Many professionals dream about quitting their day jobs and launching their own freelance business. Here are three of the best tips for freelancers just starting out on this journey.. so you can make sure that you’re ready to go at it on your own.
Diversify Your Portfolio (But Target Your Market)
While it is CRITICAL to find your niche & get focused on the type of clients you support, you will land more repeat customers if you diversify your portfolio and skills, so you can provide better solutions to your customers problems.
Meaning, if you take on a project from soup to nuts (i.e. you do the design, illustration and web layout so your client doesn’t have to hire 3 people) your client is going to have a much smoother experience. Plus, showing a diverse body of work will demonstrate to potential clients that you understand their business needs and can be helpful beyond a single skill.
In order to build a wide range of services, you need to be intentional about learning new skills so that you can reach more people and their needs. Additionally, with a diverse portfolio of offerings, you run avoid the risk of your business going under if a certain segment experiences volatility and you need to pivot your solutions.
Put Yourself Out There
In order to drum up business, you clearly need to put yourself out there. This means that you need to do an exemplary job of marketing yourself so that you quickly build up your client base in the beginning.
If you want to be seen seriously, you definitely need a website, as well as some presence on social media. If you don’t have the skills to design your own website or social media accounts, it’s a good idea to hire a third party to manage this part of the business for you.
But a website is only as valuable as its message, and the traffic you drive to it – so you need to craft the right messaging for your clients and then regularly tell people about your site!
Other ideas to put yourself out there include being purposeful about networking (online and offline), leveraging existing clients to generate new leads, tapping into existing large networks of potential clients (like professional organizations or trade assocaitions) and getting involved in community events so that you can build name recognition.
Build Your Schedule
Being your own boss is often not as easy as you think it may be… and one of the most challenging parts of being a freelancer is learning how to manage your time.
Developing a set schedule to guide your days will help you to be as productive as possible while still providing a healthy balance with your personal life. Although you may need to be flexible with your schedule when you are first getting started, it is a good idea to set limits from the beginning.
Try theming your days – Marketing Monday, Sales Calls Tuesdays, Clients Work Wed/Thursday. And take Friday off to go to the beach.
It can be scary to take those first few steps when launching your new business venture. However, equipping yourself with the right tools and a plan to succeed will ensure that you are as prepared as possible to handle the road ahead.
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