Going freelance is an exciting endeavor. You are about to be freed from the shackles of employment, and make a name for yourself, on your own.
But, that freedom comes with a high price: the loss of security. It’s what stops many people from breaking out on their own – and makes many others return to the workplace with their tails between their legs.
Make the transition
If you can avoid it, try not to dive headfirst into the world of freelancing, whatever industry you are in. It might be tempting if you are having a bad time as an employee, but the grass isn’t always greener. And, there is a lot of preparation to get through before you can afford to make the leap.
Put everything in place while you still have a regular income, and reach out to potential customers. Build your website, and create a business plan. Go through your finances with a fine tooth comb and work out if you can afford it. And, finally, draw up a schedule and a ‘launch day’ when you finally make the switch.
Keep track of your finances
This point is a simple one, but many freelancers don’t give it a second thought. Your finances – for now and the future – are completely up to you. That means getting your books in order, paying your taxes, and building up a surplus for quiet periods of the year.
You will also lose all your benefits from your job, so make sure you replace them. Pensions and annuities are a great example. Click here for a quick guide to some of the benefits of annuities, and make sure you have a private pension plan in place. It’s all down to you to ensure your future, both in the short and long-term.
Find some customers
I’ve already mentioned finding potential customers before leaving your current job. At that stage, it’s important, but as soon as you leave, it becomes critical. No customers; no money – and no business.
When you are just starting out, it can be hard to find clients, so try and use who you know first of all. Friends, ex-colleagues – even family members might hire you to do a job. Offer low rates at first, just to get you started. It will give you the chance to prove your worth, and you can also get some testimonials and case studies to put on your website.
Develop a brand
You will need a strong brand right from the outset if you are going to attract and retain customers. Design a logo, come up with a great name for your business, and work out what your core services are. It’s also best to establish a niche in your industry. Is there something you can do that no one else can? If so, make sure there is a market for it and push that as part of your key message.
It’s worth investing some money in your branding, even at this early stage. A professional designer and a marketing team will be able to help you stand out from the crowd and talk to the right people.
Well, I hope this has helped outline some of the basics of going freelance. It’s tricky to time things just right, but if you plan well, you have every chance of success.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.