The Secrets of Being a Successful Freelancer
You may already have a job, it pays the bills and that is really important in today's employment market. However, don't use your current job as an excuse NOT to do something you love, you can do both....
Freelancing work is very different from being employed. There are risks, but also great advantages so you will need to decide if it is for you, and if your skills are marketable. As a freelancer you will be selling your skills and time to potential clients.
Working as a freelancer can offer you and your clients many advantages. For a start, you can be your own boss, offering you more freedom and more money. By working different jobs and for a variety of companies you will gather a wealth of experience. You clients are likely to be more flexible over your hours and you will be able to provide skills that they may not otherwise have from their permanent staff.
Get a plan together:
You will need to set yourself personal goals and create a business plan. Consider what it is you want to achieve, for example, how much money do you want to earn? Have you seen a gap in the market that you can fill? How much time and money are you willing to invest? While a business plan can help to focus your objectives for the company, track your growth and deal with potential problems.
Knowledge is everything:
Knowledge of your market is everything. Do some research and get to know your competitors, are there lots of people out there with the same skills, or are you offering something unique? Competition is fierce, so make sure you know your stuff. Your clients will be looking for the best their money can buy, so make sure it is you. If you are confident in the skills you offer, they will have confidence in you.
Networking is key:
As a freelancer you are selling yourself and your skills. It is important to be able to network, to communicate with potential clients and make them want you. This also means making a good impression, you won't always work from home, if you need to go into the office, make sure you look the part. Remember, a good impression can mean your clients recommend you to others.
Seek expert advice:
You will be in charge, so you will need to have an understanding of all aspects of your company, from basic accounts to marketing and publicity. However, there is nothing wrong with getting an expert to help you. If you decide to trade as a Limited Company, then it is best to have an accountant to help you with your financial obligations and tax. A union, such as PCG, can offer sound advice on rules and regulations surrounding the freelancing world, they can provide the security you need while working as a freelancer.
Get your name out there:
Generating business is really important, finding clients is a big challenge for anyone just starting out. So you will need to consider ways of getting your name out there. For example:
- A website, a Facebook page and Twitter account to promote yourself;
- A dedicated phone number for your business on which prospective clients can reach you;
- Business cards;
- Ideally, a business address (such as a post office box or mail box service);
- A portfolio of your best work;
- Ideally, a few references, but you will build those as you go along.
Discipline and no distractions:
If you are planning on making a career as a freelancer, you must show responsibility towards your clients and employers. It is essential to be disciplined when working, give yourself a dedicated work space, where everything you need is in one place and can be easily obtained. Be organised, having a deadline system in place can really help you keep on top of all the things you need to do. This could be an online reminder system, a wall chart or diary. It is also important to communicate regularly with your clients, inform them of your progress and any potential problems.
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