Everything begins with a dream and so, if you have a dream of starting a freelance business, you have already taken the first step. There are many other necessary steps to take, so here are some helpful tips for starting a freelance business.
A freelancing business is one in which the owner/operator is self-employed and finds their own work, without being tied to any one employer. Work is on a contract basis and payment is usually for a particular project, on its completion. The areas where freelancing is most common include graphic design, website design and development, journalism, copywriting, computer programming and photography.
Tips For Starting A Freelance Business
Assess Its Viability
You need to do your homework before you toss in your paid job and start freelancing. The main areas to consider are:
- Your reasons for wanting to freelance – work out why you want to do it so you have a benchmark to measure your results against.
- Your current financial position – are you funded well enough to carry you over the lean start-up period and possibly, erratic work for a while?
- Finding clients – how will you find work? Where will you get clients?
- Volume of work – will there be sufficient work to give you a suitable and stable income?
- Marketing – how will prospective clients find you? How will you promote yourself?
- Are you disciplined enough to manage your own work without supervision?
- Do you have time management skills, book keeping knowledge and the time and ability to chase up late payments?
- Are you flexible enough to be able to take on a wider variety of work than you may have been used to? (You might have to diversify to have regular income.)
There will be some expenses when starting your own business. Apart from the tools of your trade, like computer, phone and printer, you will need an answering machine to take calls when you are busy or away from your desk. Then there is stationary, business cards and possibly, a brochure that details what services you offer. You will want a catchy logo for these items so you might need to hire a graphic designer. Depending on your industry, there may also be other expenses.
You are going to need:
- A place to work, equipped with everything you need to do your freelance job. You might need to buy extra resources. Many freelancers work from home, using their current computer, printer etc.
- Working hours – set out the hours and times you will be working. These are often flexible, which is one of the main reasons people decide to freelance. However, you need to have a pre-determined work schedule to ensure that you complete projects in a timely fashion.
- Rates of pay – what are you going to charge for your services? Rates differ widely for freelancers, dependant on your industry and experience. You need to work out whether you will charge by the hour, the day, the page etc. How much you can earn depends on your rate of pay, how many hours you work and how fast you are at getting the job done.
- Marketing plan – start early advertizing your services.
- Set out a plan that allows time for family, a social life and recreational activities as well as working in your freelance business. You need to make sure you lead a balanced life to reduce stress.
Develop A Portfolio
You will need to have a portfolio of past work to show potential clients so they can see the quality of your work. Develop this before you start looking for work so you are prepared for your first presentation. Include a wide variety of your previous projects to show you are versatile.
Use these tips as a guide for how to start a freelancing business and ensure your success right from the beginning.