A lack of clearly defined, quantifiable goals will make it extremely difficult for you to achieve your goals.
Is freelancing only a way to supplement your regular income?
The lifestyle advantages of being your own boss may persuade you to become a full-time freelancer.
If that’s the case, are you using freelancing as a springboard to a different career path?
Whatever your final objective, you must be very clear about it. Entrepreneurs throughout the world agree on this when it comes to creating a successful firm.
First and foremost, figure out why you want to get into business for yourself as a freelancer. Would you like to…
Why not try your hand at being a self-employed writer?
A freelancer can be a good option.
What about working as a freelancer in the field of software development?
Make sure this decision is in line with your long-term goals before making it.
To make your freelance business a success, you must first choose where you want to go with it. Only then can you set short-term goals and benchmarks.
“Successful freelancing is only possible when you know where you want to go with it.”
There’s a great post by April Greer on the necessity of setting goals in your freelance business and how to do it effectively here at the Millo blog.
For example, let’s imagine your long-term objective is to work as a full-time freelancer. You’ll be in charge of all aspects of your business, including the hours you work, who you hire, and how much money you make. It’s a long way away, though. When it comes to freelancing, how you spend your limited time will have a significant impact on your success.
To be able to leave your day job without worrying about where your next paycheck will come from, you’ll need to build up a strong, reliable freelancing income. As a result of quitting my day job prematurely in the past with the phone case business I started (and having to move back in with my parents for a few months), my personal rule is that I must now reach a side income of at least 75% of what my salaried job pays me before even considering quitting to pursue my side business full-time.
It’s possible to get a rough idea of how many clients you’ll need (and how much you’ll have to charge them) before you’ll be able to quit your day job and work as a freelancer full-time based on your target freelance income, your living expenses, risk tolerance, and realistic expectations for how long you can survive on your savings now.
Identify a Profitable Market Segment
When it comes to creating graphics, we presume that you’re either a professional graphic designer or that you’ve spent some time learning how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop on the side.
Regardless of what you do, you’re going to have a lot of competition in your field who are willing to charge significantly less than you.
There are people from all over the world prepared to accept lower-paying jobs than you, regardless of where you live. As a freelancer, you need to get over the mindset of attempting to compete on price immediately. “Right now, stop thinking about competing on price as a freelancer.” TWEET THIS BY CLICKING HERE.
For freelance work from home projects, there’s little point in going head-to-head with other people for the cheapest price, especially when there are already so many possibilities available on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and others.
Unless you’ve tried everything in this guide and failed, I strongly advise against listing your services on either of those sites.
Choosing a successful niche for your freelance business is similar to choosing a topic for your blog if you decide to start one. You’re actively pursuing an industry and a type of client that values quality by making this effort.
When it comes to designing infographics for startup blogs or creating eBooks for business tech organizations, focus on one or the other. In order to properly develop a niche for your side hustle, focus on a certain area of interest and become the best in that field. Starting a freelance business and seeking out potential clients can only be done once you have developed your talents enough to comfortably charge a premium for them.
Once you’ve established yourself as the go-to expert in your field, you’ll be able to take your freelance business in whatever direction you choose. Stop worrying about how you’re going to get from point zero to point one hundred in your freelance career. With your side hustle, progress leads to more progress.
Determine Who Your Ideal Customers Are
Attracting the correct types of clients for your freelance business is just as crucial as locating a lucrative specialty.
In the early stages of your independent career, it’s perfectly acceptable to go for a few clients with a more shotgun approach. To determine if you want to continue chasing comparable clients or not, make some early assumptions about who you want to work with and then focus on them first.
In my freelance career, I’ve narrowed down the types of firms I work with to only two over time.
Entrepreneurs that have built a strong personal brand, as well as high-growth tech businesses and business leaders.
One of the key reasons I’ve focused my freelance business on only a few sorts of (quite similar) clients is because I work best with them and they both circulate in similar circles, leading to frequent recommendations. I’m establishing myself as an authority in my field.
First, it’s a tough decision to make. The approach of focusing on the clients with whom you have the most success will, in the long run, help you achieve far better results. The momentum will really build up after you have a few clients that are willing to advocate for you. Caroline Beaton has had a lot of success with this when she launched her freelance career.
Your ultimate goal is to establish yourself as an expert in a particular field and become the go-to source for a particular type of client (s). Those who succeed in this endeavor will be able to uncover the actual potential of their firm.
A small (well-selected) specialization will make it easier for potential clients to see that you are the right person to assist them with their projects.
You can charge premium rates without anyone batting an eye if you use this route over all others.
What are the three questions you should ask yourself in order to find the finest clients for your freelance business?
What types of businesses would benefit from my services?
I need to know which firms can afford to pay the prices I’ll be charging in order to meet my income objective.
There is a lot I can learn about these businesses’ decision-makers and their demographics and interests by conducting this research. Is there a way I can interact with them on a personal level?
