What set of skills do you have that are outstanding enough for people to pay you for them? Do you also have secondary skills that you can use on a freelance basis as well? Why are you deciding to finally go freelance? What benefit do your customers get from hiring you? These are some of the tough questions that you must ask yourself before taking that great big freelance leap. However, once you do, it will all be worth it. Here are some things that you need to consider to get started on your freelance business.
Have a Vision and a Plan of Action
Make sure that you really want this, because it’s something that you should not get into halfheartedly. You should pursue freelancing with guns blazing. Refuse to listen to that tiny voice in your head telling you all the reasons why you’ll be unsuccessful and just concentrate on all the reasons why this is the best decision you can make for your career.
Choose a Form of Business
It’s nice to iron all the kinks out of your freelance business at the onset, so that you no longer have to worry about them in the future. Decide whether the freelance business that you will operate will be a sole proprietorship, an unincorporated business, or a limited liability company. Most freelancers prefer the limited liability company setup, as they enjoy the legal benefits of incorporating without the intricacies of running a corporation.
Prepare Your Marketing Materials
Your marketing materials will be very integral in launching your freelance business. At this point, you will have to create as much buzz as you can about your business, and you can do so by starting a Twitter account or a Facebook page. You can also set up a blog or a website.
Establish Your Financial Processes
You may not have clients yet, but you don’t set up your payment methods when you’re halfway through a project, right? Establish easy and convenient payment methods for your clients so that you will receive your payments quickly and easily. It’s also a good idea to have an invoice template ready, and finalise your fees, including taxes and other miscellaneous expenses. Once you have all of these tasks completed, you can focus your energies on work and not on administrative stuff.
Build a Brand
What will set you apart from the rest of the freelancers out there? What is it that you do that makes it so special? Perhaps your edge is that you’re both a writer and a graphic artist, or you’re a blogger and a photographer. Maybe you have been part of an industry for over 20 years, and you know all the ins and outs. Whatever it is, your brand should easily convey what you have to offer.
Think about a business name that’s catchy and will clearly represent you and your business. Do a quick Google search and see how the name fares in search engines, as well as how people will perceive your brand name.
Work on Your Portfolio
If you don’t have paid work that you can include in your portfolio, create some. Remember that you can include everything that you think represents your best work. Ask colleagues which pieces are their favourites and include them in your portfolio. Upload them to your website, blog, or social media pages. The more people who see your work, the higher the chances that you will land a client.
Don’t rush to create many samples in a span of three days. It’s better to build a portfolio over time so that it includes a good variety of work examples.