Freelancing Top Tips
The whole world of the internet, with outsourcing, social media, online collaboration and remote working means there is no better time to start your own freelancing consultancy.
Hundreds and thousands of us have chosen freelancing as a career option for many reasons. For parents, people with disabilities or the environmentally conscious setting up a freelance business can be a perfect solution. For others it’s the nature of the industry they’re part of.
Whatever the reasons, having a set of skills that would serve the business community means you could set up as a self-employed freelancer.
Here at iHubbub, a place where freelancers can network, we have put together some top freelancing tips to ensure your freelance business hits the ground running.
Find Your Freelancing Niche
Really brainstorm and get together a list of the skills you could contract out to somebody.
Put them into categories if it helps – primary and secondary skills, for example. Perhaps you’re a proof-reader who can also turn their hand to freelance copy-editing or a touch typist with excellent journalistic skills. Maybe you’re a graphic designer who can also build websites.
Never over or undersell yourself.
Research All Your Options
Use Google to find freelance bidding sites and agencies. Read the small print and make sure you understand their payment terms before making a bid. Find out if they charge any commission and talk to other freelancers who have used the sites.
Emphasise your competitive edge and make sure your online profiles, wherever they may be, are professional and perceived by a potential client exactly as you would want to be perceived.
Some freelancers opt for a less formal approach keeping things light hearted and conversational. Other freelance consultants prefer a more sombre approach to their style simply because of the business they are in. Always consider the buyer.
Ensure you have all the legal facts in terms of being self-employed. Do you want to be a sole trader or a limited company? Do you need an accountant? Do you understand the Government’s regulations behind tax and National Insurance?
This is by no means an exhaustive list but by spending some time weighing up your options before you dive in to your business start-up, you could save yourself a lot of heartache a year down the line.
Finding Freelance Clients
Look into your potential clients. This can’t be emphasised enough. Talk to them and don’t be afraid to ask for a reference from them if testimonials from other freelancers are not forthcoming.
Find this out: What will they expect of you? You need to know that you’ll be doing, what they ask of you and that you will be paid for that work.
Advertise Your Freelance Consultancy
Advertise yourself dynamically. Blogs, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest and a range of other sites are all great ways to promote your abilities as a freelance contractor.
But these sites are not places to sit still and wait for business to come knocking. Be active on them and keep your presence and availability felt.
And don't forget to pin your freelance consultancy to our map!
Network, network, network! Subscribe to feeds, join groups, retweet, post links, share podcasts. Share knowledge with everyone in your networking sphere, ask questions that will provoke thoughtful responses and never be anything but friendly and welcoming.
Client communication is not just about getting the freelance job, it’s about finding out how they felt after the work was completed. Always follow up with an email to make sure they were satisfied with your work – if they were, politely ask if they wouldn’t mind providing you with a referral.
Referrals can be vital in winning new freelance business.
Illness can strike at any time and the one thing freelancing generally doesn’t provide you with, is any payment at all if you’re not working.
So plan ahead: try to prepare for those times by having something aside for that ‘rainy day’. Be honest with your client and explain the situation. Negotiate any deadlines if at all possible and be realistic.
Pricing Your Freelance Services
Never undervalue yourself or your services. Rather than quoting a price per hour or per day when asked, try to promote your flexible consultancy rates by being open to negotiation once you have a more in-depth picture of exactly what your client needs from you.
And More ...
Google Adwords, Google+, Google Analytics and Google Alerts are all tools you could also consider. Most of them are free and they can help you maximise your online presence and its potential so please do look them up.
Good luck with your new freelance consultancy!