It will be easier to design a cold email that connects with these clients and offers quick value when you have all of this information at your fingertips.
Small startup teams and founders with personal brands may immediately connect with me because of my own enthusiasm for startups—and will automatically pick up my content marketing strategy. My work is directly applicable to their business, therefore they have a lot more faith that I can get the same outcomes for them.
Set Your Service Prices Strategically
A lot of time has been spent on how important it is to set an appropriate price for your freelance business before you begin. The technique of determining your freelancing hourly rate is so simple that I designed an infographic to demonstrate it.
Using Bonsai’s freelancing rate explorer, you can examine how much your hourly rate should be for your industry in order to assess if your rates are sufficient to fulfill your income and spending targets. While there are a number of excellent techniques for ensuring that you’re charging enough to support your lifestyle, I recommend starting with a totally different path in mind when deciding how much you should charge for your services.
Don’t let anyone tell you what you’re worth or what your worth is. Starting a freelance business isn’t about becoming rich quick.
Although he has since found how to make money blogging passively, digital marketing consultant Neil Patel has written extensively about his experiences as an SEO freelancer. One of the most important lessons I learned was that the more you charge, the fewer complaints you get from your customers. Due to his meticulous research, he has narrowed his target market to those with significant disposable income, therefore he knows that they will be more willing to invest in your services.
It’s more difficult for smaller clients to bear losses when initiatives don’t bring in huge returns, because they don’t have as much money.
There is no such thing as an excessive price.
If you do your research and target the right clients, you’ll be selling exactly what they need at a price they can afford.
As long as you’re providing enough value, you can’t charge too much.
It was one of my original objectives to learn how to create a blog in the first place to come up with well-researched, in-depth blog post ideas for my clients.
It’s quite important for most organizations to have content that ranks highly in organic search results, thus most of my content is between 1,500 and 2,500 words long. In comparison to other “writers,” I deliver a lot more value to my clients than merely creating a headline and crafting an article. I also help with distribution and increasing traffic after the material is published. Price starts at $500 per post (plus distribution) and rises rapidly based on further requirements and add-ons for that added value.
Do not undervalue what you’re doing for your clientele and do not overcharge.
Don’t overcharge your clients, but also don’t undervalue the work you perform for them.
It’s only a matter of convincing them that you’re the perfect individual to help them with their initiatives. If they’ve already made up their minds about your suitability for the position, the cost becomes less of an issue. Whatever the case, it’s business as usual, and they’ll figure something out.
It’s important to realize that you won’t be the perfect fit for every customer, and that just because you know all the industry slang and jargon doesn’t mean you’re an expert in your field.
If a client is already convinced that you’re the best person for the task, price is no longer an issue.
Create a Portfolio Website of the Highest Quality.
Because I believe so strongly in the need of establishing a strong web presence before embarking on a freelance career, I enlisted the help of freelance portfolio builder Laurence Bradford to teach you everything you need to know. In addition, here is my whole guide on starting a blog (and make money from it).
Let’s take a look at what the aim of a portfolio website is first and foremost. For freelancers, it’s frequently the initial image a potential client has about them and how they’ve worked with other clients (or corporations) in the past. It’s important to clearly explain the services that you provide and who they are intended for. In addition, you must convince yourself that you are the ideal candidate for the type of work you want to do and the clientele you hope to work with.
If you want to market your freelance services, your portfolio must accomplish the following:
The best way to convey your expertise is to show samples of your work.
You should include your name, phone number, and a little bit about yourself in your bio.
Emphasize your applicable experience, training, and education.
Make use of testimonials, even if they come from colleagues or previous bosses.
Frequently post fresh work samples, new clients, and other evidence of your growth as a freelancer.
You may learn a lot from other freelancers in your niche about how to position yourself, establish your value propositions, and start your own business as you construct your online portfolio. If you’re looking for more information on how to design a portfolio website, check out these posts on my blog:
This list of the finest blogging courses may help you create an engaging website.
Expert bloggers provide their best advice and tricks for successful blogging.
When it comes to writing a blog article or a sales page, there are a few things you should know.
My most effective methods for attracting visitors to your blog and converting them into customers.
The next step is to put your greatest work on display in your online portfolio.
Create Case Studies That Demonstrate Your Capabilities (on Your Portfolio Site)
You want your website to be a place where visitors can learn more about you.
“Your portfolio website is a place where you may show off your skills and accomplishments.”
One of the best methods to show that you’re up-to-date in your field is to publish new articles, photographs, or videos (depending on the content format you work in) that your target clientele are excited about. Create examples of the type of material your clients are looking for on your own website once you’ve figured out what they want.
Selling your services is easier if you’ve already shown to your clients that you can produce what they require. To make things even easier for them, you’ll be able to draw on a library of similar projects for inspiration.
I am a living example of this on my website. The focus of everything on my site and something I have personal experience with is educating my readers how to start and maintain a profitable side business, so I decided early on that at least once a month I would write a very extensive 4,000+ word blog article on issues that fall under that umbrella.
