If you work in an industry that allows you to work as a freelancer, you might have thought about making the leap at one point or another. It can sound exciting. Not only do you get to do the same job that you’ve always loved, but you can do it as your own boss. You control the clients you work with, the work you take on, and, best of all, the price that you’re paid for it.
As great as the freelancer world is, it can also be tough. There’s a lot of pressure in being your own boss – especially financially. You’re not going to have a regular paycheck, and you also need to multitask as much as you can. But, as long as that doesn’t scare you, it can be an incredible decision to make. So, if you’re considering leaving your job to go freelance, you’re going to want to make sure you prepare and plan for it first.
Know Your Niche
Before you even think about quitting your job, you’re going to want to make sure that you know your niche. And that doesn’t mean that you’ve worked in it for five minutes and think you have the hang of it, but really know it.
You have to be able to live and breathe the industry you work (or want to work) in and know your job down to every last detail. If you don’t, you could struggle. At work, when you need to learn something new, or you’re asked to do something you know nothing about, you have colleagues around to support you. When you’re a freelancer, it’s just you, so you really do have to know your stuff.
If you’re confident you’re incredible at your job and you could do it completely on your own, we’re getting somewhere. But, still not far enough to hand your notice in tomorrow. Next, you need to have contacts. If you’re confident and know your expertise well enough, you will also know the right people. Whether they are industry specialists, potentials clients or even people that can guide you, they’re vital to making the move to freelance. Without contacts, you’ll have to scrape a customer list together, and that could take a whole lot of time and work.
Have A Social Media Presence
In today’s world, if you don’t exist online, then you don’t seem to exist at all. It is definitely the case for freelancers. If you don’t have a presence online, it could kill your chances for success. If you’ve been in the industry long enough and have worked with a lot of people, you could make it happen. However, that’s an exceptional case. By being online, you can make the right connections to get yourself work and put yourself out there. Whether you need a blog, gain more Instagram likes, hold a Facebook competition, or post updates to LinkedIn, work out what works for you and have a plan of action in mind.
Build A Blog
Sometimes, being on social media isn’t enough. You might need to have a solid online presence that represents your entire brand. To do that, it’s likely that you’ll need a website, portfolio, or a blog, or even all three! If you create a website that has details on you as a professional freelancer and a portfolio showing your work, clients can come to you. Or, if you’re networking, they can at least find out more about you and see if you fit with what they’re trying to achieve. It’s the same with a blog. You can create a voice and even show off some of your work – and have more content to share on social media.
When your website or blog is up and running, you might want to think about guest blogging. If you believe that people will type ‘freelance [enter your job role here]’ into Google and instantly find you, you’d be wrong. You could be one of millions and millions of freelancers trying to do the same thing, so you might want to work on your SEO. One way to do that is to get people to link back to your website. Now, that might sound a little confusing, but you can do it by guest posting on other blogs and websites. Simply find sites that suit your industry and position and get in touch.
Have A Business Mind
As a freelancer, you have to be on the ball. You have to have your mind on the money, or another driving force. Without it you might struggle to succeed, so it’s time to get yourself a brain for business, if you haven’t got one already. You have to run everything to do with your freelance business – because, yes, it is a business. You are the sales, the finance, and the marketing teams all in one, along with operations too (because you are still creating the work too)! So, you may need to read up on business finance or promoting yourself. If you do, start now and get ahead.
Have A Routine
Being your own boss is an incredible form of freedom. You decide what work you do and when. But, it can sometimes cause trouble. You may choose to drop the idea of wearing makeup to work and stay in your pajamas all day. That might sound incredible to you, but it could also be counterproductive. You want to be able to be in the business mind and ready to work, and a routine can help with that. Have an office space and a system that works for you and you’ll be able to stay productive. You might be the boss, but you still have to get things done.
Have A Safety Net
And finally, is the logistics of becoming a freelancer still appeal to you and you’re pretty sure you’re ready, you going to want to make sure you have one last thing. Money! Going freelance can be tough on your finances, especially if you just make the leap. So, you need to make sure you have a safety net to fall back on or at least some finance to get you started. If you’re broke, it’s probably not the best time for you to go freelance. Instead, work on your plans, get some savings behind you and then think about going solo.