Just about everyone dreams of turning their side hustle into a full-time gig, but when it comes to taking the plunge into full-time freelancing, it can be difficult knowing the starting point No matter what line of work you're in, making the decision to leave a full-time job and strike out on your own is intimidating. This guide is designed to help you assess whether a career as a freelancer may be right for you and what steps you can take to start a freelance business, regardless of the type of work you dream of doing. Read on to learn more about how to calm your nerves and start freelancing like a pro.
Consider the Pros and Cons of Freelancing
Before you dive into a long-term, full-time job running your own small business, it's important to reflect on the benefits and drawbacks of freelancing. Because you'll be working as your own boss, you should be prepared for working hard, be good at motivating yourself, and be capable of effectively managing your time. Although you may feel excited for devoting all of your spare time and effort towards your business, if you know that you're a person who needs to work with others for time management or self motivation for completing a project, a self-starting freelance position may not be ideal for you.
Additionally, because you'll likely be working solo (unless you hire a virtual assistant or a larger team), you'll likely be responsible for working irregular hours and potentially long days with little flexibility for sick days or vacation time. On the other hand, if your workload is lighter, your schedule can be much more flexible than if you worked at a large corporation. Understanding the pros and cons of freelancing is an important step in helping you determine whether you're ready for starting a freelancing business.
Take Care Of (Your) Business
Once you've decided to commit to the fast-paced world of full-time freelancing, it's time for taking care of the business side of things. As a business owner, you'll need to research laws on registering and licensing your business. You'll also need to speak with other business owners or a tax professional to determine how much money you'll need to set aside every year for taxes.
But there's more: you'll also need to begin determining what services you want to offer, pricing your services, and designing contracts that you can use once you start to find clients. You'll also want to design an effective invoice and determine how you'll be accepting payment. While this may seem tedious, there are plenty of freelancing platforms that are designed to help with the administrative side of your business, so you can spend as much time as possible pursuing your passion.
Get Ready For Showing Off
Whether you're ready for promoting yourself on social media or launching an effective word of mouth campaign, showing potential clients what you can do is an important part of generating interest and securing new contracts. Whether you're a freelance writer who wants to showcase some of your favorite writing samples or a graphic designer who wants to create a sample website that shows off your design skills, having a clearly organized and well-designed portfolio is a great way for getting potential clients excited about working with you.
In addition to designing a strong portfolio, having an effective marketing strategy is a must. Use social media to share your work, as well as job boards and online groups for freelancers. Don't be afraid to reach out to your network to see if anyone can help you find new clients; if not, ask for a recommendation you can show off on LinkedIn or your testimonials page. These are all great ways of making your freelance business look as appealing as possible.
Find (And Keep) Clients
Finding clients can be challenging when you first start out as a freelancer. While posting on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter may be a great way of generating buzz for your business, you don't need to stop there. Cold-emailing potential clients that you think would benefit from your expertise may sound daunting, but it's a relatively low-effort task that shows off your gumption and initiative. Just remember- be respectful, personalize each email, and be detailed when describing the services you offer.
Once you've landed your first client, don't forget to nurture your working relationships! Doing great work for your client will make them more likely to keep using your services. Treat them courteously, send all work and invoices on time, listen to their instructions, and brainstorm ways that you can help them improve their business even further. Not only will your working relationship continue to pay off over time, but you'll continue to generate great work that you can add to your portfolio in order to attract new clients.
Invest In Tools That Can Help
Starting a new career as a full-time freelancer can be stressful and more than a little scary. Fortunately, a wide variety of freelance platforms are available that make it easy for freelancers to run their business with minimal headaches. One great platform is Indy, which allows freelancers to generate lawyer-vetted contracts, send out and keep track of invoices, and easily and securely communicate with clients. Using a freelance platform is a great way to spend less time focusing on the paperwork involved with starting a small business and more time doing what you love. Give it a shot today and see how it can enhance your freelance gig!
Regardless of whether you're a writer, graphic designer, art director, or something else entirely, starting a full-time freelance career can be daunting. It's important to begin the transition to a freelance career by ensuring that you understand the pros and cons of freelancing, have taken care of the legal and financial aspects of your business, and understand how to promote yourself in order to find and retain clients. Although freelance platforms can certainly help your freelance business run more smoothly, the most important qualities that any new freelancer needs are less tangible: namely, passion, the ability to work hard, and determination. With this information and those qualities in your back pocket, you're well on your way to jump-starting your very own freelance career.