Many of us started our freelance career by taking on odd jobs here and there while having a day job at the same time. Others may not have a day job but take on freelance writing work sporadically.
For some freelance writers, however, there comes a point when freelancing becomes a full-time business and not just some activity on the side. At this point, the story goes in a different direction. Suddenly, you have more responsibilities, potentially acting as CEO, CTO, CFO, and every other “C” you can think about.
You’re responsible for taxes. You’re responsible for ensuring the business doesn’t go under and that you don’t have to hire a bankcuptcy lawyer to help bail you out of a financial mess. You have to put processes in place – and all the things that come with running a business.
This may all sound overwhelming, and indeed it can be. You can always hire outside help – accountants, assistants, etc. – but if you can limit this, your bottom line will increase. How do you increase the chances of your freelance business succeeding? Read on for the recipe to the secret sauce.
“Secret” Freelance Business Tips
It’s “secret” with quotation marks because these freelance business tips may not be so secret. It’s just that some freelancers may not have thought of them, especially if they have not run their own business in the past.
Think as an entrepreneur
What is an entrepreneur? Short answer: someone who runs a business, taking all responsibilities for its success – from finances to hiring employees.
As a freelancer, you may have approached your work in a more laidback manner.
I’ll take on clients today. Wait for another one. Write.
As an entrepreneur, you need to go one step further. Treat your work as a business and let your clients know that.
Start with a contract. There are some exceptions, of course, but generally, having a written agreement is necessary for a successful freelance business. Make sure you cover all your bases and that you and your client are clear on the details. Pro tip: Include a clause which states that you will charge X percent for late payments.
Use professional tools. For example, when it’s time to charge the client, don’t merely send a casual email asking to be paid. Use billing programs that make it easy for you and the client to track the work done and the fees involved. It is also advisable to use a dedicated phone line when you can afford it. This avoids your child answering the phone if a client calls – a sign that your business is not so professional after all.
Hustle like a sales rep
Go through job boards every day. Look for opportunities as much as you can.
When there seems to be a lack of job ads, create opportunities for yourself. Do your research and pitch to companies. Go around your neighborhood and look out for potential clients. Do what you have to do to get clients.
Share your work. Ask fellow freelancers to share your work (and return the favor). Engage with influencers and when you’ve established a connection, don’t hesitate to approach them and ask if they are willing to share your work.
Hustle. The worst thing that can happen is that you get a no.
Create more than client work
Getting and retaining clients is great. But don’t stop there. You want your business to grow and one way to do that is to create something more than client work which will get the word out about your freelance business.
Take the time to go beyond the usual day-to-day writing tasks.
One example is to run surveys and turn the results into a case study. You can then publish this case study – making sure your brand is visible – and share it for free. This is an excellent way to build your authority and gain brand awareness for your business.
Back to you
Are you thinking of establishing a freelance business? Do you already have a registered company? These freelance business tips will help you grow and reach your goals.
If you have your own freelance business tips you want to share, we’d love to hear them!