Being your own boss may be a dream come true, but it takes a long, arduous process to get there, which involves sending hundreds of scope of work templates, quotations, or proposal templates. As appealing as freelancing may sound, people are unable to leave their day jobs simply because the alternative doesn’t always offer stability or benefits. But freelancing businesses can definitely be done and there is a wide range of success stories you can read about.
If you are planning to take the freelancer’s path, understand that there are no instant solutions for taking your business off the ground. It will prove to be difficult at times, but with patience and extensive knowledge about effective freelance tips & strategies, you will soon begin to see results. For now, let’s take a look at what freelancers need to do to grow their businesses.
If you are the type who likes winging it, now is the time to consider changing because it is imperative to start with a solid self-employed business plan before anything else. Consider it as a bible that can help you stay on track with your brand goals, client acquisition, client retention, budgeting, and marketing goals, among others. In times where you need to make difficult decisions, it should keep or return your focus to be able to weigh up things thoroughly and to help you grow your freelance business.
There is no one way to create a solid freelance business plan because it heavily depends on your vision. The traditional business plan may come in the form of a document, but it is not limited to that. Some freelancers would use “vision boards” to chart out their goals for the year.
Typically, there are three areas to cover. First is the nature of your business and in this section, you must clearly state where your business specializes and which clients you cater to. This helps you keep the big picture in mind. Listing down your core objectives aids you to weed out the unnecessary opportunities, such as a project that is outside your scope of work.
Also, consider the edge you have over competitors. Take some time to ponder over any other products or services you can offer aside from your usual. At the same time, check if there is a segment in your industry that is yet to be explored. If so, do you have the means to own this niche?
The next step is to elaborate on your marketing goals. Look for answers to questions such as “How will you get your name out there?” or “How will you find your clients?” In essence, these points will cover your plans on building your reputation.
The third area to consider is your financial goals. Here, you should decide how much you will charge clients for your services, what your expenses would be, and how many hours you will work in a week. If you are unsure of what pricing you should settle on, study the amount of money clients would pay others for services similar to yours.
As it was previously mentioned. you should review your business plan every year, especially with new trends emerging every now and then. Every company remembers to analyze competitors, set new objectives, discuss the latest business topics and promote their brand wisely, so they won't be left behind. Clients may change, and innovative technologies are introduced every once in a while, so it is in your best interest to update your plan in response to these variables.
While it is noble to chase down big projects when you are starting out, it is best to remain realistic. Everyone takes baby steps in his or her career, and this one is no different. In a freelancer’s case, the value of small projects should not be underestimated because these give you opportunities to build your portfolio.
Building your reputation as a freelancer is a must. When you show a good work attitude and meet deadlines, it quickly builds their trust. In this way, you can receive testimonials from that could be great additions to your profile. After building rapport with a number of clients, it is then sensible to go after the big fish.
Networking is crucial to the growth of any business because it provides a number of benefits. For instance, you can get the inside scoop on certain projects before they are revealed publicly in freelancer websites. Additionally, you can easily obtain more job opportunities through personal connections. Clients would usually give the job to someone they know and trust.
Networking opportunities are available everywhere. There are parties, meetings with friends, and many other social events which are perfect occasions to get in touch with more people. You can even search for them on online forums or social media. The goal is to put yourself on people’s radar so you’re the first to come in their minds when they are in need of services in your industry.
Since you will be networking a lot, it is always handy to keep several business cards in your pocket. The card itself should make a big impression. In a recent Inc. article, it was mentioned that business cards with a personal touch are a lot more memorable because they allow a client to draw a basic picture of who the person is. Furthermore, there’s no need to stick to the standard card size of 3.5 by 2 inches. A different size, or even a different shape, permits your card to stand out from the stack of other business cards your client may have.
Finances are most likely the main reason why people have second thoughts about being a freelancer. The job can be an unstable source of income, especially if your usual clients have no new projects to offer.
If you are starting out, make sure to remove the expenses that you can perfectly live without. Scour through everything and cut off your monthly subscriptions, certain grocery items, clothes shopping, and restaurant trips. It is not just about saving money to survive. You can invest the extra money in your business instead, especially if your work requires particular types of equipment. Investing in new equipment can help you expand your services too.
This is especially true if you feel that it’s time to expand your business in terms of your services as a freelancer. If you’re unsure whether or not you should be expanding your list of services, BFS Capital recommends in its e-book to observe whether your customers or clients are saying it’s time for a change, or if you think expanding can increase your revenue without tiring you out. Let’s say your business is graphic design, and you decide to buy a camera. You can then offer photography services as well. Just remember to add it to your freelance business plan.
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An unconventional way to grow your freelance business more quickly is to offer a product aside from your services. If you know you have the skills, it could be beneficial to channel all that wisdom into something tangible. This product may be an ebook, a guide, or a how-to video. The main goal is to provide something useful for your clients, a gesture that may strengthen your bond with them. Furthermore, it will help them comprehend the work that you do.
Make no mistake, these products are in demand. According to an article on Forbes, e-learning products generated $23.3 million in the US and $33 million on a global scale.
Starting a freelance business can be daunting, but having the right mindset and attitude, coupled with the knowledge of these tips, will certainly lessen the chances of treading on rocky road. Sign up for a free Bonsai trial and start managing your freelance business with ease.