How to Start and Grow Your Freelance Business
Whether you are still a college student or you are already employed, a good way to earn on the side is to work freelance.
Working freelance means offering your services to another individual or company that needs a skill you are particularly good at. There are several types of services that you can offer. You can work as a writer, a graphic designer, an event coordinator, an accountant, a photographer, or a computer programmer among many others. Eventually, if you do the right thing, you may even quit your day job and decide to work for yourself as full-time freelancer.
But how do you start your freelancing business and make it grow strong enough to sustain and support you? Here are a few things to do and remember if you want to succeed as a freelancer:
Decide on what type of services you want to offer and explore the possibilities in that area.
What are you really good at? What is your passion? What do you enjoy doing all the time? Is it writing, photography, writing codes, balancing accounts, organizing events, producing commissioned artwork, designing logos, or designing websites? The list could go on and on, and you may be talented in one or two things. Choose only one thing that you can really excel at and something that you want to learn, explore and master further.
Once you’ve chosen what you want to do, explore the possibilities in that area. Do your research either by asking people that you know from the industry or do a simple search online. Aim to have the following questions answered:
a. What type of work is available for you?
b. Where can you possibly find jobs and who are most likely to hire you?
c. How much are people in your line of business usually paid?
Set your goals.
Now that you know what you are going to do and what the possibilities of employment are available for you, ask yourself: how far would you like to take freelancing? Is this just going to be a sideline, or do you want to do this until you can focus on it and do it full-time? Another thing that you need to define at this point is how much work you are willing to take. This is especially important if you keep a day job or you are a student. If you have other commitments, you need to set boundaries with regards to the amount of work you should do so as not to spread yourself thin and compromise the quality of both your full-time job and side opportunities.
Identify potential clients.
Considering your goals, identify who you want to work with. What type of clients are you looking for? For example, you want to become a freelance photographer. Do you want to work with event coordinators and become an event photographer, or do you want to work with magazine editors to become a fashion photographer? Perhaps you enjoy taking shots of food and want your photos used in restaurant menus or as advertising materials? All these clients need you to take pictures, but each of them has different sets of requirements from you. Each of them also operates differently from the others. This means that you may need to fine-tune certain skills to meet their requirements, and you may even need different types of equipment when working with each of them. Find out under which circumstances you work best in and you enjoy being in.
Create a portfolio of your work.
You need to let people know how good you are in order to get them convinced to hire you. To do this, you need a portfolio of your previous works that they can look through. Make sure that you come up with a very convincing body of work that will make them want to hire you. Include contact details of any reference person who could put in a good word for you. One of the best things to do is to create a website where you can display information about yourself and where you can showcase your skills and talent. Being present online can also be an easier way for other people to find you instead of you looking for them.
Determine a competitive price range for your services.
Putting a price tag on your services is always a tricky thing. You might be compelled to sell yourself short because you are still a beginner and you still lack confidence. However, if you constantly sell yourself short, you don’t get properly compensated for your work and you will only burn yourself out. Take a look around the industry by hooking up with other freelancers. Gauge your skills and experience and do an honest assessment of what your service is worth. Determine an amount that will help make your business sustainable. If you just continue to take on losses, you might as well just quit freelancing.
Plan on how you can further improve your skills.
Constantly work on becoming better at your skill. The more you fine-tune your skills, the more positive feedback will come and more people will become convinced to hire you. Follow these steps, and you will definitely be able to successfully start and grow your freelance business.
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