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Kickstart Your Freelance Journey: A 12-Step Blueprint

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The number of freelancers in the world has grown significantly since 2018. In 2023, there are an estimated 1.57 billion freelancers in the world, and the number is expected to continue to grow. The United States is home to the largest number of freelancers in the world, with over 73 million freelancers.

The growth of the freelance market is being driven by a number of factors, including the rise of remote work, the increasing demand for skilled workers, and the growing popularity of online platforms that connect freelancers with clients.

Unleash your entrepreneurial spirit with our 12-step blueprint! Transform your skills into a thriving freelance business. Gain flexibility, independence, and financial success today. #FreelanceLife #BusinessBlueprintClick To Tweet

Indeed, launching a freelancing business is a challenging endeavor. However, the journey’s complexity makes its rewards even more gratifying. The initial steps require careful planning and preparation before you venture into the business landscape. It’s not as straightforward as choosing a service and curating a client list—although that is certainly an integral component. The freelancing journey can seem strenuous at times, but the satisfaction you’ll experience when your work steadily comes in will affirm that it’s been worthwhile. Here are 12 steps to kickstart your freelancing business.

1. Brush up on your finance

When you’re a freelancer, nobody’s going to manage your paychecks for you. You’ll need to make sure you’re on top of your invoices – when they’re due, how you’re going to get paid, et cetera. This is one of the most important aspects of the job. If you’re looking for a solid invoice tool to help you, try PayPal’s “Manage my Invoices” – it’ll give you a great headstart. Professional-quality invoices get you paid quicker and they are easy to track and sent reminders.

2. Understand the scope of your venture

What do you actually want to do with your freelancing business? Are you going to use this as your main source of income, or is this something that you’re doing to drum up business on the side or chase a major life goal? Whatever the answer, it definitely pays to have a solid and well-crafted business plan, even if you’re a freelancer. You’ll need it in the future.

3. Create a list of goals

Your journey won’t progress significantly if your ambitions aren’t concretely defined. It’s crucial to jot down precisely what you aim to accomplish at each phase of your business journey. Begin with smaller tasks – secure a web domain, settle on your business name, and consider your operation’s scale, among other things. Once these are addressed, you can start focusing on larger objectives.

4. Don’t chase the same audience as everyone else

If the allure of success witnessed in others entices you to start a business, consider exercising caution. It’s far more advantageous to identify a profitable niche market rather than merely following the herd. This approach reduces competition and ensures you distinguish yourself in your chosen field.

5. Research the competition

Whatever you decide to do with your freelance business, you’re going to run up against the competition. Unless your niche is super-specific, there will be others trying to do what you’re doing. It’s a good idea to know who they are, how they operate, and where their weak points might be. When you know that, you’ll be much better equipped to run your own freelance business.

6. Know your demographic

Knowing your market isn’t quite the same thing as knowing your demographic. You need to research exactly who’s going to be consuming your product or your content, whatever it might be. That will enable you to better craft content that your audience will definitely like. Language, tone, and marketing are all affected massively by who your demographic actually is.

7. Maintain a strong social media presence

Whether you’re a social media addict or a chronic avoider of the ‘gram, the fact is that if you’re not on social media as a business these days then you may as well not exist. Maintaining a strong social media presence is key to growing your client base, promoting your content, and managing a good relationship with your chosen demographic.

“The best part about being a freelancer is that you can typically set your own hours as well as pick and choose who want to work for. The bad news is that until you build your business up, you are likely to have times where you don’t have any work.” – How to Build Your Career Working Freelance Jobs

8. Network aggressively

One of the best ways you can publicize your budding freelance business is to get out there and introduce yourself to potential partners. Have some business cards made and make sure to take them to any event you go to that’s even remotely business-related. Don’t be ashamed of introducing yourself and making sure people know who you are and what you’re about at all times.

9. Know your stuff

In an increasingly competitive era, if you don’t know your stuff you’ll be destroyed by your competition. Whatever your business is – writing, crafts, plumbing, or anything – you need to know what you’re talking about. Word of mouth is essential for growing your business, and you won’t grow good word of mouth if your work is shoddy or shows a lack of understanding of your craft.

10. Be your own taskmaster

When you’re making the jump from a conventional desk job to a freelance gig, the freedom can be a little daunting. You need to be your own taskmaster. Don’t be afraid to scour the internet for good freelance productivity tools; just because teams use Milanote, Trello, or Asana, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a solo freelancer. Delineate your work hours and you’ll feel better for it.

11. Consider a variety of media

If you’re a writer, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to just writing your own content. You could guest blog on other people’s sites, for example, or you could seek out podcasts that interview writers and see if they’d be interested in interviewing you. There’s nothing stopping you from going multimedia and creating a video series for YouTube or your own podcast, either.

12. Enjoy yourself 

If you don’t love the freelance life, it won’t love you back. Freelancing should feel great, even when the bad times come; you won’t always love your work, but you should always feel like it’s a better alternative to desk work. If you don’t, then it might be time to hang up the work-from-home keyboard and return to the office life, because true freelancers love what they do.

The Freelancer's Bible - Everything You Need to Know

The Freelancer’s Bible will help those new to freelancing learn the ropes, and will help those who’ve been freelancing for a while grow and expand.

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05/18/2024 12:35 am GMT

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