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A freelance business is an exciting venture, but there’s no denying it’s a significant undertaking. While having one means you get more control over your hours, rates, and clientele, it lacks the stability of the once-standard nine-to-five.
To give yourself the best chance at success, you need to know what to do and where to seek help. We’ve compiled some of the most helpful tips and tricks to make creating your business go as smoothly as possible.
Choose a profitable niche
It might be tempting to branch out in several directions while starting your freelance business. Unfortunately, it’s liable to be counterproductive since the relative lack of focus will pull you away from your priorities—finding clients and building a solid business foundation.
So, focus on one area to make your business profitable and nurture a healthy reputation for expertise. It’s better to be an expert in one field than mediocre in several.
Set up an office space
While there are certainly benefits to working from home, there is the loss of a professional environment. That has the potential to create distractions and lead to reduced productivity.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to designate an area that can be used exclusively as an office. Consider what you’d have in a physical office, and try replicating that setting as best as possible.
To aid your efforts, consider a virtual office space to make it easy for prospects to find and contact you. You get a virtual office company address that helps you develop a professional image and gain more clients.
Design a business logo
While it might not seem like a priority, having a logo is an excellent way for your business to convey professionalism and credibility. Since you’ll be competing with other freelance companies for prospective clients, your logo needs to make a strong first impression.
You shouldn’t clutter your logo. Many freelancers use the business name as part of their logo, but you could include an image or mascot to make it more memorable.
Make sure that the logo fits in with your target audience. A tech-savvy audience might prefer a sleek look, while a more traditional clientele may connect with something more classic and refined.
You don’t need to hire a professional graphic designer to create the logo. Budget options include using an editor, like Photoshop, to make one or reaching out to freelance sites to hire an artist.
Create a website
Having a website is another way to cultivate a professional image. Prospective clients will want to know more about you and your business, and a website keeps everything in one easy-to-access place.
A simple, straightforward website isn’t always the most effective option for a freelancer. As with logos, your site will work best if it reflects the style of your business. It should also be easy to navigate while still stylish and having minimal clutter.
Social media is one of the most effective ways to connect with clients and build your brand. Of course, the most popular platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where customer engagement is at its highest.
Still, it’s a good idea to establish an active presence on other social media sites, like Reddit, to broaden your reach. You can use these social profiles to attract new clients, share content that informs your audience, and allow people to comment or ask questions.
Outline your rates, but be flexible
One of the hardest things to do as a freelancer is to give clients an exact price for your work, given there are so many variables at play.
In that context, consider having flexible rates that adjust when demand is high and back down when you have less work. However, be prepared for some negotiations with new prospects and clients to find the best rate for your services.
Your rate should complement your experience level and skill set. It’s okay to have modest prices because you can always raise them later when you’re more established and in demand.
Have a portfolio
Clients and prospects will want to see your work and samples of projects you’ve completed. You can use that as a marketing tool to showcase your credentials.
You can incorporate a portfolio into your main website or use a dedicated platform instead. Upload photos that relate to your work and describe the service you’re offering. List key achievements, milestones, and anything else that could impress a potential client.
Build relationships with other freelancers
Network when you attend events. Speak with other freelancers, listen to their perspectives, and take notes on their experiences. You can exchange contact information and even collaborate on future projects to leverage each other’s expertise.
Over time, you could take on projects as a subcontractor or offer your services in exchange for project referrals. While it might not be as lucrative as a big-name contract, it can boost your profile and might lead to more significant projects down the line.
Use freelancer platforms
Freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr are great resources for finding new business opportunities. These sites help businesses connect with freelancers for various tasks.
You can post your skills and bid on projects. Potential clients can review the work you’ve done in the past and see how you match up with their needs.
Set measurable goals
Freelance work can be unpredictable, but it helps to set measurable business goals. Break down tasks as specific as possible to make goals attainable rather than daunting.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) can make measuring your progress more accessible and help you better understand how things are going. In particular, you’ll be able to see how much value you’re producing and the success of any promotional campaigns.
Add testimonials to your site
Testimonials are a kind of word-to-mouth marketing. They let potential clients know what type of work you can do and how you’ll be able to meet their needs. You want these testimonials to be a form of social proof, so make sure people who have used your services write them and clearly detail how you delivered on them.
Besides demonstrating your credentials, testimonials are an excellent way to communicate directly with your target audience. Potential clients will want to hear from people they know that have worked with you and enjoyed the results.
Many of your clients will be willing to write testimonials for you if you ask them directly. You can add testimonials to your site or social media.
Give out business cards
Business cards are a small, low-cost way to get in the door with potential clients. Give these cards to potential clients and people you know who might recommend you to others.
Make your business cards unique, so they stand out from the crowd, but they should still be easy to read. Include your logo, contact information, and links to your social media profiles so prospects can learn more about you.
Invest in professional development
Entrepreneurs are constantly developing their skills and improving their work to further their businesses. With that in mind, invest in professional development or certification courses to further build your reputation in your field.
You’ll enhance your business knowledge and potentially grow your network. In addition, make sure you stay on top of trends in your industry by attending seminars, reading magazines, or listening to informed podcasts.
Taking a proactive approach will help you stay ahead of the competition and establish broad credibility as an expert in your profession.
Leverage software for your needs
There are various software tools that can help you organize your work, manage your workload, and track sales, among others.
Start with project management software to get an overview of your workload. You can also use CRM tools to find new clients and manage client relationships.
Accounting software is necessary to keep proper records and pay taxes. It streamlines your finances so you can access all the data in one place. The best accounting software can help you keep track of your work, manage payments, and invoice clients.
Online payment software like PayPal or Payoneer allows you to accept payments faster. You’ll have more control over cash flow and revenue.
You could also try an all-in-one solution like Hectic. It connects and centers every part of your workflow, giving you one command center for growing your business, from capturing leads to tracking your earnings and every little thing in between. Something notable about this tool is that its Essentials plan is 100% free and its features aren’t limited.
Produce quality work
It goes without saying your business will only succeed if you can produce high-quality work consistently. Treat every project as if it was the most important one you’ve ever worked on because it could be the one that leads to a long-term client.
Don’t rush through any part of a project without giving it proper attention and care. Work on tasks with a deadline so you can stay organized and deliver quality work on time. Focus on your strengths and stay within your area of expertise.
Before you go
Starting a freelance business is an excellent way to earn money while working on projects you enjoy. Choosing the right path can take time and effort, but it’s well worth it. Be sure to have a clear plan from the get-go, and you’ll be well on your way to giving your business a strong foundation.
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