Working as a freelancer will definitely boost your pension fund and start the process of a happy retirement. This article is all about how to start a freelance business.
For the uninformed and uncommitted, there can be a lot of hurdles to overcome whether you are a freelancer or you aspire to become one. So seniors now have new opportunities to be able to stay home and still earn a wonderful income.
Let’s take a look at why a freelance business really appeals to you and if you are serious about it, why you should manage your business in such a way that you are perceived by your prospective current and prospective customers as more than somebody in their bedroom with a laptop.
Freelance Your Way to a Better Retirement
There are opportunities for anyone to start a freelance business into the lucrative field of freelancing. All you need is diligence, patience, and tenacity to pursue it and make it happen by running it like a ‘REAL’ business starting now.
Freelancing allows you to be your own boss. This means you make your own hours. That does not necessarily mean you will work fewer hours than you did working as an employee.
Making your own hours does not mean loafing around all day. Neither does it mean taking short cuts in your business management. This could prove detrimental to your business’s image.
It means having the self-discipline to set aside a certain amount of hours that you work each day. So how do you start a freelance business?
Being a freelancer means that you get to set your own prices for what your time is worth. No more waiting years for a raise that may never come. As you become more proficient and widen your client base you can double and triple your earnings as you see fit.
Have you ever considered living somewhere else but your job and family obligations keep you stuck in the same place? Freelancing gives you the freedom to take your family, if that applies to you, or just yourself and live wherever you want.
As long as you have a phone, a computer and a way to receive mail, you can live at the South Pole or Hawaii and still have a lucrative freelancing career. Your home is your office.
You can be sitting in a coffee shop and enjoying a scone with a mocha latte at the same time you are making more money than you ever made working for somebody else.
You will also need a way to accept payments from your customers that will allow them to perceive you and your business as professional and established.
After you have the materials needed to be a freelancer your greatest cost will be your time and effort. How much are you worth?
The best part is that you get to decide what your time and effort are worth. Obviously it will take some research to see what your market will bear, but all in all, you are in charge of what you are worth.
Freelance Doing What?
The possibilities are endless if you learn the skills of how to start a freelance business and work consistently. I have listed some of the more common niches. They are:
Video and Screen Capture Video
Help Desk Management
Engineering and Architecture
Legal and Paralegal
Training and Development
Graphic Design and Art
Software Development and Programming
This is by no means a complete list. Rather it is a general overview of common areas in which people freelance. Find your own niche and go with it. The advantage of finding yours in the areas mentioned is that there are thousands of jobs posted every day.
People who have created a full-time prosperous career in freelancing did not jump into it blindfolded. They had a plan. They executed the plan and now they are reaping the benefits.
The plan started with research. Next, start looking around. See how many freelance jobs in your area of expertise are on the internet. You need a web presence if you are going to be in business as a freelance contractor. But job boards for freelancers are a great place to get started and find new business.
Step by Step Guide on How to Start a Freelance Business
A freelancer is a person who offers his/her services to employers on a contractual basis. They often charge by the hour, day or job and are essentially one person businesses.
The business conditions for freelance differ globally the requirements for operating such a business varies in each jurisdiction. One of the main prerequisites to becoming a freelancer is a high level of skill in your field. Once you are out on your own there is no longer the shelter of a steady income or an employee to correct your mistakes or cover your faults. Freelancers are typically very well rounded in their skills as they need to operate as a one person team.
Freelancing is a dream job for some people but for seniors it can be the hidden treasure to a comfortable and happy retirement. Even better it is freedom for some who get to work off their own time and don’t have to report to anyone but themselves.
I know, freelancing is very liberating and allows you to live your dream, spend time with your family and be creative. However, it is difficult and often scary. It’s definitely NOT easy! But a good start can make the journey smooth.
Here is a simple guide to start your freelance career in the right way and make it work for you.
Do Your Research on how to Start a Freelance Business and How to Keep it.
You have to take this job seriously. You might even to work twice as hard as you use to at your 9-5, just to break into the market. You are now an entrepreneur.
Do your research to know what you are getting into and all that is required of you. Find out how much it will cost to set up the business. You will need a website so you have to consider buying a domain name and web hosting. It is also advisable to seek legal advice just in case you might need it.
2. Draft Your Freelance Business Plan
If your goal is to succeed as a freelancer then you need to start by doing your business plan as with all business you have to prepare a business plan. It’s cliché I know, but it’s very true. It’s going to take a lot of time, so the sooner you can get started, the sooner you’ll get established and on the road to success.
Understand now that you’re going to struggle at first, that’s inevitable, but you have to start somewhere.
