The pandemic has many thinking about how to start freelancing. COVID has forced thousands of businesses to close and yet there is a considerable rise in the number of entrepreneurs looking to start a new business.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau there has been an increase of 38% over last year in number of new business applications. If you are looking to start your own business but not sure where to begin? Freelancing is the easiest way to start your own service business and do the things you are good at and love to do. In this article you will learn how to start freelancing. As a freelancer you can set your own schedule and work the hours that best suit you…it is a dream job. But don’t expect to work less! You will be working harder than ever. Think about what you are good at, what your skills are and what you are passionate about doing. Your skills will be your product. Like every other regular business you need to have all the necessary components to sell your product and be successful. Here are 6 key factors on how to start freelancing:
Define your value proposition
Make a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the skills you are about to offer to the market. Based on the market, the demand for your skills, the number of competitors and the SWOT analysis you have to come up with a distinctive offer to your clients. This is called “value proposition”. What makes you different? Is it the unique skill? The pricing? Your business model? Or maybe the distribution system that you are planning to use. In any case, before you decide to launch yourself as a freelancer, it is important to understand all these factors that will increase your chances of success.
Target your market
Clearly understand who your market is. You need to understand the type , size and location of your target company or market. You must have a clear understanding of who you have to approach and who will have potentially higher rates of conversion to become a customer. As you are freelancing you will have to split your time between performing jobs and looking for new prospects. Finding the appropriate balance is a challenge. But once you know who most likely requires your services you can be efficient in targeting your marketing effort and spend more time in execution. Read more: 7 Outreach Tips to Grow Your Freelance Business.
Select your distribution system
Traditionally freelancers would have to do a lot of networking to develop the market and generate potential leads. Attending association meetings, industry events or professional seminars was an effective way to become known. Today, online marketing has dramatically changed the rules of the game. Now you have to establish your online profile in the different venues available for you. You need to have a professional online presence. Building your own web site is a great idea. However, other new distribution systems are at your fingertips. Online talent marketplaces make it easier for any freelancer to advertise their services with almost no geographical limitation. Some of them are industry specific, others skill specific, some differentiate themselves by their business model. But most of them have a minimum entry fee and take a percentage of your earnings. At Workhoppers there is no entry fee and no commissions paid. Workhoppers connects professionals directly with local vetted companies looking to hire on a flexible basis.
Create your marketing campaign
As traditional tangible products, freelancing services need to be marketed in order for the potential client to find you. Today marketing campaigns are more and more an online effort. If you have a website, it has to be professional and clearly state your value proposition. It is important for freelancers to establish themselves as experts in their domain. This will require a lot of writing and sharing information. The more value you give for free the more you will be recognized. Write about your expertise and post it on relevant blogs, linkedin professional groups, on the online marketplaces and the different social media platforms. Make sure that your website and your content is SEO oriented. Google keyword planner will help you with that. Today it is not so much about finding clients but much more about clients finding you.
Get yourself the right administrative tools
Once you have turned your freelancing activity into a business make sure that you have the appropriate tools to run smoothly. You will need a basic Accounting system (you might want to try out Freshbooks) and an email software that will allow you to build your subscribers’ base and send newsletters regularly. You might want to check out Constantcontact, Mailchimp, Aweber or any other opt-in email marketing tool. You can also use sites like Shopify to create and run your eCommerce web site-you can even try them for free.
Starting your freelancing business requires a minimum budget. You will need money to create your website that will clearly state your skills/services and will have testimonials as well as your portfolio. You are going to need to pay for some of the tools presented above and you will require some minimum marketing material starting with business cards and maybe some printed marketing brochures. You will require some working capital to sustain you until you are entirely profitable. As many start ups have limited funding you need to find ways to market yourself cost effectively. Visit www.workhoppers.com where you can create an online profile at no cost and be able to market your skills easily and be found by local vetted companies.