Millions of people around the world decide to pack in their day job and start a freelance business. The main reason is that a freelance career allows much more flexibility in how where and when you work. It is also becoming far more acceptable for businesses to make use of freelancers. Thanks to technology, a freelancer can now communicate with clients and companies around the world. If you’ve got a skill other people are going to be willing to pay for, such as designing websites, writing content, marketing expertise, or teaching, it’s possible to start your own business. Another great advantage of starting a freelance business of your own is that you can keep your day job in the beginning. At least until you’ve made a name for yourself and have enough clients to provide a steady income.
The Benefits of Being a Freelancer
Aside from the sense of pride, you’ll feel, being a freelancer means you can choose your own working hours, set your own prices, and be your own boss. You’re free to choose the projects and clients you want to work with, and you can work anywhere in the world. As long as the work you do is well done and produced on time, you can complete the work sat on the beach, in your local coffee shop, or wearing your pajamas. In your position as a freelancer you are self-employed, which means there will never be a set job to lose. Rather you will approach companies who will take you on, perhaps on a part-time basis, or quite regularly depending on how you decide to work. You’ll be making lots of choices that suit your own individual needs and strengths, rather than trying to fit into company culture or work schedule.
With a freelance career, you can decide to take as many breaks as you want, sleep or take a nap whenever you want to, and exercise to your heart's content. As long as you get the work done and meet your deadlines, your clients or the businesses you work for aren’t going to be worried.
One other surprising benefit of working as a freelancer in that you’re less likely to get sick. When you work remotely from home, you have no direct contact with clients or other workers. You’re not exposed to workplace bugs or be bringing them home for your family to catch.
First Have a Vision
Whether you’ve already been freelancing for a while or are just considering making such a career move, you need to have a clear idea of where your business is going. Having just one or two clients is not going to pay the bills, so you’re going to have to work hard at winning new business. To do that, you need to do some research and planning and decide on some goals.
Think about why you’re starting your business, what skills you have and what services you’re going to offer. Who is going to benefit from your services and is there a demand? How you’re going to attract new clients and what your target audience is are also important factors to consider. Find out what your competitors are doing and use this information to design your own service package. If you don’t ask yourself these questions and find an answer, your business is not going to get off the ground.
Work on Your Online Presence
For your freelance business to be a success, you need to have an online presence. Having a website where you can showcase your work, a social media presence, and online ads allow potential customers to find you. A company such as Arvig Media can help. An online presence also helps you retain customers, which is far more cost-effective than finding new ones.
Search engines are used by a large percentage of people looking for a product or service, so it makes sense for your information to appear in their searches. The first impression a potential client will have of you can be your website. It will give them an idea of your style, your work, and the clients you’ve worked in the past. Your website should provide information about the services you offer and who they are aimed at. It is a way of convincing clients you’re the best person for the job. In other words, you use it to sell yourself and explain to clients why you’re the better option.
A freelance business website should include examples of your work (your portfolio), contact information, your skills, education, and accomplishments. If you’ve already got clients, you can use your website to display testimonials. Those of you just starting out can provide testimonials from former bosses or coworkers. You should also update your site on a regular basis as this shows how your business is developing.
Understand it is an undulating business
One aspect of being a freelancer that many may struggle to come to terms with is that there will be times when you’re snowed under with work and times when you’re left twiddling your thumbs. Freelancing is very much a case of ebb and flow. If you’re not expecting it, this can be very unnerving. One minute everything is ticking along fine,and the money is rolling in. Then, suddenly you find yourself scrabbling around for a change. Not knowing what you’re going to have coming in from one month to the next can be very stressful.
The best way to overcome this roller coaster is to set aside time to line work up. Even if you’re really busy, it pays to set aside an hour every day for marketing activity. It could be attending networking events, holding meetings with clients, or following up on inquiries. If an hour a day doesn’t work for you, then set aside one morning every week.
Another way of covering the lean times is to keep some of your money back to cover expenses. Managing your money may not come easy at first, but it means your expenses are going to be covered. Workout the minimum amount you need every month to cover your outgoings and set this aside until you’ve built a stronger client base.
Hone Your Time Management Skills
Time management skills are essential if you are working as a freelancer. No matter how carefully you plan things, it’s still possible for something to go wrong. That doesn’t mean, however, you shouldn’t plan. It’s important you leave time for the unexpected, so you can deal with setbacks, respond to urgent requests, and fit in an unplanned call to your client. If you fill your schedule completely, you’re putting yourself under unnecessary pressure.
It’s not possible for you to control every aspect of your business. However, it is possible to control your reaction. Manage your time more effectively, always have a contingency plan, and learn to adapt. Plan out a schedule for the day, for example. This will help you to keep in check and can see you avoid running out of time for important deadlines.
Learn from Your Mistakes
A certain amount of trial and error comes in to play when you start a freelance business. Don’t take the errors too much to heart. Instead, see them as an opportunity to improve your business. In the beginning, you might find it hard deciding on your deadlines. You might also find it very difficult to turn work down. There are also going to be a number of ideas you try that simply don’t work. If you have a client who’s not happy with your work, try to uncover what went wrong. If possible, you should try to fix it, but if you can’t then learn from the mistake and change things, so it doesn’t happen again.
Are you going to be able to please all your clients all the time? Probably not, so don’t get too down about it if you get bad feedback. Burying your head in the sand is not the right way to deal with it either. Look at what went wrong and decide what you could have done better or differently.
You’re going to make mistakes along the way; you’re only human. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and stop them from happening in the future.
Learn How to Sell Yourself
Clients aren’t going to come knocking at your door. If you want to have a successful freelancing business, you need to know how to sell yourself. You could be the best writer, designer, artist, or marketer, but if you can’t market yourself, you’re not going to be able to convince clients to part with their money for your service. First, you have to find them, then convince them in order for them to be converted into paying clients.
Working for yourself is not going to be all plain sailing. There are going to be good times and bad ones too. However, it is a very rewarding career move to make, provided you plan well and make the right choices.