There’s a reason for so many people entering the freelance business as of recent years. Technology makes things much easier, of course; freelancers decades ago had to actually get up and out of the house in order to find work. It was a stressful and tiresome trade, although it was probably much worse for the medieval warriors from whom the word originated – so thank your lucky stars you won’t have to fight for your life if you take up the freelance trade.
Of course, for many, the prospect of starting their own freelance business, whether they do in on a solo basis or with friends, can be a daunting experience which feels as if they have to fight for their life; or, at least, their means of living. You don’t have to feel so intimidated by this line of business, however. Starting a freelance empire is more secure than you think. It’s really no different to starting any business and, once you’ve got a secure client-base, you’ll be just as secure as any other business with a regular influx of clients.
The art of Freelance Business
Still, where on earth do you begin? Well, starting a business is relatively easy, but starting a freelance business, in this day and age, is possibly one of the easiest career moves you could ever make. It requires only determination, a good skillset and the desire to search for clients. Of course, there are some clever and not-so-clever ways to go about building a freelance business, and this will determine whether you end up building a successful company or end up back in your 9 to 5.
Figure out your niche, and plan from there.
If you have any sort of talent at all, you should be running a freelance business by now. Let me put it this way: you have a skill, and there are people out there who don’t have that skill. People are willing to pay for all manner of services, simply to make their lives easier. Most businesses or potential clients would rather part with their money than their time, because time is money to these people. If you’re willing to write excellent marketing copy, take beautiful pictures, code to a professional level, design incredible graphics or even, simply, offer a personal, friendly and welcoming level of customer service in the form of online mediums or a sort of home-based call centre, then you already have a business concept. There are potential clients out there who want those kind of services.
Of course, if you want to actually start an online business, you need to turn your concept into a real, concrete plan. That means deciding what it is your business is going to offer in terms of services or goods, and start to budget things out. Decide whether you need several small clients or merely a few big, regular clients in order to make this a profitable venture, and then decipher what sort of salary you need, and what sort of salary anybody else who you employ under your brand name may need.
Make good use of technology.
Starting an online freelancing business is incredibly cost-effective, if you really hone in on the potential of such an empire. You won’t have to deal with travel costs, unless your clients require some form of external service, but you definitely won’t have to deal with excessive paper costs, rental costs for an office-space or other costs which face traditional businesses.
Why will you avoid all these costs? Because you can build your entire business online, meaning you only need your laptop, and your employees (depending on whether it’s a solo enterprise or a team-based effort) only need their laptops. Still, they don’t need to travel into your “office” if it’s just your home study. Again, you’re saving on travel costs.
My point is that, depending on your specific freelancing service, you could be saving astronomical amounts of money whilst still making the same profits. All in all, freelancing can be a very cost-effective and profitable business if you build your brand well.
Find your client or clients.
Once you know what service your freelance business is going to offer, you’ll know what kind of clients you’re targeting. Of course, actually acquiring the ideal client, or several of them, is easier said than done. You’re a brand new business on the market, and you likely don’t have any credentials to prove your trustworthiness. In order to acquire the majority of clients, you’ll need a good reputation, but that can’t be acquired until a client actually invests in your service and offers a review.
It’s a tough cycle which seems hard to break out of, but there are ways to make clients trust you as a brand new freelancing business. Don’t send out general invitations to a wide array of clients; at least, not in the early days of your self-started company. Find a specific company and ask yourself what it’s missing. Look at what they already offer, and find a gap that you can fill. If they’re lacking a good marketing strategy, offer your writing services; if the design is poor, offer to remodel their website or logo.
Of course, you’re probably still wondering how to get any clients to trust you when you have a blank mark next to your name in terms of reviews. In our opinion, there’s only one way to prove yourself: cold, hard evidence. Send a sample of your work to employers, and let them decide the worthiness of your business with their own eyes. Send an example of some copy, photographs, graphical design or even a website you’ve developed in the past.
Build your own brand.
Once you start making a little progress with your freelance business, start to weave your accomplishments into an overall brand. The internet is your friend, especially in the modern world of freelancing, and this is the cheapest, easiest way for you to market yourself to potential clients. You need to be using a well-designed website, utilizing the very latest trends in SEO techniques. If your website is responsive and uses the right keywords, you’ll be finding the right clients.