Thinking about starting a freelance business? Many people have decided to start their own freelance company in recent times and this could be for a few reasons. Many people have been reflected on their livelihoods and may have decided to make the change to have more control over their work, others may have lost their jobs while others might have started a freelance business to earn on the side. No matter the reason, there are many perks to freelance work, and it can be a great way to make a living, but it is not without its challenges, so read on for a few tips that should help.
Start From A Healthy Financial Situation
It is best to start a freelance business from a healthy financial position, so you may want to stick with your main job until you are earning enough to make the switch over or build up a healthy amount of savings. This because it can take a while to start earning a decent amount with a freelance business, plus you will also find that your income can fluctuate each month, so it is helpful to have other money that you can use if you are having a quiet month.
Keep On Top Of Finances
Following this, you should also make sure that you keep on top of your finances. This should include keeping your business and personal accounts separate and using accounting software to carefully track the money coming in and out of the business. It is vital that you keep everything clear, neat, and organized financially to get a clear overview of your finances and make it easy when the time comes to complete your tax return.
Create A Suitable Home Office
One of the major perks of starting a freelance business is that you can run it from your own home, but as many people have found recently, this can also be a challenge. It is important to have a separate space in the house where you can work to the best of your abilities without distraction, which needs to have a high-quality desk and office chair at a minimum.
Buy A Quality Computer
No matter what type of business you run, you will need to purchase a high-quality computer that will allow you to work to a high standard and be up to the demands of running your business. You might find that a gaming PC from somewhere like lenovo.com is a good investment as these computers are built to perform to a high standard and should ensure a smooth work experience each day.
Keep Your Costs Low
Ideally, you will be able to keep your costs down so that you can earn as much money as possible. Obviously, you need to get the operation running to a high standard, but you should also make savings where possible so that you can maximize your bottom line and make sure that quiet months are not such a huge drain on your finances. Being able to work from home can help you to make huge savings, but there may be other ways to cut your costs too, depending on the type of work that you are doing.
Carry Out Detailed Market Research
For some reason, many people think that just because it is a freelance business, it means that you do not have to go through key steps like market research and writing a business plan. This could be dangerous as it means that you are starting a business without much knowledge of the market you are entering, making it hard to succeed, particularly when competing against established brands. This is why freelancers should always take their time with market research so that they have a clear understanding of the industry, are able to determine a gap in the market, and find ways to start attracting customers.
Create A Strong Online Presence
One of the biggest challenges for freelancers when getting started is attracting customers/clients to their business. This is because it can be hard to get your name out there, plus you will not have a reputation yet, so it can be hard to get people to take a chance. This is why you need to create a strong online presence, which you can do by using the services of an experienced web design agency and digital marketing company. This should help generate some interest in your business, and it is then a case of letting your work help you develop a reputation and attract new customers.
Build A Portfolio
Following this, you also need to have a portfolio to show people to convince clients/customers to take a chance on your business. This portfolio should include examples of your work, what your process is, what your qualifications are, along with background info and any previous client reviews (these can be an excellent way to encourage people to take a chance on your business).
Another way to develop your reputation and attract people to your business is through networking. It can be much easier to find success when you have a large professional network, so you need to take the time to create relationships with relevant figures in your industry, and this should include both online and offline marketing. Crucially, these relationships need to be maintained over time. This will hopefully help create new opportunities and help make more people aware of your freelance business.
Develop New Skills
With so many people starting their own freelance businesses in recent times, it does mean that it has become competitive, and you will need to find ways to stand out. This is why you need to commit to self-improvement and to develop new skills that will help you to excel. This might include working on any weaknesses that are holding you back or potentially learning a new skill to use for your business, such as coding or web design.
Ask For Referrals
It can be hard to secure new work when you are just getting started, which is why it is a smart idea to ask for referrals from any existing clients/customers that you have (you may need to incentivize this). People will listen to those in their network that they trust when it comes to what business they should use, so if you have an existing client recommending your business, then this can be a highly effective way to attract new clients as well as improve your reputation.
Pay Attention To Feedback
You also need to pay attention to the feedback that you are getting from your clients. It can be tough hearing constructive criticism, but those that can take this information on board and improve their abilities will always come out on top and compete at a much higher level than those that disregard feedback. You will want to find continuous, ongoing work with clients, and the best way to do this is to listen to their feedback and create a healthy dynamic where you can discuss what is expected and required.
Learn To Say No
One of the hardest aspects of running a freelance business is that it is very hard to say no when it comes to working. If you are not working, you are not earning, so the temptation is to take on as much work as you can. This is dangerous because it can impact the quality of your output, plus it can quickly lead to burnout. This is why you need to learn to say no and to make sure that you are taking enough time off from work. It is helpful to create routines and schedules to inform your clients when you are working and when you are not working, which will help create boundaries and allow for you to take the time to rest, recover, and enjoy your free time.
Look After Yourself
Similarly, you also need to look after yourself as a freelancer, and this is something that many struggle with. As mentioned above, there can be a temptation to work to the point of extreme particular when you consider that your income can fluctuate. While you should certainly work hard, you also need to look after yourself by taking regular breaks, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough exercise. You also need to socialize (particularly if working remotely), enjoy hobbies, and find ways to de-stress and forget about work. When you can juggle self-care and work, you can find the right balance and enjoy all of the perks that remote work can bring.
Get Out The House
Following this, if you do work from home, it is important to regularly get out of the house throughout the week. This is because it can quickly lead to feelings of isolation or cabin fever if you are spending all of your time at home, so you should try to get out daily, whether this is simply a walk around the block, going to the gym, meeting a client for coffee or socializing in your free time. Many freelancers like to have a laptop that would allow them to work outside of the home, such as going to a coffee shop or the library.
Be Easy To Contact
When you run your own business, and it is just you, it is also important that you are easy to reach, particularly when working with a client. You do not want to leave an email unanswered for a few hours, so you should keep on top of emails, pick up the phone when they ring, and generally be easy to get in touch with if they need. Obviously, you should not be checking your phone 24/7, so it is best to let them know when you can be contacted and try to stick to a schedule (regular office hours are generally best). Additionally, some face-to-face contact is useful if possible in terms of communicating effectively as well as developing and maintaining positive professional relationships.
Another common mistake that people make when starting a freelance business is not being professional, which could be costly. While you do not need to work in a suit and tie while working from home, you do need to maintain a professional image to be taken seriously. This means using professional language, dressing smartly when meeting with clients, and keeping your work and home life separate. Clients will always want to know that they are dealing with a professional, even if it is a freelance worker, so do not make the mistake of being unprofessional just because it is only you in the business.
Keep An Eye On The Competition
As with any type of business, you should always keep a close eye on the competition and take advantage of any opportunities that arise. It can be tough as a freelancer to compete against established companies, but sometimes you will find ways to stand out from the crowd and lure clients away from established brands. Customer service is one of the best ways to do this and should certainly be an area that you put a lot of effort into to improve your reputation.
Know Your Value
It is also important that you know your worth as a freelance worker. It will depend on the type of work that you do, but you will find that some places will offer very little in terms of compensation, and it is important that you avoid working for less than what you are worth. You should know what the average salary is, have a portfolio that shows your quality, and negotiate with clients to establish what a reasonable rate is for your work.
Hopefully, these tips will be useful and help you to find success with your freelance business and enjoy the perks that this way of working can bring. Freelance work is become a more mainstream avenue to earn a living and pursue a career, so as it grows in popularity and viability, it’s important to learn some of these tips to excel.