12 Steps to Starting a Freelancing Business

If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’re thinking about making the leap into freelancing. Welcome to the world of the solopreneur! Whether you’re driven by a dream to work for yourself or the desire for more flexibility, it’s worth remembering that the freelance life comes with both awesome perks and a few challenges. 

You’re looking for the freedom and flexibility that comes with only answering to yourself. You’re planning to take life by the reins and your industry by storm. In other words, you want to get your own freelance business going.

What is a Freelance Business?

A freelance business is just like any other business, except you’re the boss and you get to call the shots.

In a nutshell, you’re your own boss and work for yourself, usually through independent contract work. It’s a form of self-employment where you offer your services on a project or contract basis, rather than working for a company.

Just keep in mind that with great power (of being your own boss) comes great responsibility. You’re in charge of your own sick pay and holiday costs, but on the flip side, you get to set your own hours and work from wherever you want – whether it’s from home or your clients’ offices.

Starting a freelance biz can be a blast, but don’t forget that it takes effort, strategy, and planning to make it successful. So, are you ready to take the leap?

Pros of Freelancing

1. Flexible Work Hours

Being your own boss means you have the freedom to work from home, start late, or even work while you travel. No need to ask for permission or be stuck to a 9-5 schedule, you decide your own business hours and work from wherever you want.

2. Choose Your Clients

Once your freelance business is up and running, you get to choose who you work with. Say goodbye to dealing with clients you don’t mesh with, and hello to finding new gigs that align with your values.

3. Direct Link to Success

As a freelancer, you’ll see a clear connection between your hard work and your bank account balance. You keep all the after-tax profits, so you get to decide how to allocate and spend your earnings.

Cons of Freelancing

1. No Legal or HR Support

Running into issues with clients, receiving complaints, and dealing with non-payment on your own can be draining. To reduce the impact of these problems, make sure to sign a freelance contract before working with a new client or get freelancer insurance. Joining a freelancers’ union is another way to get outside support and resources.

2. Feeling Lonely

Working from home all the time can get lonely. Dealing with business challenges on your own can make you feel isolated. To avoid these feelings, more freelancers are joining co-working spaces. Co-working spaces are affordable shared workspaces that allow freelancers to escape isolation and separate their home and work life.

3. Irregular Monthly Income

Your monthly income as a freelancer will depend entirely on the amount of work you do and the goodwill of your clients. Unless you secure recurring monthly revenue, it can be a challenge to lock in regular payments.

How to Start a Freelance Business

1. Get to know yourself before launching your freelance business.

So, you’re thinking about starting a freelance business? That’s great! But before you dive in, it’s important to take some time to figure out what you want from this venture.

Why do you want to do this? Is it for the freedom to be your own boss, set your own hours, or follow your passion? It could be a combination of all of these things. And, how much time and effort are you willing to invest? Will this be a side hustle or will you keep your day job?

Answering these questions and understanding your motivations is key to making your freelance biz a success. After all, you can’t really know what you’re doing if you don’t know why you’re doing it!

2. Understand your personal finances

It’s great to dream of quitting your day job and following your passion, right? But let’s keep it real – you gotta take care of your finances first.

Don’t get too caught up in the fantasy of strolling out of the office with a big grin on your face, ready to do your own thing without a boss. It’s a cool idea, but stay grounded.

Before you take the leap, get to know your personal and business expenses and figure out how long your savings will last. Take a hard look at your finances and have a plan for what to do if things don’t go as planned.

To help you get started, set a monthly income target. Check out online resources like the Boundless Freelance Target Income Calculator to see how much you need to make.

Knowing your finances will give you a clear picture of what to expect and how to handle any issues that come up. So, before you chase your dreams, make sure you’ve got your finances under control.

3. Stay motivated

If you’re thinking about starting your own freelance biz, you’ve gotta be all in. And to stay motivated, you gotta believe in yourself and your biz.

Ask yourself some important questions to get started:

  • Am I ready to give it my all?
  • Is this really what I want to do?
  • Do I have a solid plan in place?
  • Do I truly believe in my plan?
  • Am I okay with the possibility of failure?

Remember, starting a freelance biz can be tough, but if you believe in yourself and are willing to stick it out, you can make it a success!

4. Set SMART goals

It’s important to set some benchmarks to track your progress and keep you on track. Here’s a pro tip: make sure your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

It’s also a good idea to have a mix of short-term, long-term, and ongoing goals. For example, a short-term goal could be launching your website with a certain number of monthly visitors in the next 3 months. A long-term goal could be hitting your target annual revenue in the next 3 years. And an ongoing goal could be dedicating a set number of hours each week to client outreach.

Just make sure these goals are achievable and provide a clear direction for your business. Keep a close eye on them to see what you’re doing right and where you can improve.

5. Get the business end in order

Before you jump into the fun and creative side of your gig, it’s important to handle the boring but crucial stuff first. That means setting up your business legally and getting a handle on your taxes and contracts.

Cash flow can be a bit tricky in the freelancing world, so make sure you have a plan in place for managing your finances. And don’t forget to invest in tools that can help streamline your sales, marketing, and customer service, like a CRM.

