How To Get Your Full-Time Freelance Business Started
I’ve been asked for suggestions on this topic a number of times, so I decided to share my thoughts for those who find themselves standing on the proverbial precipice, contemplating taking the leap into full-time freelancing. I found myself in that place a few years ago, and so far the leap I took from part-time to full-time freelance web and graphic design has proven very successful. Of course, I have had my share of bumps along the way, with the bruises to show for it, and there are still many things I will learn, but it is my hope that you will benefit in your own endeavors as I share my insights.
There are countless books, blogs and resources that will give you step-by-step instructions and advice for getting your freelance business started. Here is a quick list of some of my own favorite tips:
- Make sure you have either a client base or a financial foundation (or both) that will support your change in income for as long as you anticipate you will need before business begins growing.
- Make all of your current and past clients aware of your new venture into full-time and request their testimonials and recommendations.
- Establish your brand identity online as much as possible, including website with a blog, Facebook business page, Google+ business page, LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, Google Places, Foursquare, and as many other social media platforms as you can manage.
- Plan on blogging regularly (at least once a week, if possible) about topics relevant to your business, colleagues, competitors and clients to improve your website’s SEO (ability to be found in search engines.)
- Prepare a solid price list for the services you provide, so you can draw from it as needed and remain consistent.
- Figure out the amount of work you must do each day, week and month in order to bring in the income you require, and then prepare and maintain a project management calendar of scheduled work for clients, time for business development, time for accounting, and all other aspects of your new business.
The Most Important Tip For Starting Your Full-Time Freelance Business
All of the tips above are important and should not be taken lightly, but if there was only one thing you should know about moving from part-time into full-time freelancing, this would be it:
just do it.
No, I don’t work for Nike. I am simply saying that you can try your best to get all your ducks in a row, save all kinds of money just in case, make plans for all kinds of possible scenarios, and be as prepared as humanly possible, but in the end you really just have to take the leap.
When my wife and I first started thinking about having children, we were told by so many people how it would change our lives in so many ways. We were told to do the usual things to get prepared for this dramatic life change, and we did. We read all the books, bought everything for the nursery, baby-proofed the house, and so on. But when our first daughter arrived we felt completely unprepared. Now, years later, that baby girl is in another state on the other side of the country, working and going to college, and her sister and brother are not far behind. And we are still figuring this parenting thing out.
We’ve often said that if potential parents waited to have children until they were completely prepared, the human race would be extinct. The same holds true for full-time freelancers. Your business should be your baby – your dream job – and you will come to a point where you will realize that nothing or no one could have prepared you for what it will take to birth and grow it into something you are proud to call your own.
Sure, get your foundations laid and your plans made. Don’t be foolish and leap without considering the ramifications of your action. Wisdom dictates nothing less.
Then just do it.
You will likely find that the leap doesn’t end. It is a free fall that finds no solid ground, nowhere to rest your feet. It is also a rollercoaster ride that will probably have extreme ups and severe drops. You will never be fully prepared for this, so don’t wait until you think you are.
Just do it.
And just like the overwhelming joy that a parent feels when their child of any age finds happiness, you too will hopefully come to a point where you can say that everything you went through was worth it.