At this point, you’re going to have many fears and questions. That’s expected. Lucky for you there are many people willing to help. If you have any questions, leave a comment on this post. I’ll personally try my best to answer your questions, settle your fears, or at least point you in the right direction.
Some Key points to consider:
- § Decide what you will specialize in and what other jobs you will do.
- § How will you market your business and find clients?
- § How much will you charge per hour?
- § How much will you need to earn each month?
- § What type of business expenses will you have?
By investing the small amount of time to do this you’ll have a much better idea of what goals you should be shooting for.
3. Brand Yourself
One of the first things you will need to do as a freelancer is to decide on a brand for yourself. Decide whether you are going to use your name or get a company name. If you decide on a company name make it professional.
When you set up your website make sure you get a domain name that is:
1. Easy to remember.
2. Easy to spell.
3. Clear as to what you do
Your website should:
- § Have a clear and concise introduction
- § Your skills and services
- § Examples of your previous work
- § Contact details
4. Search for Work
The key to getting started as a freelancer is to have work. But where do you find your first jobs and indeed your later jobs too? And what do you put in your portfolio if everything you’ve ever done belongs to your old employers?
Getting your first job is usually one of the hardest tasks. Here are some websites you can register with to find jobs:
- § UpWork
- § Elance
- § Freelancer
- § Craiglist
- § Guru
- § 99Designs
- § Freelance Writing Gigs
- § iFreelancer
- § SimplyHired
Another good starting point for workplaces that you have worked and companies of your friends and family. This will build your confidence and your portfolio.
You have to understand that it is very difficult for clients to hire you on your words alone. You just have to be patient and don’t lose hope. You might even have to offer to do some volunteer work to get a foot in the door.
5 Identifying Potential Clients
Before you start applying for jobs prepare a generalized freelance contract and invoice because you will need these to start and end every project.
Dealing with clients is one of those things that takes a lot of time and sometimes it does not work out right. So to avoid a lot of errors and misunderstanding write down everything you want to know from the client. Have this plus your business documents ready to go before reaching out to clients.
- § Compile a list of potential clients
Aside from telling your family, friends, and other influential people in your life compile a list of about 15 potential clients you’d like to work with. It can be a local business that you think could benefit from your services, an organization that needs a new website, or even a design firm across the country that might have some run-off work they could pass onto you.
Focus on compiling this list of names and emails (and/or phone numbers). You’ll be using this list to reach out, introduce yourself, and to inquire about freelance work.
- § Create content for your website
Blogging is one of the best and most proven methods of generating traffic for your website. Start writing relevant and informative articles and post on your website and share them also on social media.
Even if you’re not a writer, consider giving this a try. At the very least write/blog about your work process and past jobs and interests. Give it a try – you have nothing to lose.
- § Repeat
If work remains slow, continue to reach out to potential clients every week and promote your availability/work on social media.
Again consistency is key. If you stick with it and continue to put out some sort of content you’ll start to see results. Then it’s those results that you can use to fuel your content creating and marketing strategy.
Experiment with different methods of marketing, track your results along the way and stick to what works best for you.
6. How much is Your Cost?
This is a sensitive and always a tricky part of the business trying to decide on what to charge. You don’t want to be too high nor too low. You have to find a middle ground and stick to it.
Most freelancers work with an hourly rate. They will then either lease themselves out at that rate, or they will use that hourly rate to determine the price of a job by estimating how many hours it involves.
Finding your hourly rate involves the following considerations:
1. What is the average charge? find out what most freelancers are charging and find an average charge for yourself.
2. What is the cost of your monthly expenses to maintain the business? One way of determining your hourly rate is to work out how much it will cost to run the business and take care of your expenses.
Another important consideration to take into account is that the hours you charge for will make up only a part of the hours you work you also need to consider the time you are sick, the time you have taken for holidays and everyone’s favourite – the time when you just plain don’t have any work to do. For these reasons, your hourly rate should generally be higher than you would first guess when you are starting out.
On the other hand, there are benefits to undercharging, particularly at the beginning of your career. Namely, a low rate gets you to work, repeat work and most importantly referral work.
Since jobs are the lifeblood of your freelancing business, this value cannot be underestimated. If you are doing good work at a low cost, word will get around. Of course, in the beginning, you will have to work very hard to make ends meet, but what you can do is raise your prices just a little with each successive wave of clients.
Eventually, you should find yourself in a position with lots of work and a reasonable rate. In my own experience from the time that I first began freelancing until I stopped, my hourly rate multiplied by a factor of 6 – going from very cheap to now fairly expensive.
