If you came across this article then you probably decided to be your own boss and make your own decisions. Good choice!
Freelancing is great for someone who wants to build their own career, work from anywhere in the world, create your own team, and most importantly do what you love.
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Starting a business on your own, may bring you some difficulties and make you feel under pressure. Successful businesses aren’t built within one week or a month. It requires a lot of time, patience and dedication.
Popularity of freelancing
It is worthwhile to mention that more and more people decide to quit their traditional jobs to start a freelance business and build a new career.
Freelance economy without a doubt is flourishing. The biggest companies like Google decide to hire freelancers. In fact, according to the Times, more than 50% of employees at Google are independent contractors.
Another interesting fact? Upwork study says that freelancing has been growing immensely since 2014, and by 2027 most Americans will choose freelancing career.
Those numbers should encourage you to give it a try and create your own self-employed career.
In this blog post, I’m going to share a few steps you need to take in order to start building a successful freelancing business.
1. Find your niche
For starters, take your time and think it through:
- What is it that you see yourself doing every day?
- What are your interests?
- What is your passion?
Would you like to be a freelance writer, freelance photographer, wedding planner, or maybe web developer?
There are many many options and many areas for you to grow in as a freelancer. Write down your acquired skills and see where you can improve. Knowing what you’re good at will help you better assess your strengths and find the niche you’re looking for.
Study your niche very well, as it’s going to be a source of your income and something that you will want to love doing as your profession.
2. Set a plan
Once you know what to specialize in, you can jump into making a business plan. It’s a moment where you need to establish your goals, visions, and expectations. Ask yourself questions like:
- Who is my audience?
- Where do I want to be with my business in one month/one year/five years from now?
- What are my personal goals?
Determine your strengths and weaknesses, use this Business Plan Checklist to have a clearer picture and follow the structure.
3. Set a budget
Creating a budget plan is important as it gives an overall image of where your freelance money goes and what expenses should be cut off.
Keep in mind that the amount of money you’ll earn monthly can vary. There will be times when you receive more and times when you receive less.
In this case, It’s good to create a monthly budget and track all of your expenses. This way you will know how much you spend and how much you need to earn in order to cover all your expenses.
There are thousands of online tools to help you keep track of where your money goes.
In your freelance career, every service/product/work provided, you will receive a payment for. And this is when invoicing comes in. If you want your payment processes to be smooth, on time, and easy, you should check online invoicing software which will save you all the hustle with invoicing, plus you will be able to create reports and see where you spend your money.
4. Reach out to potential clients
Finding clients is as important as finding your niche. At the beginning of your new career, it can be challenging to attract clients to your business. You may not know where to start or who reach out to.
The best option is to start your research on job boards such as UpWork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, and many others. In one of our previous blog posts, we listed all freelancing websites you should know about.
Choose the best suitable freelancer sites for your business and create outstanding profiles, highlight your skills and make yourself visible to potential clients.
Use your network and share your products/services with them. Send them emails, shortly describing what you offer and ask if they know anyone who would be in need for such services.
Make sure to include some samples of your previous work/service details. Sharing your portfolio will surely increase your chances of being noticed.
I mentioned only a few ideas among hundreds of options you can implement to get new clients. Other successful ways of building a solid number of clients would be by social media or by applying SEO techniques. In our last post, we shared a long list of the most effective ways to find clients.
5. Learn new skills
Have you ever heard from your parents or grandparents that “you learn your whole life”?. That’s right you do. Especially when nowadays technology and developments bring so many job opportunities and create a demand for new skills, such as SEO specialist, coding, designing, writing, translating or managing social media.
Upwork Skill Index gives us a list of the most in-demand skills for freelancers. The index presents quite unexpected set of skills which can significantly increase your chances in the freelance market.
says Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork
So basically to make your freelancing successful you need to constantly grow and adapt yourself as well as your business to constantly evolving technology and new solutions.
6. Stay organized
Good organizational skills are important for your business well-being. it can be a struggle to organize your schedule in a way to keep a healthy work-life balance and get the most of your day.
Your own business will require a lot of work, commitment and sacrifices. In the beginning, you may feel overwhelmed and excited at the same time, but if you follow certain rules and optimize your time, you’ll be able to get your work done and still have time to enjoy your life.
Here are a few tips that I believe work the best.
Set a Routine
The key rule is to create a routine and stick to it day by day until it becomes natural. Create a structured schedule around your most productive time of day to increase your productivity and creativity.
Creating a to-do list will help you make sure everything is done and will push you to do even more. Prioritize your tasks and start from the easiest one. Some people claim that starting on a simple task boosts your motivation and gets you moving for the rest of the day.
Get away from distractions
If your phone is your biggest distraction – put it away (unless you need it to work). Find yourself space where you can focus and be far away from distractions. Working from home is great but it also has a lot of downfalls. Choosing a nice cafe or coworking space to work from is a great idea. There are many benefits of working from coworking spaces. They give you all the needed facilities and free coffee!
Online management tools are very common among freelancers. Why? Because they make your work way easier! I would say some of them are must-have for optimizing your work and time.
Let’s start with Trello – a project management tool that will help you organize your projects, assign tasks to your team members, create boards and lists. It’s very visual and intuitive.
Slack – the best communication app. It lets you create channels for group discussion, tag your team members in a conversation, and have private chats. You can do video and voice calls, share your documents, images and search for anything you need in past conversations.
Dropbox – cloud storage that you probably already got. If not, now is the best time to get it. Your laptop won’t be able to store all the important files. That’s why you’ll need Dropbox to be able to store large files in different folders and share it with your team members.
InvoiceBerry – an online invoicing software that allows you to create professional-looking invoices, which you can save, edit and send by email to your clients. Besides that, you can keep track of your expenses and create reports.
The bottom line
On your way to starting a business, you will face many challenges and difficulties, but in the end, it will be all worth it.
Take as much time as you need to focus on the fundamentals of your business. Set your goals high and follow the best practices. Don’t wait but start working on your career now. Learn new skills, create an amazing portfolio and start reaching out to your potential clients.
You may not know where to begin but if you follow this guide and focus on particular steps, you’ll be already on your way to success.