Sure, none of this is as exciting as actually doing the work you love, but trust us, you won’t enjoy it to the fullest without getting these basics sorted out first. Take care of the nitty-gritty details like day-to-day operations, accounting, and money management before launching into your freelancing journey.

6. Create your buyer personas

In simple terms, a buyer persona is a made-up version of your perfect customer based on actual data and research about your existing customers. To get started, you’ll want to do some research on your target audience. Reach out to them for surveys and interviews to get a better understanding of the type of person you want to sell to.

Next, take a closer look at your research and see if you can identify any common traits among your potential customers. This could include things like age, how they like to be contacted, their hobbies, and more.

Once you’ve spotted some trends, create a persona for each group. For example, let’s say you’re a caterer and you notice that a lot of your business comes from 40-50 year old women booking family events like kids’ birthday parties. You can use that information to make a buyer persona just for them.

Give them a name and voila! You’ve got a buyer persona.

7. Set your price

So you’re ready to start making some money with your skills, but not sure how to price them? Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. Let’s go through the steps together.

First of all, decide how you want to charge your clients. Hourly? Flat fee? Project quotes? Whatever works best for you. Just make sure you settle on a pricing structure before you start working.

Next, it’s time to figure out how much your services are worth. Check out industry averages online – sites like Payscale and Glassdoor are a good starting point. 

If you’re still unsure, reach out to other professionals in your field. See what they charge and how it’s working out for them.

Keep in mind, finding the right price may take some trial-and-error. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust until you get it just right.

8. Get your online presence up and running

So you’re ready to take your biz to the next level and set up your online presence. A website is key – this will be the first thing potential customers see, so make sure it’s looking good and easy to navigate.

Not only will a stylish site set you apart from other freelancers, but it’s a great way to showcase your services, portfolio, and pricing to prospects. Plus, don’t forget about social media. It’s becoming more and more crucial for businesses to have a strong presence on various networks.

Having a solid social media game will not only keep current customers engaged, but the more likes and followers you can rack up, the more legit and established your biz will look. So start creating and developing your profiles today!

9. Networking

Networking is key for conducting business, but let’s face it, it can be a struggle. It takes effort, energy, and a solid plan to make it work. But don’t worry, with a little know-how, you can create a network that will help take your business to the next level.

First things first, find out where your target audience is hanging out. This could be at local industry events, online forums, or social media. Once you know where they are, you can start developing a strategy to reach them.

Attending local events and participating in online forums are great ways to make personal connections and reach out to potential prospects. And don’t forget to use social media to keep in touch with both potential buyers and industry professionals.

Networking may not be easy, but it’s worth it. Building and maintaining relationships takes time and dedication, but if you put in the effort, you can establish a productive network that will help drive your business forward.

10. Develop a content marketing strategy 

Want to make your biz stand out and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry? Then you need a solid content marketing plan, and that includes regular blogging. But don’t just write about your biz – make it relevant to your field. Show that you’re an expert and legit by offering in-depth, valuable content.

Treat your blog as a way to score leads by adding content offers like whitepapers or eBooks. These goodies can attract new contacts, but you’ll have to trade them for their info (e.g. by asking them to fill out a form).

Don’t just sit on your content, share it on social media – and not just your own. Share relevant and interesting articles from other sources to show that you’re up-to-date on industry trends.

In the end, your content marketing strategy shapes your reputation. So put in the effort to create and share valuable content, and you’ll be a respected authority in no time!

11. Build strong client relationships

As a freelancer, one of the top things on your to-do list should be nurturing the relationships you have with your clients. You want to keep them happy and coming back for more, right?

Staying in touch and delivering top-notch customer service is key. When you make your clients smile, they’ll spread the word and give you a rep as a dependable freelancer. Don’t be shy about asking for testimonials from satisfied customers to showcase on your website.

And let’s not forget the most important part: doing great work. Be professional, put in the effort, and consistently deliver quality results. Happy customers equal a successful freelance business!

12. Make sure you stay on track to succeed

If you’re looking to achieve success, get ready for a journey that won’t always be smooth sailing. The truth is, you won’t see instant results and it may take a while before you start reaping the rewards of your hard work.

But don’t let that discourage you! To set yourself up for success, you need to give it your all and stick to your goals. You’ll face obstacles and challenges along the way, but it’s important to keep a professional attitude and keep serving your customers to the best of your ability.

Trust us, it won’t be easy. But if you stay focused and keep a positive mindset, it will all be worth it in the end.

Is Freelancing A Good Way To Earn A Living Online?

Yes, freelancing is definitely the simplest online biz to start and make a living from.

But, let’s not get it twisted, it’s not a walk in the park. Many freelancers face challenges finding clients and maintaining a consistent income, but compared to other online businesses, it’s still the easier option.

Think of freelancing as a skill – the more you practice and refine your techniques, the better you’ll get. And if you’re feeling a little intimidated, that’s totally normal.

Instead of waiting for the “perfect” moment, take action now. Do your research, build your client list, get insured, set up a biz account, and dive into the world of freelancing. It won’t be easy, but the reward will be worth it!

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