Think freelancing is easy? Just starting out? Here’s what you need to know:
- Freelancing is not easier than a 9-5 job. You have to be everything from the worker to the manager to the salesperson, but you’re only really paid when you deliver something of value to a client. Don’t forget that the non-paying parts of the job can be just as important. Remember to include the costs of those non-paying parts in your pricing.
- Have money in the bank, at least 6 months’ worth at all times. If you start to run out, look for a short-term contract that will tide you over for 3-6 months.
- Market your services like your business depends on it, because it does. Never sit around waiting for people to call you… until you are so busy you don’t want to talk with them anyway.
- Know your best potential client like the back of your hand. If your answer to the question “Who’s your best potential client?” is “The one who will pay me” then you have not thought this out enough. By figuring out who your best potential client is, you’ll know where to look for them, where they will look for you, and how much they’re willing to pay for your services.
- Don’t worry about your competition. Freelancers don’t fail because of their competition; they fail because they really didn’t have a clue how to run a successful business and didn’t have enough time/money to get a clue.
- Never lower your price after giving it to the client unless you reduce the amount of work you plan to do for them. Never offer a discount up front unless everyone is getting the same discount as part of a promotion.
- Everyone you know is a potential salesperson for you if you can only get them to learn what you do for a living. It’ll help if they also know what type of clients you want to land, but it’s not always required.
- Never let the client dictate the terms of the relationship. You won’t be happy if they do. Be willing to negotiate and re-negotiate anything if it’ll help the project succeed.
- An accountant may be necessary to do your taxes each year. A good accountant will also help you structure your business and personal finances to your maximum benefit. Once you get busy, find a good accountant. What you spend on a good accountant will be more than saved each year.
- Being the boss of your own company means you get to work when you want. Don’t forget to take time off when you’re really busy. Don’t forget that when you’re not busy, you need to work twice as hard.
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