Getting ready to set up as a freelancer? Great idea and good luck to you! There are many reasons why more and more people are setting up as a freelancer, and embracing online work.
Lets be honest here. It isn’t always easy being a freelancer, and you will surely experience a lot of difficult and trying moments. But, with plenty of preparation, you can make the experience a little less stressful.
So, this business startup checklist will help you as you begin your freelance journey.
1.Save up to start off
Switching careers isn’t easy, especially when you’re no longer on the payroll and have no idea what to expect. It’s a good idea to set aside some money to begin your freelancing career.
Typically, the first few months are cash-strapped, and you may not be able to hit the ground running. It’s wise to save enough money to cover your bills for at least three months while you’re still getting your feet wet in the business.
If you don’t have enough money saved up, don’t quit your job just yet. Begin your freelance career while still working full-time. When you start making enough money from your gigs to cover your bills, you can quit.
2.Register your tax information correctly
As you get started, it’s a good idea to get your tax information straight in order to avoid any penalties or legal issues related to tax evasion. It’s best to register as a sole trader when you first start out, and once you’ve established yourself, you can change to a limited company.
3.Decide on a working space
One of the most obvious perks of freelancing is the ability to work whenever and wherever you want. It doesn’t really matter if you work from your bed, your couch, or rented office space.
Take advantage of the remote nature of freelancing to relocate to a less expensive city. When you’re starting out, you want to spend as little money as possible, and finding a cheap place to stay is at the top of the list. What matters most is that you are at ease wherever you are and that you have a pleasant working environment.
A good working place greatly increases your productivity, so you might want to put some thought into this. You might also want to find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted and can stay focused on your work.
4.Budget your finances on a spreadsheet
Keeping track of your finances is an excellent way of evaluating your progress. All transactions, both incoming and outgoing, should be recorded on a spreadsheet. It’s also a form of self-assessment, so you can see how you’re doing at work.
When you’re just starting out, try to spend as little money as possible. Only spend on what you need, not necessarily what you want.
5.Find your clients
Finding clients to work for and keeping them is the most essential part of freelancing. If you play your cards right, every client could be a long-term employer. Nevertheless, before you can do that, you must first locate those clients – a technique known as lead generation.
To begin, you must be aggressive and on high alert for opportunities. Pitch your ideas to prospective clients, but don’t go overboard. Try to avoid nagging and hard-selling at all costs. There’s a fine line between being overly ambitious and being downright annoying, and if you’re not careful, you might end up on the wrong side.
When you have the opportunity to pitch your idea, do so diligently and comprehensively. Go into detail about your services, as well as your terms of payment and availability. Highlight the strengths you have over others in your industry. While doing so, take care not to set unrealistic expectations.
Create social networks with other industry professionals and ask your peers to endorse your services to potential clients. If you get a job, learn to distinguish between the ones that are worth your time and the ones that aren’t. It takes some thought to strike that cost-effort balance when deciding what to work on and what not to work on.
It’s also a good idea to build a content strategy, whether thats on your own website or your social profiles. This will allow you to build your reputation and eventually attract organic enquiries.
When you finally decide to take on a project, give it your all. A satisfied client is not only a loyal one but also the best advertisement.
Before you have your own clients, you may be tempted to pay headhunters to connect you with them. You may believe you have no choice, but this simply means you are working for less than you should. You are exploited for your services, and a portion of your earnings is used to pay off the recruitment agencies.
It’s much better to get clients organically and earn what you’re worth.
7.Set up your social media
Freelancing demands you to be as aggressive as possible. You will never get clients if you sit around and wait; you must get out there and market yourself in every way you can.
Social media is without a doubt the most powerful advertising tool available, and you can choose whether or not to use it to your advantage. Create social media accounts on every site you can think of. You never know where your potential clients might well hear about you, so hit every button and push every door you can.
8.Create a portfolio
As a freelancer, your portfolio serves as your voice to potential clients. It’s your representative in an imaginary interview. It demonstrates how skilled you are at your craft and gives them an idea of what to expect. Put in as much effort as you can to your portfolio; don’t just throw it up on Behance or Upwork and hope for the best.
Include in your portfolio your best work as well as the most notable names you’ve worked with. Don’t rush; instead, meticulously detail everything to persuade your clients that you are the best at what you do. You should constantly update your portfolio as you gain more experience.
9.Set up a domain
Advertising knows no boundaries. Setting up a domain is the best way for interested parties to find you and learn about your services. This allows you to pitch to far more people than you could physically reach.
Your website should include your portfolio and samples of your best work so that clients know what to expect. And to improve your brand visibility, you might also want to consider blogging or a content strategy.
This can be time consuming, so you can always speak to a content marketing agency to see how they can help.
10. Get an accountant
This may not be necessary depending on the scale of your business but if you can afford it, you sure need to go for it. You may be able to organize your finances, but you will require assistance in filing your taxes.
Instead of hiring a bookkeeper only when you need your taxes done, why not hire an accountant to handle all of your finances? It also saves you the trouble and time that you could otherwise spend doing more important stuff or working.