Fact—freelancing is no joke. This is why you must know how to run a freelance business effectively. If you are new to the market, do not jump into the gig business blindly. Plus, with the huge competition, you will be facing, you need every tip and trick you can get. If you have already started your freelancing journey, it’s still good to know the best practices to ensure your business will run smoothly.
The Gig Economy
Yes, the economy has dramatically transformed. The gig economy has grown incredibly; freelance jobs, remote work, and independent contractor services have become ideal to many. The global workforce preference has shifted to short-term, temporary employment status because of its many benefits and advantages. Sure, being your own boss and having total control over your time is one of this setup’s major perks. But in reality, with the support freelancers are getting from the rapid development of technology and the acceptance of clients or businesses to these types of working arrangements, earning has become easier.
And so like them, you have decided to start a freelance business.
How to Run a Freelance Business
Here are the best practices to guide you to make sure you can run your business effectively:
1. Come Prepared
In order for you to have a smooth and efficient running freelance business, of course, you need to be as prepared as you can get.
Set your goal.
Why did you decide to start a freelance business? Are you going full-time, or will this be a side job? Will this business become your sole income-generating job, or are you just looking for additional earnings for a specific purpose?
Setting your main goal for starting your business is important because it anchors you to your motivation to succeed. You do not go out of the house without reason, right? You always have a purpose for going out, like where you are going, what you will do there, and why. It’s exactly the same as starting your freelance business. So why are you doing this? Where do you want this to go? How are you going to get there?
The answers to these questions will set your goal. Your goal is your map. It will be easy to stay on track when you know where you want to go.
Know the industry.
Know your industry. Check out the market and see the demand. How much are the others charging for the same service or product? Decide too, whether you will focus on a specific niche or if you will be doing general projects. For example, if you are a graphic artist, will you stick to doing animations, or will you be willing to accept other types of projects? Which could be more sustainable for you? You must also know your industry’s current trends, like the latest software or design style. You do not want to be left behind by others.
This goes without saying. You need to know how much funding you will need to keep your business afloat. Expect that in the beginning, you might have some difficulties landing clients, so you need to have enough budget to sustain your business while focusing on marketing efforts.
Explore the market.
It is not enough that you know who your potential clients could be. Exploring the current market will expand your pool of potential customers. There may be people looking for your service outside the usual market. For instance, if you are a photographer, you may not realize that a local veterinarian is looking to have pictures of their animal patients taken. Look around you; there are potential clients just about everywhere.
2. Equip Yourself
By all means, have the necessary support and systems you can get. Remember, as a freelancer, you do not have a team to whom you can delegate specific tasks. So equip yourself with the right skills, tools, and practices on how to run a freelance business.
Keep on learning.
Because of the huge competition in the gig industry, it is important that you always have an advantage over others. Get certification for a short course or learn a new skill. Why not enroll in a short business course? Even taking yoga classes can be helpful. If you start your day with a healthy and positive mindset, you can easily manage your business.
Tools & References.
Yes, as a freelancer, you get to control your own time and pacing. The danger here is that you can mix up your personal time with your work schedule. This is why you need tools and references to help you run your business. Join groups, clubs, and organizations belonging to your same industry. Aside from getting support and business insights, you may also find yourself getting referrals for clients.
You can use scheduling software and apps so you can manage your time better, as well as avoid missing meetings or presentations. Be familiar with easy-to-use designer tools to help you with your simple creative needs like posters, calling cards, or social media posts.
If you want your freelance business to run like a well-oiled machine, here’s the secret. Invest in a complete project management software. If you use a software like Kosmo, you can track and manage your projects efficiently. Start by setting up a project folder and completing your client directory. You can then create proposals and contracts and generate invoices using their template or customizing your own. With the time tracking feature, you can indicate the time you spent per task on the project and note if it has been invoiced and paid. In addition, it has a project income overview where you can keep track of received, outstanding, and overdue payments and even set your monthly income goal.
So you see, a project management software works like your very own project team. With the ability to track and manage your tasks, documents, and payments, running your business will be as simple as 1-2-3!
Set up your workstation.
Whether you are doing business from your house, or a rented studio, a clean and well-organized space will help you work more efficiently. You get things done faster when you feel safe and inspired in your work area.
Make sure your equipment, software, and other systems are in place. Keep in mind that when deciding on the equipment and software you will purchase, be practical. The most expensive ones in the market may not be the most suitable for you. Just the same, do not purchase the most complicated software just because everyone else is using it. Whatever works best for you, in the most time-efficient way, is what you should get.
3. Sell wisely.
Now it is time put your product or service on the market. You have to do this strategically. Do not post on each and every job board you can find. Just think, if you put an ad on every job marketplace online, you will have to spend so much time monitoring and updating them. Choose only the ones that offer more active buyers or client lists. Do not forget to check these job boards’ terms and conditions because some have charges you may not approve of.
Have a fantastic website. If you are not a website developer yourself, there are tons of website builders online. Do not use the first website maker from your search results, though. Explore different website builders and learn their features and strong points. Aside from their varying templates and styles, some may be more complicated to use than others. If you are willing to pay, compare services and offers carefully.
Social media works. This needs little explaining, for social media is basically everywhere and everything. Everything you want to know is on social media. So if you want to build an online presence, have a professional social media page. Just a reminder, do not use your personal account. You do not want your potential clients reading your mother’s comments on your latest profile picture.
Have a good pricing strategy. Know the difference between a project fee vs hourly rate and decide which one is best for you and your business. You can also use a pricing scheme like offering packages and retainer-based agreements.
Shifting from traditional employment to freelance will not be easy. There are a lot of preparations and decisions to be made. But freelancing is definitely rewarding. The freedom from routine and corporate policies, having control over your time, and doing something you really love is totally worth it. Especially now that you know how to run a freelance business effectively.
Get Organized & Win More Clients
Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.