Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
There are a number of reasons why you might want to start freelancing. Maybe you just want to make a little money on the side. Or maybe you’d like to start freelancing so you can eventually be your own boss.
Now Is a Great Time to Start Freelancing
With freelance platforms growing and more companies looking for that outsourced creative, it’s now becoming crystal clear we’re living in an increasingly gig-based economy.
This is something Charles Towers-Clark at Forbes calls the “uberization of work.” By this he is referring to traditional work that has turned into freelance contracts. Simply put, digital channels make location-independent work possible today. And this makes it easier than ever for many people to start freelancing.
All the same, life can get a little rough when you first start freelancing. Basically, this way of working comes with pros and cons, even though working more flexibly on a job-by-job basis is touted by some as the ultimate in employment.
And it’s true that when you start freelancing you experience a lot of freedom. “However,” writes Towers-Clark, “part-time workers do not have the same benefits as full-time employees do, leaving them without the job security and peace of mind that nine-to-fivers enjoy.”
So while there are a number of reasons why you might want to start freelancing, it can pay to give this big change in your life some thought before you take the plunge. Therefore, consider: Do you just want to earn some pocket money on the side? Or do you want to start your own freelancing business?
Whatever the case, you’ll need the right tools to succeed. Many people who started freelancing say it’s fantastic. However, it’s not necessarily the easiest way to make a living. You’ll need the right processes to take advantage of the sense of freedom. In other words, if you decide to start freelancing, you want to avoid being left without peace of mind.
Three areas in particular can make or break your peace of mind when you start freelancing. These three areas are communication, invoicing, and continual learning.
Put Your Best Foot Forward with Great Communication
“Communication is a big part of your success as a freelancer,” writes Richard Lorenzen at HuffPost. “What steps will you take to put your best foot forward?”
following two rules will serve you well when you start freelancing:
- Under-promise but over-deliver
- Communicate clearly and often
importance of Rule #2 cannot be overstated. Ask clarifying questions, send
updates, and follow up, even after a project has been completed. This will
almost certainly set you apart from other freelancers your clients work with.
you start freelancing, learn to make use of the wide range of communication
tools you have at your disposal today. For example:
- Set up a business number with Skype to keep texts and calls as seamless as possible
- Get on Google Hangouts as soon as you start freelancing, for free and easy face-to-face meetings
- If your client is on Slack, ask to be added to a channel so you can keep up with the whole team
- Look at collaboration tools like Trello or Basecamp to make the back-and-forth on projects easier
- When you start freelancing, also start using an organizational tool and learn to use it well. Perhaps you’ll choose Wunderlist to keep things straight or Evernote to track everything related to a project. Either of these tools will help you with communication, project completion, and everything in between.
RELATED ARTICLE: WANT TO LOOK MORE PROFESSIONAL? CONSIDER THESE 7 LITTLE TOUCHES
Use Professional Invoices When You Start Freelancing
One of the things you’ll soon learn after you start freelancing is that getting paid can be tricky. In other words, it’s not easy to establish a steady cash flow.
It’s certainly satisfying to see a paycheck roll in after you have successfully completed a project. On the other hand, having to chase after a paycheck can be troublesome.
However, you can avoid those difficulties if you use a professional invoice as the foundation of your payment process.
Additionally, clients appreciate an invoice that is clear and professional, one that is reflective of your work as a contractor or freelancer. Therefore, instead of presenting an invoice that shows only a lump sum, spell out the work you’ve completed, line by line.
Make your invoices as professional as possible. In other words, be sure to include your contact information, clear lines, and perhaps a little pop of color. Starting with an accurate and professional invoice will decrease your chances of having to deal with the headache of unpaid invoices.
To this end, there are a handful of online billing software tools that can help you when you start freelancing. These will aid you in connecting with clients for payment. However, some of these tools can be overly complicated, and this can be particularly true if you just started freelancing.
Therefore, when you first start freelancing, you need something simple but professional.
For a happy medium between “let-me-jot-something-down-in-Word” and “let-me-figure-out-this-fancy-schmancy-accounting-software,” consider putting a freelance invoice template to use. With a template, you can keep the invoice tidy and professional, but also tailor it to your needs.
Moreover, you can use a template to provide a professional quality to more than just your invoices. “If you find yourself struggling to format project proposals, meeting agendas, or customer invoices, use a template you can quickly modify as needed,” writes John Boitnott at Inc. “This way you don’t have to start from scratch every time.”
So save yourself some time and stand out from the crowd when you start freelancing. You will be way ahead of other beginning freelancers when you use an invoice template.
Keep on Learning
Finally, the best freelancers are always learning, long past the time when they first started freelancing. Even if you are a master graphic designer or stellar writer, there is always something new to learn.
Maybe you need to read up on marketing for your newly established business. On the other hand, perhaps you should review some new tools for your photography business. When you start freelancing, establish a habit of spending a few hours each week finding out what’s new in your niche and in the freelancing industry as a whole.
In order to keep learning, use the abundant resources of the Internet. They are practically endless.
For example, go to Udemy or Skillshare and take an entire course in an area that will be useful to your freelancing career. Read Neil Patel or the Hubspot blog to learn more about marketing best practices. And be sure to check out Inc or Work Made for Hire to polish your professional skills.
You get the idea. Once you start freelancing and stick with it for a while, you’ll see that you must continuously learn new things, especially within your own niche. It may seem like a lot of effort at first, and perhaps it is. But learning new things will make a big difference not only as you start freelancing but also as you take your place as a successful freelancer.