Make the leap to freelance & strategy everything
Whether you plan on freelancing full-time or part-time, you will need to make that choice and commit. You’re going to need to devote lots of time to learn the trade and be the best service provider potential. If you aren’t ready to devote a couple of years to get your company off the ground, then this isn’t for you!
Still feel that this is exactly what you want? Good.
The more in-depth your reply, the better you will know yourself and your freelance business. Your replies will help reassure you that this is exactly what you need to do.
Can you manage running your own business alone?
Have you got self-motivation to work independently and teach yourself?
How much will you need to make each month to produce a living?
Which sort of work are you going to concentrate in?
Which sort of clients do you need to work with? (Startups, local companies, organizations/non-profits, attorneys, realtors, etc..)
Have you got good communication skills?
(You’ll get rejected!)
Are you going to have the ability to keep up with the continuous changes in your area?
Are you able to work under stress and pressure?
Where would you like to be in five years?
Have you got a backup plan?
I made the error over a year ago when I first began by not fully understanding what my actual freelance goals were. You will need to care for your freelance career as a real company, as it is! You may even use your answers to the questions above to form a business plan for yourself.
With your own speciality and target market in mind, now is the time to build your freelance website and internet presence.
Treat yourself like a customer and actually plan out the content of your site. Build yourself a new and be consistent with it throughout all of your online accounts. (Photos, colours, bios, etc..)
Designing is the fun part, but it is the material that converts potentials into real paying customers. Draw out a site and write a brief description for each page on which its purpose is and what content it will hold.
Typically your site should be home to a site that attracts in visitors, a friendly about page with your photo that conveys your narrative, a very simple method of contact, along with your portfolio of work.
Clients are not going to know you exist if you don’t get your name out there in front of them. The first thing you will need to do is inform your loved ones, friends, and other influential people in your life about what it is you are doing. “I’m beginning to design fulltime, so in case you know anybody who is in need of [insert your specialization], allow me to know!”
Is not it exciting now that your freelance business is truly coming to life? Especially now that you are making a real commitment to spreading the word about it?
To really begin prospecting for your first customers, the very best method I have found simply searches for companies in Google which you would like to work together and “cold-call email” them to present your own freelance business.
Make your emails personalized to this particular prospect. Here’s a simple example that you are free to edit and use:
I am contacting you to ascertain if you have some occasional or ongoing demand for graphic design work I can help with.
If possible, another fantastic way to find potential customers is to attend a media event. I love to participate and help out my neighbourhood technical career centre with judging student events and such. Even if there is a job fair in town, attend and pass out some business cards.
Speaking of business cards make certain to leave them behind if you are out and about — or better still, design an exceptional leave-behind flyer and pin it up on local bulletin boards or just leave them on a counter in the neighbourhood coffee shop. Another very innovative use of your business cards would be to attach it to a comment card. When there’s a comment or suggestion box where you may be, leave some useful feedback/critiques about their site or stationary and paper clip your business card into the comment sheet.
“The keys to life are concealed behind the word cliché!”
You will only succeed if you start today!
Whether or not you are just now getting started or have been at it for some time, you may definitely take this next bit of advice and put it to use and boost your freelance business towards success.
As you’re sending emails and making connections, use whatever free time you need to contribute something of worth.
Offer to do little pro-bono jobs for an organization.
Guest article on a blog with a proven audience about your topic of expertise.
Write a tutorial describing how to accomplish something which others may find useful.
Teach a workshop at the community library or school.
As I said before, if you are not prepared to commit and set in the years of work then you may want to rethink your career path of being a freelancer.
It is hard work to construct your own success from nothing, but as soon as you do start earning an income by doing what you love, it is a feeling that can not be explained, but only experienced.
Find your passion, remain positive and put everything you learn how to use. Times will get stressful, but if you are actively linking and sharing, you’re going to be growing an audience, which will result in more work.
I’m always pleased to help those seeking to begin a freelance career. If you are struggling with something or have some unanswered questions, let me know in the comments below!