It’s no accident that I choose to work with companies whose target audience is quite similar to the one I address on this personal blog.
Only a few of my posts should be checked out by potential clients to see how much engagement they receive, pick up on my conversation style, and get a sense of how I’d be able to work with them and their target market.
Web designers need to take great care while creating their online portfolios because it is an accurate reflection of the work they may expect from them. Writing blogs about the quality of the job you’ll produce for your clients is essential if, like me, you’re a writer. Make sure the images you include on your website are consistent with the aesthetic you hope to convey to your future clients. This is especially important for designers.
Consider Who Your First Customers Will Be
When you first start your freelance business, you only have a limited amount of time to find new clients (and complete the job for them), so you need to make the most of the ones you do acquire. Both financially and in terms of establishing a portfolio.
With only a few clients and corresponding portfolio items, you’ll be judged on your ability to attract new clients.
As a result, deciding who to work with or feature on your website is critical, especially early on. In order to avoid decision paralysis, don’t overthink it, but take a moment to analyze whether each possible customer you’re considering will aid in the achievement of your goals.
Even better if you use a CRM like one of my favorites for small businesses to keep track of your freelance client leads (and freelancers).
Select freelance clients who can assist you achieve your goals
My freelance business only has room for two clients at a time. The reason isn’t because I don’t have any work to do; rather, it’s that I’ve chosen to focus my limited free time on two clients whose needs are most closely matched with the types of clients I hope to work with in the future.
Learn how to find the proper clients for your freelance business from Paul Jarvis on Lifehacker in this post.
In your content, make mention of potential customers
The best remote employment aren’t always to be found by scouring the Internet. You’ll have a difficult time establishing yourself in your field if no one knows you exist.
That’s why I frequently mention the brands, companies, and individuals I’d like to collaborate with in the future in my blog posts.
I may not be ready to take on new clients or qualified to pursue such large agreements just yet, but it’s never too early to start establishing goodwill and getting your name in front of the right people at your target companies.
Keep a running list of the companies you’d like to feature on your website in the coming weeks, and use it to guide your content creation. Afterwards, if you’ve written something about them, spend a few minutes to reach out and tell them.
When I email someone and thank them for their time, they almost always answer right away and promote it on their company’s social media accounts.
While it’s normal to send an email to someone you’ve never met before, it’s also important to push yourself beyond of your comfort zone.
Here are the key components of an effective cold email, as well as a sample of my own.
- Find the best way to get in touch with them.
- Make sure your subject line is tailored to the recipient.
- Do not go on and on about something you don’t need to talk about.
- Promote what you’re good at.
- A call to action should always be included.
The following is the email template I use to notify potential clients when I publish something that mentions them, assuming that they are already members of my target audience for that particular post.
You’ll see in my email that I ask them to do something. I’m doing this for them because I want to be sure that my description of them is accurate. I get a lot of thumbs up or rapid edit requests from the people I email this to.
It doesn’t matter; what matters is that I’ve now built a relationship with them that is built on the value I’ve previously delivered. The relationship has been established, so now it’s time to hone your sales skills.
You never know what will happen, but even if you don’t work together or get a distant job offer, you’ll still walk away with a new friend.
Learn the Art of Self-Promotion
As a freelancer, you must know how to sell yourself. This is an advantage that will serve you well for many years to come.
The ability to articulate your strengths and transform those talks into paying clients is essential for anyone hoping to start a freelancing business, no matter how good they are at their craft.
Winning Freelancing Clients is a course that teaches you how to discover, persuade, and close new clients for your freelance business using well crafted proposals and outreach strategies. On top of that, we discuss ways to attract visitors to your website who are more likely to become paying customers.
The following are the fundamentals of a successful freelance proposal:
- Make a powerful first impression with a well-researched elevator pitch email that already gives a lot of value.
- Promote what you’re good at.
- Prepare for and respond to any queries that might arise.
- Showcase your skills with relevant work examples and former projects.
- Your idea should be presented in a visually pleasing way.
You may get a free copy of my freelance proposal template by clicking here.
Maintaining your day job while running a freelancing business should not be rushed.
The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that your day job is your primary source of consistent income.
Don’t put yourself in jeopardy of losing your full-time job, as you’ll need it to support yourself as you build a freelance business. If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, check out my post on how to avoid getting fired (and sued) when you start a side business.
You’ll need to avoid a number of things, such as:
- Breaking any commitments you’ve made with your employer, if applicable.
- During working hours, you can work on your freelance business (seriously do NOT do this).
- Being an independent contractor and using company laptops and paid blogging tools.
- Moreover, there is a lot more to say.
Let me share with you why I think everyone (particularly millennials) should be freelancing as a side hustle now that you know how to get started. To date, it has proven to be my most reliable side hustle and one of the best business moves I’ve ever made.
Anyone thinking about going into consulting or launching a freelance firm should start off by freelancing part-time while they are still employed full-time.