4 small yet vital details you can’t afford to miss when starting your freelance business

When you’re striking out on your own as a freelancer, there’s a lot to handle. You have to get your web presence going, build a business plan and a marketing plan, reach out to potential clients, and update your software.

And that’s the obvious part.

But what about the smaller details?

Neglecting the little things can come back to bite you later, so today, take caution and read through these 4 small yet vital details you may have overlooked when starting your freelance business.

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And since there are so many small details, I’m sure I missed some on this very list. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post and let me know what I left out!

4 small details you can’t afford to miss

1. Your elevator pitch.Sure, you know what your business is about, but can you explain it to a potential client in 20 seconds or less? Even more importantly, can you explain the unique selling proposition in less than 20 seconds? It’s not enough any more to say you’re a freelance logo designer. Why should they pick you over thousands and thousands of other qualified logo designers?

Related: “Master your elevator pitch and win more design clients

2. Your unique selling proposition.
This arguably should be the first thing you decide on before starting a business of any kind. What makes you unique? Why should a client pick you over anyone else? This proposition becomes what your marketing lives and dies by. If you’ve got a great USP, your marketing will be easy. If you’ve got one that’s unclear or too general, your going to struggle with marketing every single day.

Related: “Why you need a freelance niche today! + how it will help you find more quality clients

3. Your web site meta data
As designers (which most of us here are) its easy to focus on how our business web sites look and forget to focus on how they function. When you’re starting a business, it’s important to focus on what customers will see and what search engines will see. You must please both or you’re sunk. This is especially true if you’re trying to focus on local clients. When they search “Web design services in [city]” for example, you better find a way to be at the top. And meta data (site keywords, description, etc.) is a good way to start.


4. Your business name registration
Since you’re most likely starting a business online (think web portfolio, design blog, etc.) it can be really easy to think that once you’ve set up a web site and start inviting clients to look at your work that you’re ready to go. And many freelancers and solopreneurs don’t take the time to register their business name with their respective governments. The problem? Operating under a business name (other than your own personal name as a sole proprietor) can be dangerous. Not always for legal reasons, but because you might be infringing on someone else’s business – which can mean big problems for you later. Imagine building up a reputation under a certain business name and then having to change your name because you find out someone already registered it. Better to get it right from the get-go.

What did I miss?

I’m not ignorant. I know I must have missed something pretty important on this list. What other small details are commonly overlooked by freelancers just starting out? Leave a comment and let me know.

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  1. Captivating designs for any website is very important. With the help of the best designers, it is possible to create unique brand identity for any business. In this cut-throat competitive world, any business whether small or big must have an intelligent online (web) presence, which has become the main thing now-a-days. So, it is vital to have web presence.

  2. Thank you so much for your article. I’m finishing a degree in Digital Media & Internet Services at West Valley College in Saratoga, California. In a few weeks I am making a short ( > 10 min.), presentation to the faculty and staff of my program, as part of the degree requirement. I’m only mildly terrified. So this is a great opportunity for me to focus on what it is I really want to say. I’d appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

    Hi, I’m Sharon Smith. I’m a freelance graphic and web designer. I specialize in working with small business owners, (since I am one!). I can help you synthesize your professional image into an eye catching logo, and then provide you with the appropriate web presence to capture the attention of your target client base. I’m very flexible in my design style, because I want to make sure that the product you end up with not only reflects and pleases you, but works to drive the client base you are looking for to your site. I really enjoy getting to know my client and what they want to bring to the table. If you don’t want to be pitched or dictated to, give me a call. I look forward to hearing from you.

  3. One thing that never failed to cause problem was late billing. Clients forget all that you’ve done for them if you wait too long to send an invoice. It’s almost a given to have system for recording hours worked with some specifics and regular billing even if the project is ongoing over a long period. It may be a hard reality but it’s healthy for your survival and your relationship with your clients.

  4. Some good points…not sure if these are completely relevant but still worth a mention:

    • Having documents in place (branded invoices, payment receipts, contracts, etc).
    • Never take on any project without money down…unfortunately there are too many dishonest people out there who won’t keep their word.

  5. Great article, Preston. Thanks so much for the great! I am just starting out this week with an official business. Regarding #4, the first thing I did was find a name that had an available .com (not easy!) and register it in my county. The issue is, I’m a military spouse and we move every 2-4 years…so I guess I’ll have to re-register locally every time we move. At the risk of sounding ignorant, is there a national way to register a business name or does that get into trademarking?

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