Starting Out Working for Yourself
Going freelance, whatever your business, is a big and exciting decision that holds many possibilities for your future. It offers you the freedom and flexibility in your field that you might not get from working for the same company all the time. Branching out on your own can be both exciting yet daunting, so here are some tips on being successful in your freelance career.
Before you get started you will have carried out some market research to establish there is a market for your skills and that you can be flexible and adaptable for each individual client that you might be working with. Know your market in detail before you begin looking for clients as you’re bound to find a lot out about your specific market. A certain level of conformity is a key principle to success, meaning that you can provide goods and services that you know there is a market for.
Start out local. It can be easier to target local companies that might be looking to hire a freelancer because a common ground might be important to them when putting their trust in you. There is a good market for freelance workers of all kinds as they can be beneficial for a company in more ways than one. Hiring a freelancer for specific jobs and projects is likely to turn out less expensive for a company than hiring a full-time employee, so freelance workers are attractive to companies, as they only have to pay for the specific jobs that you do rather than paying a full-time salary.
Being aware of the financial aspects of what freelancing entails and managing them effectively is important. You will have to spend a bit of money on your business before you can make any. These expenses can include, but may not be limited to, a website, business email, business cards, office space and supplies. Cut costs by managing your own finances. Have a separate business bank account to track your cashflow easily and manage your invoices yourself. Invoicing is a lot simpler than you might think - try QuickFile for a simple, user-friendly way to keep track of your business’ finances.
It might be tricky at first to figure out how much to charge a client. You’ll want to be affordable enough to attract clients but not so much so that your credibility is questioned. After all, people expect to get what they pay for. It’s best to begin charging in the lower end of your price range and then increase over time once you get an idea of how much your skills are worth. When starting out, offering a shprt piece work for free to demonstrate your skills in exchange for a testimony that will assure future clients of your capabilities, can be very beneficial for the future of your company. Approaching businesses and can be a way to build relationships and contacts, as well as giving you valuable experience. Factors that contribute towards working out what you should be charging in the future include the time you spent working on a project, any overheads that you had to pay for, as well as making a profit.
As a freelancer, you should consider the different types of insurance that you might need and be aware that some types of businesses will need insurance more than others. For instance, if you are in a line of work where the risk of injury is higher than others (for example a builder will be more at risk than someone who works online) then you should consider getting some specific coverage. There are different types of insurance (public liability, contents, business interruption) and any one of them could be right for you. Talk to an advisor to get a clearer picture of whether insurance is important for your business and, if so, what type you should have and where you can get it.
Consider where you are going to work. This, like most aspects of freelancing, is based around the type of work that you will be doing and how you personally work most effectively. Office space is more important to some companies than others - freelancers tend to work remotely on projects. If you’re working at a provided location for example, then you will only need a small space to deal with invoices, finances and other business aspects, and this can easily be done without an office.
Working from home and having a home-office space is the simplest and cheapest option if your business is computer-based. You could have a designated room or area of your house in which to work or even build an attachment. This option is great for a freelancer as it doesn’t require a commute, separate rent payments and you can work in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Renting an office space is an option that some freelancers choose if they need a space to regularly meet with clients or their projects require a larger space. Where you work depends on many factors, including the nature of your work, in which environments you work most productively, and what you can afford.
Lastly, have confidence in yourself. With the right attitude, knowledge and some business networking, you’ll be on your way to getting started as a freelancer. Perseverance and faith in yourself are just as important as anything else when you are going out on your own as a freelancer, and always remember to enjoy your work. It is , after all, why most people want to work for themselves.
If you need help in getting started with your freelance business we're here to help. We specialise in working with small businesses, so contact us and let's arrange to meet over a coffee - firstname.lastname@example.org