There has been a recent shift in the way companies build teams in the last decade. More companies are forgoing traditional practices and hiring freelancers because it offers more flexibility all both parties involved. This creates opportunities for those with useful skills (especially in the arts and design industries) to start freelance businesses and grow sustainable careers.
If you’re considering chasing your dreams and starting a freelance business, here are some tips that can help you along the way (in no particular order).
Get Your Finances Set Up
Having people pay you in cash or via CashApp, Venmo, or ApplePay is a simple way to operate when you’re starting out. However, for both legal and logistical reasons, you’ll need a better invoicing system than this.
There are legal compliance issues that come with owning and operating a freelancing small business. You must be aware of and comply with national and international e-commerce regulations. In some countries, consumers need proper invoices for accounting and tax reporting purposes.
Invoicing online will encourage others to view you as a professional business as well.
Look into online invoicing programs for small businesses. Not only will it help you keep track of if/what people owe you, but this will help you:
- Create estimates and quotes
- Handle subscriptions
- Track expenses
- View financial reports
- Manage your team
- And much more
Know Your Worth and Price Accordingly
There will be many competitors that can (and will) charge lower rates than you, especially when talking about the arts and design industries. Many experts in their field complain that this “waters down” the trade and makes it seem like anyone can do it. However, you must keep in mind that charging what you’re worth will bring the right clients to you.
For example, photographers know all too well that base-level DSLR cameras are cheap and easy to get. As a result, amateur photographers get these cameras and start offering services at low prices.
As someone who knows your worth and prices your services accordingly, you might notice people flocking to the photographer that does an entire session for $30 instead of your $400. Does that mean you should lower your price to try to get clients back?
As a rule, never lower your prices simply to gain clients. Charge what you’re worth, and you’ll attract clients that recognize the value in your work and are willing to pay for your quality.
Build a High-Quality Portfolio Website
A powerful online presence is a key to starting a freelance business. Your portfolio is the first place that a potential client sees your work and gets an impression of your style.
Not only do they see your past work, but they also see what you have to offer and for whom. Your portfolio should:
- Communicate your service/specialties
- Display your previous work
- Clearly display your contact information
- Show testimonials from previous clients or friends and bosses if you’re just getting started
- Be updated regularly with new work or contact information
You can also research other freelancers’ websites to get some inspiration for your own website.
Starting a freelancing business requires you to know quite a bit. However, you must know these three things first:
- What you’re worth
- How to get your finances in order
- How to build a high-quality portfolio that potential clients will love
Start with these three tips, and plan to learn new things along the way; soon enough, you’ll have new clients in no time!