Whether you are just starting out as a freelancer or you are trying to take your freelancing career and business to the next level, we have the perfect guide for you.
We understand that it might be difficult to start a successful freelance career in a changing world. Some of the challenges both new and old freelancers face can be a difficult thing to overcome, and one of the most worrying things can be the volume of clients.
Whether you are providing products or services in your freelancing business, you will come to this problem. And sometimes the best advice can really be from your competitors.
The best freelance workers will sometimes find themselves overloaded with work and will potentially be happy to share some of their new customers with other freelancers, instead of holding them back and making them wait.
There is one huge difference between having a freelancing career and having a job, which is independence. You are responsible for yourself, your own earnings, your own clients, and your own employees once you are at that stage.
A freelancing career also gives you the opportunity to work directly with a person, as opposed to working with them through a business entity.
Some things to remember before you start your freelancing career are:
- Buy a good laptop under $600 if you don’t already have one.
- As a freelancer, you are starting your own one-person business.
- Freelance payments usually arrive without cash reduction.
- Networking and maintaining relationships are now more important than before and will afford your livelihood.
Here are some practical ideas that will help you start a successful freelancing career immediately.
1. Check your skillset
Define and outline your working process for a clear understanding between you and your clients, you need to make sure that:
a). You are professional, organized, and working to objectives.
b). You are setting goals for your business for the next few months, years, etc.
c). You are networking and not working alone in your business because you are definitely not working alone in your industry.
Research your competitors’ rates and match or compete accordingly. It might be worth looking for a mentor.
However you are deciding to advertise (hopefully as many mediums as possible), make sure that your branding is characteristic and up-to-date.
Don’t forget to enjoy your work, have fun, and make yourself both marketable and investible.
2. Marketing is the key
Always be on track of your social media status. This will probably end up being a good way to find new business if you are not using it already.
Make sure you are set up on LinkedIn. Depending on the nature of your business you might want to consider Twitter and Facebook marketing. If you are a visual creative, consider Instagram, etc.
Talk about your products or services with affiliate marketers, YouTubers, and influencers. If they like you and your product they will be much happier to talk about you on your channel.
This will give you a massive headstart in your freelancing career if you follow through this process.
3. Business development to generate leads
Don’t ever leave any paying customer hanging or it will come back to you as a bad review. Remember that if you are providing a service you are usually a stepping stone for them.
So leave room for growth and always keep the channel open in case they need extra work done.
It will help you to build great rapport at all times and be a perfect salesman. Be realistic with time and cost, and don’t be afraid to discuss their budget with them.
Try to make things work, instead of turning business away. Do they have a problem that you can fix? How can you make it happen for them and make their day?
The important thing to remember here is time management in direct relation to income.
You might need customer testimonials and referrals in the future so make sure you stay in contact. Embrace clients who will be able to assign you steady, regular work.
Even if your clients change their work, they might still want to use you in the future.
4. Get clients
Whether this means getting your first handful or it means you are at a slow time in your business, this is possibly the most difficult bit.
It can take time to build up to a regular steady income and the difficult bit might come in the form of when to decide to switch between a 9-5 and self-employed work.
Keep track of the time you spend working, not just because you don’t want to become overworked and stressed.
If you are providing a service consider keeping a schedule for your clients.
If you are selling products, check the time it takes for one product to be completed
Make sure your portfolio shows your best work and is your main advertisement after you are in conversation with potential customers. Check your market demand and look for places where you can find potential clients.
Check your competition’s market as well but don’t steal clients, this is kind-of foul play. Remember your competition is actually your friends. They are going to help you refine your process and keep your quality (and therefore premium) high.
Word of mouth is the best advertising. Especially if you are coming across the same type of customer who needs your skills, they potentially have friends in their industry who need the same thing.
You can use LinkedIn premium for lead generation and you might think about offering free consultations. They don’t have to be long sessions. Just a chance for a potential customer to talk to you.
5. Make it formal. Register your business.
It is important to stay above board. You can consider hiring interns if your business is ready. Try Angellist or Fiverr for this. Make sure you are ready as you will become a leader.
You should start accounting too. Potentially the most boring part of any business is keeping track of the income and expenses but it will save you a lot of time later when taxes are due.
Stay on top of your invoicing and consider hiring an accountant who will also help you with your taxes later in the year, probably in your personal life too.
Understand your business and your industry. Remember that every company and business goes through ups and downs but luckily one usually follows the other and long spells will give you indications as to where to improve.
Remember to stay positive while growing your freelancing career!
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Jeff Finder is a Digital Nomad who travels around the world and blog about technology, gadgets, and laptops at Laptop Cut Blog. He is also an international speaker and love to persuade youth to find their voice online and make it count.