Being you own boss is the dream of many people, especially young adults hit hard by the current economic climate. With over one-third of US workforce acting as freelancers, the numbers are expected to grow 50% by 2020. However, the challenging part is that not every people will have the correct mindset and skills needed to make it in freelancing.
You probably agree that starting a freelance business requires a great deal of research, preparation, and dedication. Below are 3 things to keep in mind to help you find success in your first endeavor. A basic guide about making money online will be discussed then.
#1 Continuous Education Is Key
Any business needs to be able to offer a valuable product or service to remain viable. A key component is knowing what exactly the market wants and how to go about offering it.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to be a web developer or graphic designer, education trumps natural talent. You also need to deliver results and show consistency in your work.
As your business grows, it involves a great deal more than just creating the products or services and counting up the moolah. You have to be knowledgeable about tax laws, online advertising, website management, client relations, employee management, etc.
With the technology available today, it is easy for anyone to pick up a new skill online.
#2 There Is No Such Thing As A Guaranteed Client
You will be fighting for every single client, every day, until you build up a sizable portfolio. Starting out, it is not advisable to stick with one client and hope to make a living. This isn’t how it works, especially considering the exceptionally competitive nature of the market.
Starting out, it is important to simultaneously market yourself through your site and other freelance sites. Once you got your first few clients, remember that you cannot keep all of your eggs in one basket. It is better to have a dozen small clients a week, lose one, than two major clients, and lose one. You can recover from losing ten percent of your income one week, though recovering from a fifty percent drop is a great deal more problematic.
The most effective way to handle clients is to have three distinct levels. These levels are low, functioning, and optimal. You can determine the importance for each by the average pay per client. You certainly want to work closely with clients who value you the most.
#3 Keeping A Healthy Cashflow
Freelancing does not lend itself to a steady paycheck. Make sure you maintain a good cashflow to support you, optimally six months to a year. This is money to back you up.
Having several months in reserve will help to prevent you from going into debt whenever an emergency happens. Over time, slow periods will become opportunities for vacations, rather than times of stress. Just by having this cash stashed away will change your life.
Let’s Talk About Making Money
Now that the warnings have been dealt with, it is time to concentrate on actually making the moolah whicn you have been waiting for. There are several ways to secure clients, all of which you will be using at one point or another:
#1 Freelance Platforms
This is the first place many people go to when they are just starting out. Sites like oDesk, Elance, Guru, Fiverr, etc. usually offer a low barrier to entry. You are free to bid on jobs you know you can deliver. Payment will be released once you have completed the job.
The challenge with this is the abysmal rates. It is not uncommon to see there are plenty of freelancers earning less than $5 per hour or $50-$100 per project, making it exceptionally difficult to actually earn a living. Established freelancers typically avoid these platforms.
Nevertheless, it is good to start here, build up your portfolio and get your name out there.
#2 High Traffic Online Classifieds
This works great if you can write a good ad and back it up with a quality portfolio. Many freelancers spend five to ten hours per week working on advertising their services, though the time is well compensated with higher earnings.
Use many different sites, and do not be afraid to ask clients where they stumbled upon you at. Just be careful – classifieds attract a great deal of scammers and fools too. Only work with those who have a verified profile, and make sure to check out their business. This will save you a great deal of heartache later on.
#3 Branding & Paid Advertising
This is the most costly, and should be only taken on by freelancers with stable income coming from other streams. The general rule of thumb is to have two months’ worth of advertising budget set aside, and find out which method works out best for you.
At this stage you will need to have a website to brand yourself, showcase your portfolio, and what existing clients have to say about you. Remember, advertising is designed to increase revenues in excess of what you spend on it. If you are only breaking even, then you are working for free. You must consider this as an investment in business.
Before you make your first dollar, it is equally important to know where you should invest your money. Be prepared to handle the taxes as well as develop a solid plan to reach out to potential clients. You will not be making lots of money instantly, though it is possible to earn a reasonable income offering your expertise once you build a sizable client base.
Be willingly to progress from the lowest level to the highest, while working on improving your skills. It is through experience and continuous learning that you will succeed.