So youâ€™re thinking about leaving your job to work for yourself as a freelancer or consultant? I recently made the leap of faith myself, and have learned a lot about what it takes to start your own business.
A majority of the articles I read before leaving my job scared me half to death. But Iâ€™m here to tell you, itâ€™s really not that badâ€“as long as youâ€™re educated and prepared. Here are the steps I took that allowed me to hit the ground running as a freelancer.
Find an Accountant – An accountant will help you decide how to file your business. I spoke to several other freelancers and my accountant Will Dove went over my options with me (free of charge). Ultimately, I registered my business as an LLC online and it only took a few days to get approved.
Create a website and portfolio – Before I even decided on a design or platform, I first did some competitor analysis and thought through how I wanted to market my services and the content for my site. After I spent some time brainstorming, I started browsing WordPress templates with a design already in mind. I chose WordPress because I have experience with it, but there are other options like Squarespace or Wix.
Figure out your payment structure – You need to decide if you want to charge hourly or per project. This infographic was super helpful when figuring out what I wanted to charge for my services. Itâ€™s not just taking your current salary and working backwards, so make sure you do the research and incorporate expenses, taxes, administrative time, vacation, healthcare, etc.
Update your social networks – Youâ€™ll want to update your social pages to be in line with how you are marketing your services on your website. Make sure you update your bio, include keywords, and link to your website. When you make those updates on LinkedIn you have the option to alert your connections of this change.
Network – You never know who could be a prospective client. Ever since I announced my plans to work as a freelancer, people have connected me to people they know that can help me or could be a potential client. Meet with staffing agencies like the Creative Circle or Torchlight Hire who focus on connecting freelancers to organizations. Getting your name out there is so important.
Create a proposal – A proposal can make or break a potential job. Look at proposals from agencies and other freelancers to decide how you want to structure your proposal. I found this template from Ryan Robinson and used that as a starting point. In order to set me apart from others, I wanted my proposal to be visually appealing, so I used canva to design it after it was complete.
Follow other successful freelancers – Since deciding to go all in on my freelance business, Iâ€™ve been obsessed with following other successful freelancers and learning lessons from their experiences. The three I would recommend following are Ryan Robinson, Ross Simmonds, and Kim Jimenez.
I am learning as I go, and you will too! Iâ€™m not sure how successful my business will be, but Iâ€™m going to put my heart and soul into providing the very best services and doing what I love on my own terms â€“ and thatâ€™s all that matters.
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or contact me with any questions.