In our ever-evolving world, there are more ways than ever to earn a living. Rather than putting in decades at a company and retiring with a pension, more people today are instead embracing the freelance life.
As a freelancer, you get to take your talents and find clients, so that you can set your own schedule and work on your own terms. You're essentially your own boss, and there are no limits on how much you can earn, nor mandates on how you do it.
While there are so many benefits to the freelance life, you have to follow the right steps when making the transition. We're happy to help you out.
Here's what you should do when you're thinking about becoming a freelancer.
The first thing you need to do is recognize what you're signing up for when becoming a freelancer. While there's freedom in being your own boss, you should also recognize that you are taking on all of the risk.
There are no more guaranteed paychecks, and you only get paid based on your ability to create and perform. You need to develop a comfort zone for being uncomfortable and should develop a healthy tolerance for risk.
Expect to work harder for yourself than you ever did for someone else when becoming a freelancer.
Next, you'll need to think about what talent you offer, so you can figure out what the job requires.
For instance, learning how to become a freelance copywriter means having a portfolio of samples, and branding your website in a way that fits the style and tone of your work. If you are trying to figure out how to become a graphic designer, you'll need to show your proficiency in editing software and different styles of color correction.
Just as importantly, explore what makes you unique, so you can build your business from this source. Chances are, there are countless professionals that offer the same service that you do. When you emphasize your strong suit and reason for doing what you do, you'll be able to convince customers to do business with you, rather than other options.
One way to help yourself is by holding onto your day job as long as you can. This way, you can start picking up clients and figuring out your new business while still having a safety net.
Keeping consistent income lets you make your mistakes early. This way, once you're ready to turn your side gig into your full-time job, you'll be less green and will have a better idea of your workflow.
It also pays to keep your day job, because you may already have a health insurance plan. Once you start freelancing full-time, you're a 1099 contractor, and won't have access to the benefits you enjoy. This means handling all your own human resources (HR) needs, and no paid time off or sick leave.
Use this time to stock up your savings account so that you also have some backup money to bail you out of setbacks and shortfalls.
Marketing will be the thing that gets you new clients. Once you know what you do best, a strong marketing game plan will build your web presence and help you increase sales conversions.
Start by purchasing a well-developed website. This site should be graphically pleasing, yet straightforward. Visitors should be able to easily find out who you are, what you do, and how they can get in touch with you.
Start a blog and publish it routinely so that you can build your search engine optimization (SEO) and overall brand identity. Put together a content creation calendar, and start getting active on all major social media platforms.
When you are regularly starting conversations with the public, you'll be able to spread the word about your company, so you can generate some serious revenue.
Finally, don't underestimate the importance of setting up the best possible work situation. You'll need a comfortable office or whatever work environment you feel most productive and effective.
Choose a place that gets plenty of sunlight and puts you in the mood to work. Make sure that you have the right computer equipment, an ergonomic office chair, a comfortable desk, and storage and organization systems that work for you.
Schedule your days so that you maximize your time and develop a healthy balance between work and personal life. Get lots of exercise and plenty of rest so that you can make it through the most stressful work weeks.
Studies show that people who walk regularly have more energy and productivity in their lives. Drink lots of water so that you stay hydrated and promote healthy brain activity.
Make honest assessments about the things that hurt your productivity so that you maximize the time you spend each day. Do your best to cut out distractions, and figure out a calendar system that keeps you on track and up to date.
Becoming a freelancer can be a rewarding career change that benefits you in so many ways. You are ready for business when you build a solid foundation and learn the ropes. The tips above will get you started.
In the meantime, keep leaning on us when you want to learn more about the freelance life and how to make the most of it. Check out more of our posts to learn the freelancing tips that can take you to the next level.