Taking the leap to start freelancing, whether on the side or full time, is a scary business. But don’t worry, with the right set of tools you will be on your way to sweet self employed success. By taking some time and money to set yourself up with everything you need, you can focus on the work you rock at, instead of becoming flustered whenever something goes awry.
In this digital age, business cards may seem unnecessary. But when you are out networking and it comes time to make a connection, you may feel uncomfortable asking someone to put your info in their phone. Handing them a business card is a less invasive way of giving them your contact info. Not to mention, as a freelancer they make you look more professional.
You already know how important it is to represent your brand on social media, so make sure you have an account on all relevant social media platforms. Nothing is more embarrassing for a brand than when you look them up on Google and they are not on the social media accounts they clearly should be. For example a food truck should be on Facebook to share event invites, Twitter to tweet where they will be that day and Instagram to post photos of their delicious looking food.
Obviously the ability to work from bed is a huge appeal to working as a freelancer. But realistically you aren’t going to do your best work by sitting in your bed all day. It’s important that you carve out a small space in your home for a workspace. An organized desk would probably be best, but if you don’t have room for a desk make sure to have a cleared off space like a kitchen table that you can easily move your laptop and other work supplies to. You will need a comfortable chair, good lighting and a way to keep papers and other supplies easily accessible.
A professional website with a .com domain is a super important part of being taken seriously as a freelancer. If you won’t invest less than $100 to purchase a polished website design and a domain, then why would anyone else invest in you? And of course have a clear contact page so clients can start reaching out to you!
As a freelancer you are going to have plenty of questions, but no manager or boss to turn to. From cold call etiquette to late payments, you will have some tricky situations that you need guidance on. This is where a mentor comes in. Find someone you can trust, who has been in your shoes before, to consult when you need advice. And make sure to soak up their wisdom in general! They are successful for a reason, pick their brain whenever you get the chance.
Find your way into, or build, some sort of community or network of other freelancers. You will have connections to trade tricks of the trade with, commiserate with, be able to potentially act as referrals for each other and tip each other off to good opportunities.
This isn’t going to be fun, but you need to have some sort of accounting system in place. For a smaller operation this could simply be a spreadsheet and some very organized receipts and invoices. For freelancers who have more expenses and make larger sums, consider an accountant. Whatever works for you as long as you stay on top of your finances. The last thing you want is to be digging through piles of papers and old emails come tax time!
Hey freelancers! What has been the most valuable tool in your toolkit?