By: Aimee Carmichael
Setting up alone or moving into freelance work can be daunting and hard work. Essentially you are running your own business and no longer are you just focussing on your core tasks. I have put together a really quick check list of 10 important things to do as a new freelancer or sole trader!
- Protect Your Own Interests – offering services to another person or company has legal considerations. Even the smallest job has legal implications, always protect yourself with a contract and your own terms and conditions of doing business. This may include nature of the work and payment terms. Make sure the client signs this before working.
- Network - if you came from an employment background then your company probably had a sales team, a large marketing budget and a brand name that was known. Well you can be your own sales and marketing force but you need to get out there and start communicating. If you are looking for local business check out local networking groups, you will be surprised how many there are. Online, you have to be on Linkedin – update your profile so people can find you and use it as a contacts system by linking with everyone you meet to quickly build a contact database.
- Have Case Studies and Examples – whether you are a designer, a writer or a developer no one cares that you can list the skills you have you must be able to demonstrate application of these skills to potential hirers, and if you can drop in some ROI or measurement metrics.. even better!
- Ask Questions – ask everyone you meet about their business in a conversational way, make sure everyone you meet in a situation knows what you do, you will be very surprised where leads can come from.
- Invest in an Online Presence – you don’t need to have a fancy website, your online presence will depend on your industry but you do need something. Non tech people can use wordpress to build websites easily, I also like Tumblr. Or even better use a platform like huddlebuy to purchase valuable deals that may help you build a web presence.
- Narrow Your Niche – if you can offer a specific service, to a specific audience that solves a specific problem you will be well on your way to success.
- Know Your Rates – know your rates and stick to them, it is very difficult to know what to charge. Bear in mind that price can be an indication of quality, and remember to account for your expenses and overheads.
- Brush up Admin Skills – as a freelancer you are now the face of your business, first impressions count on all matters. Brush up your writing skills, email communication and administrative skills . The key is to implement routine and be organised. Admin tasks will eat up a lot of your time as a freelancer. I have found this to be an area I don’t enjoy and spend a lot of time on. Consider outsourcing admin tasks to a virtual PA service or freelancer.
- Don’t be Afraid to Say No – just because you are working alone does not mean you should accept all jobs which come your way, if someone tries to cut down your quote, is unprofessional or pushy then let it go. There are a lot of bad clients out there as well as good ones and you will need to learn how to spot them quickly
- Swap Time for Results – if you have been previously employed you will be used to swapping time for money mindset – as you become a freelancer you need to shift this mind set into swapping time for results.
*Aimee is a freelance Marketing consultant specialising in social media, content and digital. For more freelancing insights from Aimee Carmichael, you can reach her via Twitter: @aimee1986, or her website: www.easywriting.co.uk