In recent times, working for yourself has caught a lot of steam. More and more people are taking the leap to work for themselves and create content and services that speak to their own interest.
Although being your own boss and setting your own hours sound sweet, launching your own freelance career can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect.
Before you leave your corporate job and transition to the life of a small business owner, read on to find out about the 10 ways to launch a startup freelance career.
1. Pinpoint Your Endgame
Before you jump into freelancing, you need to know what it is that you want out of the experience of working for yourself. Without a clear plan that defines your goals, the transition to entrepreneurship will be difficult.
Prior to making a decision, sit down, make a list on a notebook pad or a computer, and answer the following questions:
- Is freelancing a means to just earn extra income on the side while you continue to work your full-time job?
- Is freelancing full time a means to become your own boss and work within your own schedule?
- Is freelancing a stepping stone to eventually achieving a different goal all together?
Once you pinpoint this goal and determine what you want out of this freelancing, then you can start planning on how to operate moving forward.
2. Determine What Your Niche Is
So, you’ve decided that you want to be a freelancer. Where does your services fall within the chasm of other small businesses?
For example, if you are a blogger who likes to write about stocks, focus on how you can become a great asset to that space. Take the time to research what other freelancers within this realm are doing and build your service off what the current market is looking for, or what it’s missing that you can add to the space.
Create a YouTube channel talking about the daily movement of the stock prices. Create an eBook or course about a niche stock play that the interested audience can learn from.
Once you determine what your niche is, you are able to create content that speaks to what this space offers.
3. Identify Your Audience
After you’ve found out what your niche is, attracting the right clients is what naturally follows.
To determine the best type of target clients for your freelance business, ask yourself these three questions:
- What type of customer will find my services useful?
- Which customer can afford to pay the prices I’ll need to charge in order to get to my income goal?
- Can I find a way to connect with my clients on a personal level?
By appealing to a specific, well-selected niche, your services or products will fair better than if you were to just go in blind and not have a specified voice or tone for your target clients.
4. Figure Out Your Finances
Although not the most glamorous part of your startup experience, accounting, or keeping track of your financials, is perhaps the most important.
Keep in mind that when run your own business, you are the one who’s in charge of the money you receive, or give, and where it goes. Research or take courses about how to handle taxes and financial statements for small businesses.
If you need additional help, which you most likely will, hire a part time or freelance accountant to manage your finances. Be sure to always ask questions to make sure that you understand where your money is being allocated.
Accounting will be the crux of your business, so be sure to invest a lot of time and help with this one.
5. Set Your Prices
The previous step was about handling your accounting business before your business gets off the ground. Once you’ve established who will help you with handling invoicing, taxes and the like, you can now set prices for your services.
Search the market and watch your peers to see what the typical prices are for the services for your work.
Never lowball yourself! Even if you are just starting out with freelancing, your cost of services should be competitive with the current market for your niche.
6. Develop Your Own Design
If you are crafting your own business, then people need to know how to identify your service in a sea of others like yours. This is where developing your own design comes in.
In addition, developing a website for your company is essential for people to buy your product and connect with you. It is your “Home Base” so to speak
Since this is such an important step, invest your money to hire a professional freelance designer to make your website pop. Ask the designer to also create a logo, flyers and banners that you can use on YouTube, at events, and on other social media channels.
7. Market Your Business
In order for your company to grow, you will need to market your product and services to gain an audience.
You can hire experts or freelance marketers to help you with this step, but the truth is, you can do what they do for free. Instagram is a great app to use to show off how your designs and products look and function in real time. Twitter and Facebook are avenues to create hashtags and connect with other people in your niche.
So, you can grow and market your small business organically on social media by using hashtags and following others who have your same interest.
If you’re marketing on social media, one of the key things to remember is to be yourself and be relatable to your audience. They will appreciate that more than any theatrical facade.
If you need help on where to start with marketing on social media, watch other vloggers in your niche to see what works in your market and what doesn’t. There are also many YouTube videos that touch on how to market your business organically online and by using SEO tactics.
8. Start Monthly Newsletters
One of the best ways to keep your customers engaged and up to date on the latest news with your business is to send out free monthly newsletters.
When you send out newsletters, you are informing your potential clients that you are committed to keeping communication open, as well as showing that you appreciate their interest in your products.
Free newsletters will get sent directly to your customer’s inbox to provide them with an update on your business and anything new that you have coming up.
There are freelancers who can help you out with doing newsletters, or you can do it yourself by using an automatic email service.
9. Maintain Good Customer Service
So now that you’ve created a sizeable audience after you’ve spent time cultivating relationships online, you want to make sure that you always keep an aura of professionalism and open communication with them.
Great customer service skills will reflect positively on your new business. A satisfied customer is likely to tell at least three friends about a positive experience and is even more likely to keep coming back to buy more of your product.
As a freelancer with a small business, you will need to guarantee great customer service as it leads to increased sales, thus growing your company.
10. Keep Your Day Job Separate
If you are starting out with freelancing on the side and you currently have a full-time job, don’t jeopardize your employment.
Yes, it may be tantalizing to just jump headfirst into freelancing and let your full-time employment fall to the wayside, but as of now, your day job is a steady source of guaranteed money and in some cases, it’s probably funding your side business.
In addition to that, there are a few lists of things that you want to consider with your full-time job:
- Do NOT breach any contracts or agreements you’ve signed with your employer.
- Do NOT work on your freelance business during company time.
- Do NOT use company resources, computers, or paid for blogging tools within your freelance projects.