The ability to be your own boss and flexibility in where you work, what you do and where you do it is the most common reasons for starting out as a freelancer or entrepreneur.
If you are sick of control-freak management, being clocked in and out of the office and you have self-organization and self-management skills you are on the right path.
Becoming a Freelancer is often triggered by seeing it work for others, though the work itself is largely solo.
First off is this bullet-point list of my learning over the last year, written originally for a presentation I gave to a group of interns. It’s a “mind dump” of sorts, listing all the accumulated knowledge I have acquired with an eye to trying to help young people who are just starting freelancing in the creative/media world.
You are a business
So, do some planning – what do you offer, who do you offer it to, how will you find those people, how will you market yourself? What can only you offer? What is the name of your business? Decide what name you are going to use across all your branding at the very beginning.
- Have business-like documentation – invoices, letterheads, an email signature, business cards.
- Get a proper email address.
- Figure out a way to keep track of the money – even it is just a notebook where you write what you have spent and what you have earned.
- Set yourself some goals.
- Work out what you need to get things started – make a list of all expenses you think you might have.
Building an online presence
In the modern era, of digitalization and technology, online presence is almost everything. Once you decide to build an online presence, the first step is to create and promote your website to ensure that your business benefits from the added exposure. Below is a beginner’s guide based on my own experience:
- Get yourself a domain (buy it now even if you only use it later).
- Get a website or a Facebook page.
- If you can write, start a blog.
- Clean up your social media accounts from the past – or hide your private ones and start ones for your business.
- Get a Linked In profile and a two-page CV and a one-page brochure.
It’s important to start building a network. Relationships are the most valuable thing in business, they are the key to landing clients. Networking for freelancers is really important because it builds relationships, and relationships build connections, and connections build sales. My advice is:
- Join a network relevant to your business (Meetup is a good place to look for like-minded groups).
- Network with other colleagues in your industry. ю
The freedom to become a freelancer comes with responsibilities. One of them is to pay close attention to your flow of money or risk being shackled by debt. Your next steps are:
- If you have done all of the above, you might be able to get some seed capital because you will effectively have a business plan.
- Or get whatever job you can and save, save, save until you have enough to start your business.
- What to charge? Figure out what you need to live every month, how many hours you are prepared to work and then do the maths. And then compare to what others are charging in your industry.
Being a freelancer comes with a lot of work that sometimes can’t be done by one person. We live in a fast-changing world and you must be prepared and keep up with the trends in your professional field. That’s why I advise you to:
- If you are a bad writer, pay someone to edit your work (perhaps offer trade exchanges).
- If you are a bad speaker, get some lessons in how to improve.
- Ask other people for advice – Safrea or other industry associations.
- Resources for small businesses –the city council, department of labor, local universities, banks.
This beginner’s tips aren’t the end-all and be-all for freelancing, but they are the foundation when you decide to develop your career path as a freelancer. The future of working is in your hands. Sign up for Flexy and be part of top freelancer’s community. The main purpose of Flexy is to enable companies to find top experts easily and make them part of their workforce.
Thanks for reading,