidelines that companies will issue for freelancers. That’s because the work needs to be done to represent the style and voice of their company. Deviating from the instructions you’ve been given is the best way of alienating and upsetting the client. So you need to make sure you follow the rules that you’re given and query anything you aren’t sure about. This is the best way of getting into the client’s good books and making sure they keep you on.
Invoicing is one of the big things that freelancers will often forget about or get wrong. When you work for yourself, you’re going to have to take charge of sorting out your finances. And this means invoicing and billing clients for the work you have done. Try to arrange with them a day each week or month when you can send them an invoice. Use a template to create your own invoices, and make sure you invoice on the same day every week or month. You may well run into problems with the client not paying on time. Unfortunately, this is a big part of the freelancer process. It’s not right, or fair, but it happens. Did you know 11% of clients never actually receive an invoice? And this is one of the reasons why you may not be getting paid on time. Invoicing is an important part of the process of freelancing, and you need to take it seriously.
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Where Will You Work?
Think about where you’re going to work as a freelancer. Many freelancers will develop their new HQ at home. And there are many perks to doing this, such as not having to commute, and being able to work at your own pace. But, eventually, you’re going to need to expand. You may wish to move into an office. You’ll also probably amass plenty of equipment and resources. Look into storage options for this stuff until you’re settled in an office. Storage options are a big consideration when you decide where you’re going to work. Even in an office, you may need to keep some stuff off-site for use at a later date.
Start to Take on More Clients
Once you have established yourself a little and become better at your craft, you can start to expand. The best way to do this is to take on more clients and build up the brand. Now, you need to be careful about the number of clients you take on, and who those clients are. It’s important to prioritize clients who are going to provide regular work and who are easy to work with. Those once in a blue moon clients are the sort you need to try to avoid. They are not going to add much to your business, and they can prove to be a nuisance. You also have to be wary of biting off more than you can chew in terms of the work and clients you choose to take on. You don’t want to burn yourself out, and you don’t want to diminish the quality of your work.
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Business Cards are Your Bread and Butter
As a freelancer, you’re also going to have to take charge of a lot of your own marketing. This is something that you need to make sure you get right and start doing from day one. Nobody is going to promote you but you. Sure, you might be able to hire marketing experts, but this costs money. In the meantime, you need to do a lot of self-promotion. And a good way of doing this is to make sure you use business cards. They are an underrated form of marketing, and absolutely crucial as a freelancer. Get online and find a site that allows you to design your own business cards. Then you can customise them and add a bit of flair that will really help speak to your clients and customers.
Write a Blog
Freelancers need to tell the world all about how great they are and the services they can offer. We’ve already looked at how important business cards are for new freelancers. But, you mustn’t overlook the importance of a blog as well. You’ll need to setup a website, and the blog will be the jewel in the crown of your personal website. You can use a blog to keep people updated about you as a freelancer. But, you can also explore other issues as well. A blog gives you a voice and helps you attract more people to your site, thus generating business.
Becoming a freelancer is something of a step into the unknown for a lot of people. But, it’s also a fun and exciting prospect for you for the future. You just need to make sure you are prepared for success as a freelancer. There are a lot of other people trying to do this as well, and you’ve got to think about how you’re going to gain an edge on them. Hopefully, you will find this post useful in helping you achieve that.