Whether you’re a student thinking about starting your freelance business after graduation or you have been employed for a few years and dream about being your own boss, these 10 tips will help your business get off to a great start.
Find your niche
You decided you want to work for yourself but knowing that you want to be a graphic designer is not enough. You need to think about the type of work you can do. What do you like to do? What are you good at? Will people pay for that?
Make a test run
Finding out if people are willing to pay for your services is quite easy. You can set up a portfolio, Facebook page or even an online shop. Then tell your friends about it and see if anyone is interested in it. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
Find your ideal client
You know what services you want to offer, but who are your future clients? Learn everything about the persons you want to work for. How will you help them and how can you make them trust you? It’s important to know in advance what types of persons you want to work with because you don’t have to take on every client that comes to you.
Develop your brand identity
So you know your niche and potential clients, it’s time to find a brand name and identity. If you’re not a designer, it’s better to hire someone who you like and has a portfolio that fits your style. If you are a designer, well, then you are your first client.
Create a blog or website
Are you still wondering if you should set up a blog or a portfolio website? The answer is simple: you will need a blog. Blogging makes potential clients find you and you can show them your skills by writing about what you do. Besides the blog, you will need to build website pages (About, Portfolio, etc) and maybe even an online shop. You can do this yourself or hire someone to help you.
Start establishing relationships
Starting a blog is the best way to attract new clients, but you can also do this by setting up social media accounts (use only the ones you feel comfortable with) and commenting on other blogs.
Develop your work process
You don’t need to think about the whole process from the beginning, you will learn a lot of things from your first projects. Just outlining the process is enough and will help you figure out what web pages and documents you will need.
Create a contract and other documents
A contract is very important! Don’t ever do any kind of work without a contract and a deposit. It will keep you safe from clients who want to add extra services that were not in the initial deal.
There are also other documents you will need to think of, like email templates. You can make a PDF or an email template that contains the prices and the process. This will save you a lot of time and you won’t have to figure out what to write every time someone emails you.
Charge what you’re worth
Setting prices is a difficult matter and underpricing is common when starting your freelance business. You should decide if you will charge by the hour or by project, and when setting the price you have to consider your experience and your living expenses. Whatever you do, never work for free.
Set your working hours
You might think that freelancing means getting away from a tight work schedule, but establishing a routine and setting working hours will actually increase your productivity and may even help you spend less time behind the computer screen.
Now that everything is set, it’s time to launch your freelance business.
What about you? Do you have any tips for starting a freelance business?