Adding freelancing work to one’s resume is becoming more and more common these days, but for some, becoming self-employed is a risk not worth taking in this economy. For those of you that do decide to use your skills and talents to start your own business, there are a few things you need to make sure you’re ready to do! Read on for some of the obstacles and tips I’ve learned along the way of becoming self-employed, and good luck to all of you!
1. Represent and market you and your business really well.
There’s nothing worse than a freelancer without a portfolio or online proof of his/her abilities and experience. If you decide to start your own business, make sure that you have a clean and informative website or portfolio and social media profiles that mention your brand/business. Consistency is key because you want people to search for your name or business and find results that all represent your new career goals and mission. Update the wording on every online bio you have to include hashtags and keywords for your industry and the word freelance or freelancer (for instance) so that people can automatically know you’re in the market for new business and work!
2. Understand your finances.
Going freelance does not mean that you’ll be seeing dollar signs every day. By managing your finances and learning how to budget, you’ll be able to further your career and not be as stressed by everyday expenses. Use apps like Mint.com to organize your spending habits before and after you become a freelancer. That way, you can learn how to cut back on items you don’t need (a.k.a. dresses and shoes for me!) and save money on things you do need (a.k.a. new business cards and website hosting!), especially for your new business. (Sidenote: check out Mint.com’s blog as well for great money saving tips, such as the article “Money Management Tips for Freelancers and People With Irregular Income.”)
3. Learn, learn, learn!
Working for yourself means that you can’t rely on co-workers or bosses to train you or help you out with deadlines and work. By teaching yourself the ropes around your industry inside and out, you’re only helping yourself to become a stronger asset for your brand and your clients. In your free time (and trust me, you’ll have a lot if you become a freelancer!), read up on books, blogs, and articles about new findings about your trade or business so that your clients don’t question or doubt your abilities. I find myself reading a lot on Fast Company, Independent Fashion Bloggers, and Mashable so that I can keep on track with everything about entrepreneurship, blogging and social media. It’s embarrassing and definitely not helpful if a client asks you about a new trend in your industry and you have no idea what they’re talking about! Stay ahead of the competition and learn how to become your own boss by training yourself diligently and proactively so that you can eventually turn freelancing into a full-time paying gig.
Hope you all enjoyed my three tips before you go freelance, and definitely check out my blog post on my own site called “My Top 4 (Free) Apps For The Freelancer” to help you out with starting and maintaing your freelance business for free! If there are any tips out there you think freelancers should know, please post them in the comment section below as well or tweet me at @RingTheAlam and let me know!
Photo Credits: mashable.com, CreativeNerds.co.uk, and ringthealam.com