Freelancing is becoming more and more popular as people decide to say goodbye to the grind of working for an employer and setting up on their own. It’s a way of working with many benefits, and provided you have a skill or can offer a service that people need, you can make a career out of it. Winning the freelance game isn’t always easy - if it were, everyone would be doing it!
Want to turn your dream of being self-employed into reality? Take a look at the eight things you need to become a successful freelancer.
1. Something to offer
While the list of potential freelance opportunities is endless, you can’t just choose a random field to enter. Freelancers are mostly specialists and expert in a certain area such as writing or graphic design, so if you’re considering going freelance you’ll need to be skilled in a certain area that you know is in demand. Many people make a career out of blogging or designing web pages - something that might not even be what your vocation is, but could provide you with a good income if you were to freelance. Think about what you can offer and what makes you unique to give you the foundation for your freelance business.
2. A good brand
You might think that your days of working for a business or brand are now long behind you, but the truth is that you are the brand now. People want services from a professional, so you’ll need to look the part as well as acting it. A strong brand identity that represents you and what you do is a good start to helping potential clients learn more about you. Think about things like logo design, what your mission statement is and what makes your business ‘you,’ - develop them into a brand that becomes recognisable to your clients and makes you look like the real deal. Your brand can be used everywhere from your business cards to your website, so it’s important to choose something that is visually appealing to clients.
3. A Routine
Working for yourself is great, but it can be easy to develop some bad habits as a freelancer. Now that you’re self-employed, you’ve got a new sense of freedom you probably didn’t have working for an employer. This means you can ‘show up’ to work when you want, work as long as you want and plan your day as you wish. This sounds great, but it could spell disaster if you don’t make a routine for yourself. Focus on creating a routine for your freelance business to help you stay on task and to stop you falling behind on your work.
4. A good Client base
Finding clients is one of the toughest elements of starting as a freelancer. If you can, try sourcing one or two before you decide to give up your job. This will not only help you to build your portfolio but can start getting your name out there so that when you do go fully self-employed - you’re not waiting around for work. Ask around for opportunities and start approaching people to offer your services. If you do struggle to find work in this way, there are some excellent freelance websites to help you find work and make some contacts.
5. The right equipment
When you worked for an employer, all of the tools and equipment you needed were there at your disposal. Now that you’re working for yourself, you’ll need to source the equipment yourself. It can be expensive to buy everything you need to work for yourself such as the right technology, but the good news is that options like leasing or hire purchase are designed with businesses in mind to get you started right away. Purchasing equipment is also tax-deductible, so make sure you keep all of your receipts and invoices for the items you buy for your business.
6. A Business account
One of the biggest mistakes that freelancers make is not having a separate bank account for your personal and business finances. When you only have one account, your expenses can become blurred and hard to track, while it can be difficult to separate money for areas like tax and insurance. Create a business account that is used for all of your work-related income and outgoings, paying yourself a salary from that into your personal account that you can use for your personal finances.
7. Accounting software/accountant
In addition to your business account, you’re going to start needing to manage your finances differently. You are now responsible for your own taxes, business bills and expenses - which means you’re going to have to learn to keep track of everything. Business accounting software is a popular option, but if you’d prefer to put your money in the hands of a professional, then hiring an accountant is the way to go.
8. An outstanding website
Having a good website to support your freelance business not only makes you look more professional, but it helps potential clients to find you and get in touch. Not only should your website have a strong visual design, but it should also be useful to people who are visiting. Make sure your website is easily searchable using Google and other search engines through strong website SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and update it regularly to help drive traffic. Hosting a blog on your website is a great idea to help show off your expertise, while also giving you more opportunities to drive people towards your services.
Starting a freelance business is a great way to take charge of your career and find that job satisfaction that so many people crave. It may be difficult at the start, but there is a lot of advice out there to help you succeed it. With the right attitude and a passionate approach to what you do, you can set out to become a successful freelancer and say goodbye to the ordinary 9-5.