- 10th November, 2017
How to make it as a freelancer
33 blog posts
Before you become a freelancer, I first suggest talking to others that have done it. Ask other freelancers what it is really like. Then, if you think you have a skill that you can make into a career and go it alone, then this is a good start. You will get flexibility, variation, and the chance to choose your work.
However, no work is just going to come to you. The only way to make it as a freelancer, like those using our shared work space in Manchester, is to work harder than you ever believed possible. Are you sure you want to work for you?
Once you have scrutinised your reasons and decided it is right for you, it’s time to look at the positives. It might just give you a happier and more prosperous life, and the opportunity to join an inspiring coworking space like Workplace. What’s to lose?
Below we have outlined a few tips from our members with a dedicated desk in Manchester that helped to get them started:
Plan like a professional
Now you have decided freelancing is for you, get your successful self together, concentrate on the positives and before you quit your job, plan your first month.
During those all important 30 days — while you still have a pay packet — work out what you are able to charge for your work. Decide the minimum work you need to do to scrape a living.
Draft and finalise your business plan, including all the financials. Make sure you have factored in professional fees for setting up your business, insurance you might need and any legal requirements for your business. Keep your eyes open, know your limits and plan accordingly so that you don’t run out of money before you get going.
Learn any tricks of the trade during your planning phase, think about where you will best find your customers, ask for advice and in doing so grow your network.
Interrogate the competition
Take a look at who else out there is offering what you offer. Read blogs, testimonials, web sites. Look first at who is on your door step and who will be your direct competition and understand what they are doing and how they are doing it.
Plan how you can deliver work that is better than anything your competitors are doing by learning from the field. Use the Internet to help you to set up shop to be the best in the high street.
Get yourself a mentor
This might be an ex-boss, a friend-of-a-friend you trust, or an external mentor. Freelancing is very lonely and until you have built up a network.
In Manchester we have the Business Growth Hub which provides mentors to startups and helps launch businesses and keep them on track. For freelancers aged 11 – 30, The Princess Trust provides mentoring and training.
Contact everyone you know
This is a great means of free marketing and getting your message out there. Write an inspirational post on social media about what you are doing and share and pass this on as everywhere as you can.
Anyone that has been in your past contacts, no matter how vaguely, could be a lead so shout it from the rooftops. Do this as soon as possible to advertise your business.
Work on your personal brand
If you are not up with everything that social media has to offer, then you need to be. Don’t think you can be a freelancer and avoid social media; this is going to be your life line in many ways.
Complete your profile with every bit of work information you can, every molecule of experience, interesting snippet, get it on all platforms. Then, look at every web site that offers freelancers in your market work and register with them. Get to as many freelancer and industry meetups and networking events that you can.
Remember that old moto, ‘givers receive’. Everyone you meet in these situation is there for the same reason so if you can pass on a contact or lead that might help they are more likely to remember you.
Be friends with everyone
Don’t burn any bridges; you know the saying, ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’? Nothing can be truer than when you are building a business. If your freelance work is even slightly related to the work that you do now, there is a good chance that future work might come from that source.
This goes for your competitors; you want them to think well of you. Remember people move on, life changes so you really don’t need any enemies or anyone talking badly of you.
Where to base your business
Location is very important to capturing the right business for you. If you can’t yet afford a work space in Manchester, but that is where all your business will come from, then the first place to start is to set up a mailing address.
This can cost as little as £40, allowing you to use a city centre address as your business address. Moving up from that, venues like Workplace in Manchester will also allow flexible use of space, so you could work one day a month and line up all your meeting on that day. For a very low initial cost you have to kudos of a very posh office space.
If isolation gets to you, up your working days in a coworking space to full time, or even to a dedicated desk in Manchester. Not only does this give your business a base but it can also provide a network of inspiration, and potential paid work through the community.
Do good Work
This might be obvious but if you want to get referrals and more business you must produce the goods. This means making sure that you don’t overload yourself It also means keeping your ear to the ground and being agile.
Freelancing will be a life with lows and some huge highs, but it is a life worth living, so live it with everything you have. Read more about our work space in Manchester, to find out if Workplace is the right coworking space to start your business.
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