More and more people are choosing to go freelance, whether as a side hustle alongside their full-time job, or working completely for themselves. A lot of people are starting to realise how many benefits there can be to being your own boss and having a more flexible work schedule.
Are you thinking about going freelance? Perhaps you’ve started your freelance business, but want to make sure you haven’t missed out anything important. Here are some of the best tips for first-time freelancers.
Understand Your Target Market
Before you take on any freelance work, you need to make sure you know who your potential clients are. Understanding your base of prospective clients will mean you can properly plan out your pricing structure, put in place your marketing strategy, and better focus where you put your time and energy.
When you first start out on your own as an entrepreneur, you might already have a fixed idea of how you will be running your small business. One of the best things that you can do is let go of that set idea and instead be as flexible as you can be at the beginning. Services that you thought would be incredibly popular with your clients might not be nearly as in demand as you were expecting, whereas what is popular might surprise you. Be ready to adapt and make changes as you learn what works for your business and your clients.
Be Clear On Costs
Make sure you have a very clear picture of what your costs and pricing structure would be. Will you charge your clients by the hour or on a project by project basis? Do some market research to see what the industry norm is and to make sure your prices are in line with your competitors.
Going freelance is a big decisions, so don’t make things harder for yourself in the future than they have to be by accidentally skipping out the important steps at the start of your freelance journey. Whether you are going to set up as a sole trader or a business, make sure you are registered with the right governing bodies, and that you’re set up to properly pay your taxes. This will save you from getting in a mess later.
Build A Website
Having a website with good hosting from someone like hosting.co.uk can be an invaluable window into your business. There are lots of options online for very easily building a website, even if you’re not particularly web-savvy.
Make A Good First Impression
Good quality, interesting, and engaging social media content is also very important. Your social media accounts are likely to be one of the first things that your potential clients will look at, and where a lot of people will find you, so make sure they’re up to scratch and professional.
Go To Market
Be confident in your skills and your abilities. You have something to offer that people want. You shouldn’t feel afraid to put yourself out there on freelance platforms and job sites. If you can’t get out there, you will struggle to find work.
Set yourself some goals to help you to stay motivated when times are challenging. These could be financial goals, like, “I want to be earning this amount of money every month,”, or it could be goals like having a certain number of followers on Instagram for your business account. When you find that your attention is slipping, you can remind yourself of those goals to keep you on track.
You can use online tools to design professional looking business cards for free, and then have plenty printed. Keep a stack in your handbag or your jacket pocket everywhere you go. You never know when you might meet someone who could use your services.
Don’t Be A Jack Of All Trades
Try to focus on a small set of freelance services so you are more likely to be able to compete with those who offer to do everything. Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do everything. Choose a specialism and become the expert in your field.
Stay up to date with new trends in your industry by reading trade media, engaging with other freelancers online, and attending networking events. You can also update your knowledge with training courses.
Register With Freelance Job Websites
There are a lot of different websites with freelance jobs, from general listings, to industry specific options. Join a few and start responding to people’s requests to help you secure your first few clients.
Becoming a freelancer does have some negatives. Some people miss having colleagues and feel isolated. Find a local networking group who you can get some support, company, and ideas from. If there isn’t one in your local area, why not start one?
Make sure you properly manage your time. Track your leads and keep on top of invoices using a freelance organizational platform online. There are a few, so try a few to see which you like.
Focus On Relationships
Getting new business is exciting and rewarding, but don’t neglect the clients that you already have. Build your relationships and make every client feel as though they are a priority to you.
Set Work Boundaries
Being freelance can give you more flexibility for family life and friends, but it can also lead to distractions, late nights, and being unproductive. Specify your work hours and stick to them.
Most clients will be genuine with you, but protect yourself from fraudsters by taking a deposit upfront before you work on any big projects.
Find Your Space
You could work at your local library, in a coffee shop, in a co-working space, or at your kitchen table. Wherever you work, make sure you can be productive so you can work at the best of your ability.
Try, Try, And Try Again
Being freelance can have a lot of ups and downs. Some days will be tough, but learn from your mistakes and keep going. The journey to being a successful freelancer will come with challenges.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.