So you’ve decide to go it alone? Good for you. Freelance life is challenging but rewarding and there are several things you can do to increase your chances of succeeding. We’ve got five ideas that should help you start moving in the right direction:
Create the Right Workspace
You may need to barricade your door if you’re working from home and that can drive other people in the house crazy but you absolutely need the right workspace. That’s a place where it’s difficult for others to interrupt you every five minutes. It’s a place where you are physically and emotionally comfortable. It’s also a space where everything you need to do work is at hand. Sure, you can drag your laptop to a coffee shop every now and again but having a reliable, always available work space is vital to succeeding as a freelancer.
Learn to Write Contracts
You don’t need a solicitor to write a contract (you can find examples online easily enough to model your contracts on) but you do need a contract. This is the most vital tool to protect you and give you a degree of certainty over getting paid. Learn to lay out project milestones, payment conditions, kill fees, client expectations, support for the contract, copyright agreements, etc. before a project begins and you will have much more control over the direction of your work.
Get Branding and Marketing in Place Early
With no website or portfolio you are going to struggle to win over a single client; no matter how talented you are. You can even develop this material in your spare time before you jump ship from employment. Find out what clients expect to see in your field and make sure you have it to show them. A company without a website, in today’s day and age, lacks credibility – a design company without one is really going to struggle.
Develop Relationships and Don’t Shoot for One-Off Engagements
Spend time with new clients developing relationships – the better the relationship, the more work you’ll win. Don’t treat freelancing as competing endlessly for one-off gigs, that’s a draining way to run a business. And never forget to ask satisfied customers if there’s anyone they can refer you to for other potential work. It’s much easier to deal with warm leads than cold leads.
Don’t Forget Why You Freelance
Money is important but so is job satisfaction. It can be very easy for freelance work to turn into an endless series of unengaging assignments done just for the money. It’s much better to work with clients where you’re doing what you love or developing new skills. One of the best things about freelancing is we have control over our work as long as we remember to exert that control and stick to the reasons that we became freelancers in the first place.
Beyond (link to image)
Sage Einarsen, Tronvig Group (link to image)
Eric Audras (link to image)
Design Modo (link to image)
Designers Up North (link to image)