Steps to Starting a Successful Freelance Business
Have a great idea or leaving your corporate job to go out on your own? Good for you! Starting a freelance business will transform your dream into reality, making it possible to offer your paid products and/or services to people who will find them valuable.
Whether you’re starting a side hustle that’ll help you make extra money or plan to build a full-time freelance business, here are some things you must to do get started along with a few of our favorite tools and resources for each.
If starting your own freelance business is one of your goals, there are some things you must do to experience success. Don’t be intimidated by the process of setting up a freelance business. It’s pretty simple! Here are some tasks you should accomplish when you’re starting out.
How To Start a Successful Freelance Business
Make a Plan:
The first thing you need to do is plan out your business. Set your schemes and methods of operation this vital for a prolonged progress.
If you don’t establish goals or define any details, you’re going to struggle a lot. So rather than getting stuck and giving up, start planning right off the bat. Here are some things you should include in your business plan:
- Your business name
- Your specialty
- Who your clients are and how your business will help them
- How you’ll find clients
- What marketing you’ll utilize
- How much you’ll charge
- The type of expenses you’re expecting to have.
If you’re wondering how to start a freelance business, start there. Creating a solid foundation will make everything else so much easier. Once you’ve completed that checklist, you’re ready to move on.
Without clearly defined, easily measurable goals, you’re going to have a very difficult time getting to where you want to go said earlier.
You must answer these questions as you are set to begin your freelance business. This helps for maximum execution and implementation. Is freelancing a path to just earning extra income on the side of your day job?
Do you eventually want to become a full-time freelancer because of the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss? Or, are you looking to use freelancing as a stepping stone to eventually achieving a different goal entirely?
Regardless of what your ultimate goal is, you need to make it abundantly clear. This is something that all of the world’s top entrepreneurs agree upon when it comes to successfully starting a business.
Take the time to understand why you’re considering starting a freelance business do you want to become a freelance writer? Freelance designer? Freelance developer? Make sure this decision is the right move in your progression toward achieving your bigger picture goals.
Only after you have the clarity around where you want freelancing to take you, can you start backing into your shorter-term goals and benchmarks that’ll help your freelance business become a success?
Do Some Research It is crucial to understand your competitors and potential customers when starting your business. Find out who else is in your industry. From there, identify what your competitors are doing insufficiently so you can fill the gap with your own business. Know also the area you cannot be ignored too.
Establish a Website:
You’ll most likely rely on the internet a lot. Secure a domain name for your business and start building your website. There are plenty of services out there that can help you create a website, including WordPress and Squarespace.
Once you have a website, you can display your best work for potential clients to view. You want your website to serve as a destination to demonstrate your expertise.
With that in mind, one of the best ways to show you’re in the know within your space is by regularly publishing new content, images, or videos (depending upon the content medium you work in) that your target clients will be impressed with.
Once you have an understanding of what your clients need, go out and create examples of that exact type of content as if you had been hired to produce it for your own website.
There’s no better way to sell your services than to already show your clients that you can create what they need. What’s more, is that it’ll make their projects that much easier when you have a library of related work to pull from for inspiration.
It’s no coincidence that I choose to work with clients that have a very similar target market, as those who I speak to on my personal blog here. All my potential clients need to do, is check out a couple of my posts to see how much engagement they get, pick up on my conversation style, and get a feel for how I’d be able to work with them & their audience.
If you’re a web designer, your portfolio site should be very meticulously curated since everything about it, is a representation of what you’ll be able to build for your clients. If you’re a writer like me, then your blog posts need to speak to the quality of work you’ll create for everyone you work with.
For designers, the same thing goes, make sure the images you feature on your site are representative of the style you want to create for your future clients.
So, dear, your website is one of the best place to showcase what you can offer, so make your content worth it. Got it?
Expand Your Online Presence:
Don’t forget about social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn may be invaluable for your freelance work). Try to make your social media handles the same as your domain name.
Once you create your accounts, start posting updates on your projects and useful information related to your services to gain a following of your target audience. You should also set up an account with some free email marketing software such as MailChimp.
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Build your email list early so you have access to a loyal base of clients and potential customers. Email marketing is one of the best ways to keep people engaged and grow your business. Make Your Website Look Good, Hire a Graphic Designer (If Necessary) Unless you’re a graphic designer yourself, you may need to hire a web designer to establish your brand online.
A good logo and the website layout will be key to attracting new customers. If you don’t have a logo or simply use a basic website template, people may not take you seriously enough to do business with you.
People will judge your website and social media profiles as an indication of how professional your business is. Tackle Tax and Legal Obligations Head-On One thing that may be intimidating to you is the fact that you’ll need to learn about your legal, tax, and contractual obligations as your own boss.
While nobody loves doing paperwork, it’s nothing you have to dread! According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, here are some steps to take when opening up your freelance business:
- Get any necessary licenses or permits from your local government
- If you’re naming your business something other than your personal name, fill out a “Doing Business As” form with your local government
- Prepare to make estimated tax payments each quarter
- Fill out IRS Form W-9 whenever you get a new client.
Take care of these regulatory and legal responsibilities sooner rather than later will save you headaches and roadblocks later on.
Separate Your Finances:
Make a Budget:
Spread the Word:
Create Buzz About Your Launch: