The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Freelance Business
Only a decade ago, the widely held belief that a 9 to 5 office job was the ultimate career path was predominant. Children would grow up with the goal of being something like a doctor, lawyer, or teacher.
Now, today’s students have job opportunities we didn’t even know about until recently. Being a social media influencer or gamer are actual lucrative professions!
Once upon a time, people had to trade their passions and dreams for the necessary monotony of a paycheck. Not anymore!
Whatever your interests are, if you’re skilled at them, you can make a career as an entrepreneur a successful financial path. When you’re ready to start a freelancing business, use this guide to turn your dream into a reality.
1. Pinpoint Your Audience
Will your business be online, brick and mortar, or a combination of the two? The answer to that will help you narrow down your target audience.
Of course, you want everyone to come to you for your services. But by focusing on a specific market demographic, you’ll be able to generate more accurate statistics.
When you know your ideal audience, do the research to find out:
- What other competition is in your area that markets to this demographic?
- If you’re a brick and mortar shop, how much of the local population falls in this market? What is their gross average income?
- How much is your competition charging for similar services?
Successful multi-million dollar franchises do this upfront analysis. They bring in professional experts to dig through data before deciding whether to open a branch in a particular area.
You, too, need to perform demographic research before you invest your time and money.
Even a great business strategy can fail because there’s not enough demand or too much competition. You don’t have to give up, but you may have to tweak your idea a bit if the numbers don’t match.
2. Invest in Your Technology
To be successful, today’s freelancer must have an online presence. It’s a digital world and clients expect to interact through their devices.
You’ll need a reputable computer, preferably a laptop if your business is going to be mobile. In addition, before you start promoting your work, be sure you have solidly put in place these technological pieces:
- Your website, complete with secure payment options
- An integrative calendar that communicates with clients
- A professional email setup with automated email generation, even if you’re not ready to use it quite yet
- An invoicing system
- Software to store all your files and client communication securely
The best investment you’ll make in your business is with your choice of customer relationship management (CRM) software. It can easily make or break how much time you spend on the back-end with logistics, repeating the same old tasks over and over.
3. Use Your Niche to Start Marketing
You’re ready to start the fun part of your freelancing gig by actually doing the work. Now you need a clientele.
Unless your niche is so targeted that you’re the only one who offers a very popular service, you’re going to have to market. Social media advertising is one way to do this, and there are free and low-cost options to get you started.
However, you can also do the legwork yourself. Show up for networking events in your area and have your business card and elevator pitch honed and ready to go.
As you get to know and impress people, they’ll keep you in mind when they, or someone they know, needs your services. Everyone is a potential client, even if they aren’t at that moment!
Freelancing doesn’t have to be complicated, although it is essential that you start your business with a solid foundation.
A little bit of research on your competition and your audience, some thorough technological setup, and a marketing strategy will put you on the path to entrepreneurial success!