A Business Guide for Beginner Freelancers
Being a freelancer is great. It comes with many perks, which make most freelancers say they won’t give up freelancing for anything.
This business guide will help you get to that level of “undying love” for freelancing.
Expertise through the eyes of the client
As a freelancer, you may be multi-talented, or at least have a good level of skill in different disciplines. This will help you make more money.
But generally, saying you can do many things will come across to potential clients as desperate, lacking direction or proficiency. Having a specialization will make the client think you’re likely one of the best in that area.
However, if you want to stick to your image as a generalist, you need to learn to market it as an asset. Don’t just list stuff. Give insightful details on each product or area of expertize so the client knows you are a master of all trades.
Just like in any other business, you will need a target market. For a freelancer, you cannot afford to go with the trend. Getting into a market where everyone already is will weaken your bargaining power.
The trick is to find a market that isn’t being properly served. If you are a website designer, don’t go saying you design the best websites. Instead focus on a niche such as time tracking, mobile optimization or any dynamic content integration that isn’t common.
Training and Quality
Your value is in the quality of the work you put out and so you must be an expert in your field(s).
Training should be continuous, and certifications should be pursued and obtained, where applicable.The main perk in being well-trained is that you can negotiate based on value and not on competitive prices. If your work is of the highest quality, you can charge accordingly.
Stay in touch with trends and news in your niche. This will make youknowledgeable, and your rates will be reflective of that knowledge.
Some freelancers start out on freelance portals like Elance.They’re great for exposure, but come with significant drawbacks.
Using such portals will mean you compete directly with many other freelancers. It’s usually a race to the bottom where freelancers have to charge the least to secure a client.
Instead, invest your efforts in robust marketing. Word-of-mouth, blogging, social media presence and of course, your website will do a lot more for you than a job portal will. If you must use a job portal, let it be solely on a supplementary basis. There are also opportunities to work with companies like Daily Posts, freelance, contract or on a salary. The Daily Posts Writing Company is flexible and offers lots of the benefits of freelancing even when you are employed.
Get ready to be more than just a freelancer
Freelancing is an enterprise, a full business that you operate alone. You will need to market, strategise, document, account, manage, follow-up, monitor, and control.
Do not let this overwhelm you. Some people naturally have the necessary abilities and discipline, while others learn on the job.
If you have a passion for what you do, and you’re willing to develop your weak areas, you will be fine.
Note – do not claim to be what you’re not, especially in the beginning. It will lead you to outsourcing which isn’t a great idea.
That said, your business strategy should be based on what you want to achieve from your freelancing. If you are in freelancing fulltime, your strategy should look something like this:
Short-term: This is where you search aggressively for clients, learn on the job, refine your service and build the necessary networks for your business.
Mid-term: Here, you focus on customer retention, more efforts on securing new customers, refine your service even further, and reevaluate your strategy.
Long-term: This is where you consider expansion. Looking for alternative means of income should also come in here: your practice should have achieved the stability and predictability that will allow you to do something else.
Create a balance
Having a work-life balance makes you more productive. If you are working too much, you will either get burned out, jaded, sick or suffer a regression in quality.
Don’t neglect your hobbies. Get as much exercise as you can, because you will be leading a sedentary life. It’s not about weight management, it’s about having the right body and mind condition to support your business.