7. Find other Freelancers you can Trust
There will be times when with all good intentions you can’t take on a freelance project. You may be too busy, have an emergency or just too much work. However, you still want to keep your client and remain loyal.
In this case, it is always good to find another freelancer who does similar work who you can trust. In this way, you will ensure that your client’s job will be done effectively and the relationship will continue.
Another benefit to having one, two or more freelancers you know and trust, is that they too can pass projects they can’t work on your way too, spreading the benefit of your network to you all.
8. Grow Your Business
At this point, your freelance business should be up and running. These are the things that should be in place:
- § You should understand your freelance business
- § You should brand your business
- § You website should be up with your best work displayed
- § You should be marketing your business
- § You should be bidding for jobs
- § And finally, you should be putting out high-quality jobs.
Growing from here is up to you – how much time, patience, and dedication you’re ready to pour into your business as a freelancer is up to you.
When I started freelancing I know very little about the industry but I did my research and stuck to the task. After a year of pure struggle, I started over. I came up with the steps in this article based on reading articles from other freelancers in the business.
Now one year later and I am reaping the benefits. It is nothing luxurious, but I can pay my bills doing what I love, also with the help and support of my family.
If I can do it, then I know you can too.
As I said before it is going to take a lot of time and energy to build a successful business. So if you want to make your dreams a reality through freelancing then you have to start right now and follow these steps with your own twist– using them as a trail to create your own path.
Challenging yourself as a freelancer is one of the smartest moves you can make. Problem-solving skills are key to going into the freelance industry. If you are offered a job you should have the skill-set needed to accept a job a little more challenging than you think you’re capable of doing.
There’s a balance to be struck here, of course — if you feel you’re far under-qualified for a position, it’s probably best not to apply to it — but you’ll soon get a feel for when the naysaying voice in your head is correct and when it’s being too critical.
As a freelancer, you’re solely responsible for your own progression, and you never know how good you can truly be until you challenge yourself.
9. Invest in Good Equipment
As the old saying goes “a good workman never blames his tools” you don’t want to be crossing your fingers every time you save a document or waiting ten minutes for a file to download. To do a good job as a freelancer you need to have the right equipment, and you have to ensure they are in good working condition. So service your equipment regularly and invest in new technology. Think about both hardware (a good computer, mobile and printer are basics for most freelance businesses) and any software needs (what online tools or apps will help make running your business easier?). The good news is that as a freelancer, you can offset the expenses against tax!
Having Doubts About Your Marketability?
Are you wondering if you have what it takes to start a freelance business? Do you wonder if you have what it takes to project the image of a professional business person in the online world?
The best part of freelancing is that there is a niche for almost every skill. If you are good the demands upon your skills will be greater than the supply you can produce. Continue reading and you can identify your skills and make the most of them for the greatest profit.
Why is freelancing so lucrative? Companies are outsourcing more and more work every year. Other individual business people like yourself in different markets but that may require your services are growing almost exponentially in the last 5 years primarily due to the Internet.
It is much more cost effective for a company to outsource work to a free agent than to pay and maintain one full-time employee. A company can find the right professional for a particular project rather than relying on a few employees who may not have the expertise needed to complete the project.
Make of this opportunity, with your wealth of knowledge it should not be a problem. Learn how to start a freelance business and get going today.
The people who are making money are those who market themselves and develop working relationships with companies and long term clients.
Motivation and Desire
Freelance writers just don’t realize how much money there is to be made by writing for the Web. Many writers use the Web as a research tool, they don’t see the Web as a mass of millions of markets. They don’t realize that Web sites are STARVED for good writers.
Want to get paid REAL money to write? That’s where the motivation and desire come in. In order to make more than minimum wage at writing, first, you need to find the places that are paying money, hone your skills and buff up your resume and take action.
Many new freelance writers read a ton of stuff and get stuck in Analysis Paralysis. Don’t be one of them be assertive, bold and confident.
Just like a writer staring at a blank computer screen, a freelance writer is overwhelmed from the moment they come online. This article can get you past all of that giving you a plan to follow that has most of the facts you’ll need to get started.
All it will require is that you execute the plan. That’s motivation in action; turning dreams and desires into reality.
Conclusion – Things to Know
As a freelancer, there is so much to learn about the business especially if you are a newbie.
In this job, constant learning is of utmost importance. Commitment, perseverance and patience are also the pillars on which this business will grow and succeed.
Remaining marketable and relevant is also a priority. The turn around time for success is dependable on you on how fast you learn how to start a freelance business and maintain it.
This is a fast-changing industry, and there’s always a new twist coming that you want to know. Have an open mind, get rid of the “I can’t attitude” and go for it.