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It is often pretty challenging to start a business without any formal training. It is even more difficult to establish your business once you plan to put it there in the first place. However, this blog isn't about undermining your decision to start a freelance business. It is about following the right way to start it efficiently.
What is a Freelance Business?
Freelancing is working on your terms and independently making decisions about the same. If put simply, you are in charge of your work. You can choose your working hours, pricing, place of work, and period of the service you are providing. A freelancer works on a contract or project basis. They are hired by firms or employers for individual projects and paid according to their negotiation with the employers. 59 million Americans reported having freelanced in 2020-equalling 36% of the overall American workforce, as quoted in an article by Millo.
Why choose freelancing?
This question should be answered before you take any step into building your career as a freelancer. Usually, anybody who isn't fond of working under anybody or wants to make extra income starts working as a freelancer.
1. Full-time freelancer
A full-time freelancer chooses to freelance as a full-time job. They take up projects independently and establish themselves as independent workers or self-employed individuals. More and more people are considering freelancing as a career choice. This is because freelance businesses are paid more than full-time workers and are also free to make their own decisions. Freelancing enables faster growth as you are in charge of all the projects you take. You have the flexibility to take on more than one project at a time.
2. Part-time freelancer
A part-time freelancer chooses to freelance for extra income while already doing a full-time job. As a full-time worker one gets limited exposure, however as a freelancer they get to put their skills to use and also get to handle a project on their terms. Apart from a fixed income, one can get the opportunity to make extra money and often might get paid more than what their full-time job has to offer. If you are doing a nine-to-five job, you can do freelance work for the rest of the time available in your day.
Focusing on the fact that freelancing is the future and that it allows individuals to take up as many projects as they want, there are several points to be taken care of when starting a Freelance Business of your own.
Key points to keep in mind while starting your Freelance Business
1. Find your area of expertise
The only way of beginning with your career as a freelancer is to determine your area of expertise. You need to understand how you can help other people and get paid for the same. Is it as a tutor for school or college students, or a freelance consultant, or a freelance content writer, or a web developer? The list is endless. There is so much more to freelancers than it is to those who are stuck at one firm with one single job. A freelancer has the flexibility to work in more than one domain. Once you have decided on your area of expertise, you are set to establish your freelance business.
2. Establish your online presence
As it is said that success doesn't come overnight. In the same way, a freelancer doesn't start to get work overnight. It takes time and effort to establish your business' presence in the market. You need to let people know about your service(s). Most freelancers tend to look for popular freelance marketplaces like Freelancer.com and Upwork. Little do they know that these marketplaces do more harm than good. There are millions of freelancers signed up on these platforms. Competing with other freelancers may lead them to get trapped in bid wars. So, an ideal way of establishing your online presence is to go online and create your marketplace. It is a one-time investment. It helps you to stay on top of the market, as it helps you build trust with your prospective clients.
3. Find your prospective clients
Once you have decided on your freelancing skill and created an online marketplace, it is important to find your target market. Once you know which clients qualify to be your prospects it becomes easier to apply marketing strategies to let your freelance business reach them. With the help of your marketplace and social media marketing, you can convert your website visitors into prospective leads and approach them to provide your services. To ensure that your clients are receiving the information regarding your service, you need to design your website accordingly. If they visit your website, they should understand what service your freelance business provides and how it can be useful to them.
4. Show your competency to the clients
Apart from creating your marketplace, you need to make your prospective clients believe that you are competent for their project. This can be done by listing your past clients and their projects on your marketplace. Getting testimonials from your previous or existing clients can also help you fetch more clients as this will build trust in the eyes of the new clients, and they would therefore trust you to work with them. You can post your portfolio and experience on your marketplace so that anybody who visits your website can get to know about your freelance business and its credibility.
5. Set your pricing
As a freelancer, you get to set your pricing. You can even decide if you want to get paid on an hourly basis or upon the completion of the project. If you are just beginning your career as a freelancer, you need to keep your competitors in mind and then set your pricing. It should neither be too high nor too low, it should seem reasonable to the client. If you decide to be a freelance consultant or tutor, you can even create packages for your clients. These packages can provide your clients with a discount on a set number of sessions, and you can use this strategy to attract more clients.
6. Market your work
There are millions of freelancers out there and the only way any client can see your freelance business is through excellent promotion and marketing. You need to work according to the expectations of your prospective clients. You need to publish blogs and posts that allow people to understand your business. If you post content that is relatable to the audience and relevant to your business, then clients will find interest in your service and consider choosing your services. For instance, if you are a freelance consultant, you may post content regarding what type of consultation you provide and keep free webinars to attract prospective clients. However, the correct marketing strategy may differ for one freelance business from another.
7. Cash management
The most important and tedious part of being a freelancer or running a freelance business is cash management. It gets difficult to keep track of payments as sometimes you are working with more than one client and ensuring that they are making payments on time can include a lot of hassle. However, if you have your own marketplace, you can manage your payments using the platform itself. You can keep track of your daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly earnings. As a freelance consultant or a tutor, you can design the website such that your clients have to pay right when they book an appointment with you. This prevents any inconvenience of sending constant payment reminders to your clients.
8. Network with other contacts
Networking is very important for any business and especially for a freelance one. It is important to make connections with prospective clients in order to create their interest in your business. You can connect with them for discussion, you can invite them to events, and you can even keep webinars or online sessions for them. Giving importance to these connections can prove to be really beneficial as they would get more inclined to availing your services simply because you managed to build a rapport with them. It is good to network regularly as there are many competitors out there, and they might be after the same leads as you.
9. Remain consistent and persistent
When you start your freelancing career, it is important to make your clients believe that you are the right person for their job, and you will provide them with your services with consistent effort. You need to always adhere to deadlines and make sure that you are persistent even if you come across any challenges while delivering your service. Once they are happy with your work, they will automatically recommend you to their other contacts. This will help you in creating a good image in the minds of your clients and will also help you in fetching more prospective clients. Like if you are a freelance consultant or a tutor, you need to give your best right from the first session to the consequent ones so that your client continues to avail of your services.
10. Establish your brand's image
Once you get a kick-start to your freelancing career, you need to build and establish your brand's image. Since you are your own brand, you need to constantly update your website and social media with your accomplished projects. Keep sharing blogs and articles about your business. Connect with people on social media to understand their expectations from service providers like yourself. Constant website and social media activity encourage people to look into your work. If your service turns out to be useful to them, they may even consider availing your services.
Panther helps grow various on-demand consultancy verticals. In this engagement model, we become your technology partner. So, you don't have to go through the hassle of building a team to run and maintain the platform. Panther is a highly customizable product and can be modified as per your requirement. Our technology experts have built a user-friendly interface that allows you to create a marketplace according to your needs. Feel free to get in touch with us if you are looking to build a similar platform.