Who doesn’t want to set their own work hours, choose what job to do, and set their own pay?
The idea of “being your own boss” is appealing, so why don’t more people take the plunge and work for themselves? Because it’s terrifying. You are essentially managing your own small business as a freelancer because you are in charge of finding clients, persuading them to hire you, and meeting deadlines while producing high-quality work.
While working as a full-time freelancer is not for everyone, it is much more feasible than most people realize, provided you have all the management and marketing skills to complement the main services you intend to offer.
If that still sounds appealing, keep reading for eight tips on how to start your freelance career.
Organize Yourself to Demonstrate Your Skills
It’s crucial to gather all the resources you’ll need to succeed before quitting your day job and entering the freelance industry.
Most freelancing careers, such as copywriting or graphic design, will require you to have an impressive portfolio for you to convince clients to hire you. Begin by reviewing your previous work and selecting the pieces that you believe best represent your skills for inclusion in your portfolio.
Create a LinkedIn profile and develop your own website, preferably with a blog that you update regularly, to establish a professional online image.
Next, decide where you’ll work and begin investing in any technology or tools you’ll need to do your job. Having a dedicated workspace, even if it’s a neighborhood coffee shop, can significantly increase productivity. U Office Suites is a Texas-based co-working space where freelancers and independent workers can work in a collaborative atmosphere with people in the same line of business. We have desks available in our facility, as well as all the comforts of home. We offer TV, Wifi, and phone services as well.
Set Goals and Devise a Plan to Achieve Them
Decide what you truly want to achieve before you begin freelancing. One of your main priorities should probably be to earn as much money to support yourself if you’re leaving a full-time job to pursue professional freelancing. Determine your price point, the number of projects you’ll need each month, and the number of prospective customers you’ll need to approach to secure those projects.
Since you’re in charge of managing your own projects, you might need to use affordable or no-cost time management tools like Google Calendars, Toodledo, and Insightly to keep track of tasks and determine how to best plan your timetable.
Don’t Undersell Yourself
Although we are taught that boasting is bad, if you don’t talk yourself up, no one will ever hire you. It’s important to provide evidence to support any statements you make about yourself. Send them examples of previous business blogs you’ve written, for instance, if you’re trying to persuade a potential client that you’re great at creating content for business blogs. Words are not as effective as actions.
This also implies that your skills are more valuable than you may believe. How much money do you currently make at your day job? Begin by doubling it. Does that amount seem ridiculous? Perhaps, but it’s a good place to start.
Keep in mind that you won’t be paid for many of the tasks necessary for running your business, such as billing, marketing, and creating proposals, and that you won’t have the benefits of being a full-time employee. You must factor that into your rate.
Promote Yourself on Several Platforms
Once your website is up and running, you shouldn’t just sit back and hope that customers will find you. Use LinkedIn groups, Facebook, Twitter, and any other niche social media sites that you believe will be appealing to the people and companies you want to work for to market to targeted clients.
Additionally, list your services everywhere you can. Start at Upwork, Freelancer, or FreeUp, to name a few. Even though it sounds dated, you should also print out business cards and look for chances to meet potential customers in person, which brings us to the next point.
Be a Networker, Not a Lone Ranger
You should not allow yourself to become completely isolated because you work alone. That is not only unhealthy, but it also makes it much more difficult to promote yourself.
People are more likely to believe recommendations from people they know, as was previously mentioned, so by participating in local networking functions and conferences, you can meet prospective customers and practice word-of-mouth marketing.
Professional networking events are a great place to meet other freelancers and get tips on how to succeed in the field.
Request Feedback from Satisfied Clients
You don’t just have to promote your abilities on your own—happy clients can also do it. Receiving a client recommendation is a great way to attract new customers because it demonstrates that you’re not the only person who finds your expertise to be impressive.
When a client thanks you for the excellent work you’ve done the next time you hear from them by phone or email, politely inquire as to whether they’d be willing to provide a brief recommendation for you. The majority of people are willing to assist because they are aware of how crucial these recommendations are for small businesses.
Create Your Brand and Start Pitching
What distinguishes you from the other thousands of freelancers out there? Your brand serves as your identity and should make it abundantly clear to customers why hiring you will result in the highest-quality work.
Continue to develop and update your website, blog, social media accounts, and portfolio to present your best professional self. In addition, start pitching projects to prospective clients rather than waiting for them to approach you. Sending a pitch email? Be sure to include links to your LinkedIn profile, website, and any pertinent project samples.
Write It Down
Failure to get their clients to sign a contract is a common error made by new freelancers. If all you have is a client’s word that they’ll pay you for your work, nothing is stopping them from defrauding you. This extra step also clarifies any misunderstandings regarding what the pricing includes, such as the number of revisions or kinds of file formats that are offered.
Make a contract that outlines your prices, payment terms, cancellation fees, revision charges, and deadlines. This will make it easier for you and the client to understand exactly what will be provided.
Freelancing is one of the more popular career paths for young designers. But anyone looking to start a freelance design career should always keep in mind that it isn’t easy. There will be challenges, and you will likely have to put in a lot of hard work before you become established as a freelancer. The tips we’ve shared above can help make the transition from employee to freelancer run smoother, and learning from other freelancers can help along the way as well. Good luck!