Diving into a freelance career is no small feat.
It takes an enormous amount of courage, confidence, and commitment to walk away from a regular income (which most likely included a lot of company perks) to work for yourself on your own terms.
However, freelancing comes with many benefits, (especially if you have the right support and information to help you get started).
Benefits such as you are now your own boss; you can choose the clients you want to work with, and ultimately you can achieve the work-life balance dream.
However, planning your freelance career is essential.
Yes, you’ve found your niche, and you know there’s demand in the market, but what now?
To win business and stay sane in the first few months of freelancing, you will need a plan and a great deal of support.
Below, we’ve pulled together some of the main points you need to consider when first starting out.
Defining yourself as a freelancer
In its simplest form, the term “freelancer” refers to someone who is self-employed, operating as a sole trader or limited company, and who offers their services to a range of clients at one time.
Today, freelancing has never been more popular. With more and more people turning what they enjoy into a business and looking to move to self-employment to enjoy a better work-life balance, there is now a powerful shift from full-time employment to remote, freelance working.
But where do you start? And how do you maintain the passion for what you do?
Define your goals
Outline what you want to achieve vs. what you need to achieve. For example, what do you want to get out of freelancing? What is the main aim for you, i.e., money? To spend more time doing the things you love?
Then look at what support and resources you need to help you get there.
Identify your income goal
Setting an income goal is essential if you have set bills to pay and outgoings that need to be taken care of.
For example, how much do you have to work/earn to cover these costs? From here, you can then look at stretch income goals to motivate you to continue to strive for more.
Find clients and get work
The big one! As a freelancer, you have to be highly motivated to find clients continuously. And not just any client.
The right clients.
Clients who you have identified to be your target audience.
You must develop a strategy that pushes you to find clients and trust us; you can’t be afraid to sell yourself.
Make sure to stay in touch with your existing networks and then network some more.
Building and rebuilding relationships is key.
Build your portfolio
Package your service offering to show potential clients not only what you have to offer but just how your solution is the answer to their problems.
You then need to market and promote your services in all the right places, i.e., you need to be where your customers are.
Build your brand
Whether you’re new to the freelancing arena or you’re a freelancing pro, continually building your brand and reputation is a must. Building a good reputation and earning respect and trust can lead to great referrals.
Ultimately, you want to become indispensable to your customers so your business and career can also grow.
Work out the technicalities
As the sole person responsible for how successful your business will be, you must define from the very start:
- Your fees and rates – the most important part of becoming a freelancer. For example, are you planning on setting a flat fee or a daily/hourly rate? How do you compare to others in the same space?
- Do you want to be a sole trader or a limited company?
- Register with HMRC as soon as possible
- Get insurance cover that is suitable for you.
With all of these, it’s important to make sure you ask around, do your research, get advice and ideally speak to those already in the industry; their insights can be invaluable.