Freelancing is not an easy job even though you may read about some who have been very successful. this comes with a lot of hard work and perseverance. It also depends on how well you prepared before embarking on a freelance life.
There are a lot of things to learn about freelancing (and we have covered many), but this post is about preparation first and how to get ready.
- A Bank Account. This one is very important. Have money in the bank to pay your bills while freelancing. You don’t want to start freelancing thinking “I will get a check quickly” attitude, because that doesn’t happen. Even seasoned freelancers have to wait for their money. Sometimes longer then expected, but it is the way some businesses run.
- Advertising Materials. Yes even freelancers need to advertise and promote their business. It can be done with business cards, resume or flyers. But these must be professionally produced and not done on your home printer. Get a good design software (we use Photoshop 6), but there are lot of free design software available on line. And as always…make your design as professional as you would for a client…no skimping just to get it done.
- Connecting. Go through your contacts list to see who can help get you going in the right direction. no good contacts? Then go to LinkedIn or Twitter to find contacts there and remember…it takes to to cultivate helpful contacts. It doesn’t happen overnight. Social networks can help move your freelance career forward with new connections.
- Megaphone. Yes…that is a device that enhances your voice and send it further then normal. By letting everyone you know about your decision to freelance they can contact their friends and business partners to see how you can get some freelance work. Don’t push and be respectful of their effort and time. Stay in touch with them and give them a gentle reminder in a few weeks to see if they made any progress.
- Your Costs. This is critical and can make or break a business. Learn from other freelancers or on-line forums what is being charged for what type of freelance work. You want to keep your pricing reasonable and not too high, so you won’t projects. Also; keep track of your time and expenses with each project separately. Once you end a project, be sure to get the invoice out right away since it will take time to get paid. An important Point: Never work for free. It is plain and simple. Working for free gives you that type of reputation. See this post.
- Legalities. These are pain in the butt things that you should know unless you can afford a lawyer. Contracts are another important part of the freelance business and you need to always use them with every project no matter who the client is (family, friend or stranger). Contracts can save your butt because, all the pertinent information is in black and white.
- Accounting. This can be daunting even for the most seasoned freelancers, but it is necessary for any businesses success. Accounting can be done with hired accountant, program or simple accounting ledger, but you need to know how to set-it up. We are not able to give you help in that area, so do some research on-line, but be sure the information you are using is up-to-date.
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The Creative Tablet Staff