So, you’ve most likely heard of freelancing and you might be interested in becoming your own “boss”. Well, before you step off and pursue your big freelancing career, here’s a few things to consider.
Why are you doing this?:
Are you looking to be your own boss, to set your own hours, to pursue your passion, or all of the above? Being your own boss can be time-consuming and requires a lot of work and dedication. Having a clear picture of how much time and effort you are willing to put in, will it be a side hustle and will you still be keeping your 9-5 job?
Assess your financial situation:
Understanding your personal finances will give you a clear picture of what to expect moving forward. It will give you a concept on how to handle the hidden costs and unexpected bumps that will arise on your path. Take all of that into account and set a monthly income as a target.
Make sure you are in it, to win it:
If you want to succeed in anything, you have to be all the way in it and stay consistent with your efforts. Being able to find and maintain your motivation and inspiration even when times get tough, is hard – we won’t lie. At the end of the day, you have to believe in yourself, your idea and your business.
Set measurable and attainable goals:
Set SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals. Be sure to set different kinds of goals, specifically short-term, long-term and ongoing goals. These goals should outline a solid course of your business and can be adjusted as you go along. Monitor and track your goals and note what you could be doing better.
Sort out the business stuff:
Handling admin stuff can be *sigh* boring, but it’s very necessary to handle everything before getting started. Getting your ABN sorted, understanding your business structure, registering your business and domain name and most importantly – taxes.
Figure out who your audience is:
Understanding who you are marketing to and why is a key factor in running a successful business. Get a feel for who your customers are and what they like. Consider approaching people for surveys and interviews. This will help you figure out which buyer is right for your business.
Decide your pricing structure:
Will you be charging hourly? Flat rate? Project quotes? Research the pricing average for your industry and adjust accordingly based on your strengths. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to others in your space to see what they charge and how their pricing works for them. Doing your research will give you a good idea on the industry average.
Having a great-looking, easy to navigate website assures that your customers know you are a professional business (we can help you out). A well-structured and visually appealing website will also make you stand out from the crowd of other freelancers. You can use your site to showcase your portfolio, services and pricing. Additionally, you will want to establish a strong social media presence. Create profiles across multiple platforms and be consistent with posting. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming, you can repurpose your content across each platform.
Making contacts in your space is important! You can’t conduct business without networking and making contacts. Attending meetings and conferences relevant to your industry. Search for upcoming events in your area to meet new people and make contacts. Be sure to use social media and maintain consistent contact between you and potential customers and other professionals.
You should develop a content marketing strategy. You want to establish your presence as a leader in your industry. Finding ways to give yourself and your business the kind of credibility you need to move forward and be successful. Ask yourself, “What makes my business stand out”? If you’re creating knowledge-rich content that provides value to your audience. You will set your mark as an authority in your industry.
Maintain your relationships:
Once you land your first client (congratulations!), you will want to preserve your client relationship. This means maintaining frequent contact and providing superior customer service. Customer referrals and positive word of mouth is another way to boost your reputation in your industry. If you can, showcase your testimonials on your website and social media platforms.
You must be prepared to stay the course and commit to your business if you want to make it. Setting yourself up for success and streamlining your day-to-day will make it easier. Set tasks for yourself and commit to a daily routine. Be professional in everything you do, from the way you present yourself to delivering the final product. It’s not going to be easy, and you will feel demotivated at times. Remembering why you started and reigniting that passion for what you do will always help.
Want some more advice? All of our Social-Lab-ers (is that word? We’re making it one) have built their own successful business’ and are living their best freelance lives – and we’re always down for a coffee to chat our learnings!