Making the jump to freelancing can be scary and intimidating if you’ve never done it before. There are tons of things to keep track of and maintain in order to be successful — not to mention starting up your own business takes a fair amount of work on your end in the beginning for it to eventually pay off! The outcome, however, can be worth it, and many freelancers never look back. You get to set your own hours, you’re doing what you love, and you’re making meaningful connections you might not get in big corporate business. There are a few things you must know how to do before you jump right into freelancing so that you can master the basics and focus on the nuances of starting your business.
1. Staying organized is key
There are so many different apps and planners you can use to organize everything you need to be a successful freelancer. You’ll need to keep track of emails, income, appointments, meetings, taxes, and more. A planner with monthly and weekly calendars is a great way to see your entire month at once with important dates while also keeping track of smaller tasks on a weekly basis. You want to be ready ahead of time to keep track of all of this information so that you’re not suddenly overwhelmed with every task under the sun. Remember — getting behind is now completely a reflection on you and your business skills.
2. Learn how to generate an invoice
Payment is definitely an essential part of freelancing. An invoice is an important necessity for freelancers because it’s how you’ll request payment from your clients. It usually includes information such as the business name, address, invoice number, important tax details, and the payment details that were agreed upon. This allows your client to properly pay you, while you can easily keep track of your payments. It’s important that every invoice has its own unique number as well as the date it was issued and the date of payment. This will help with your organization in the long run. There are many invoice templates available to you for free, but as long as the important information is included and sent in the invoice, you should be good to go!
3. Know how much you and your work are worth
You are your only advocate when running your business and therefore you are going to be the one determining how much someone should be paying for your product or service. Do not sell yourself short and end up getting paid less than your work warrants. Look into the field you’re entering and determine how much you should be charging in order to be competitive while also giving a good deal for your work.
4. Get a feel for the potential market and clients
Before you jump right into freelancing, you have to make sure that there’s a market for whatever you’re doing. If you have a day job that you are leaving to freelance, wait a few weeks as you ease into it. You need to feel out the market and establish yourself a little bit before you dive headfirst into freelancing. Hold onto that steady income for a few months as you build a portfolio and a potential clientele. It will make the transition easier and put less stress on you to gain a steady income immediately.
If you start off your freelancing with these steps, you’re sure to find success! Doing all of this will make you more prepared and organized before you even start freelancing. It will also give you a better idea of whether or not freelancing is for you — which is always better to find out before you are deep in it. Once you’ve implemented all of these basic tips and feel ready to begin your freelancing journey, you will surprise yourself with how prepared you are!