Thanks to the pandemic, the world of work has forever been changed. More and more people are looking for flexible work and online graduate jobs.
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Becoming a freelancer can feel exciting, scary, and challenging all at once. But once you get started, it can be hugely rewarding.
For many recent graduates looking to start freelancing, the first step is often the hardest.
So, in this article we’re going to equip you with the seven things you need to know as a freelancer starting out.
If you want to start a freelancing business that stands the test of time, good organisation is essential.
Freelancing has its pros and cons, but to be successful at it, you have to be organised. There’s no getting around it.
You can set your own schedule and work as many hour as you want. However, if you’re not disciplined or organised, it can be difficult to maintain a daily work routine and a steady workflow.
By combining freelance work with a full-time job, you can test your discipline and organisation skills needed to start a successful freelance business.
“All freelancers have one challenge in common: setting a reasonable hourly rate. Beginners in particular often have a hard time deciding their hourly rate.” – Natalia Campana, Freelancermap
Deciding how much to charge can be one of the most difficult decisions for freelancers starting out.
Freelancers with high qualifications and years of experience are often able to charge more. Still, freelancers who are great at negotiating and are good communicators can also be successful in a competitive market.
When starting out, it is important to consider how much you need to cover your monthly expenses. Particularly if you want to freelance full-time.
Your calculations should include monthly expenses. This includes food, rent, and monthly business expenses (subscriptions, tools, working materials, office space, tax).
There are plenty of costs to account for when you freelance. So, it’s important to write all these out to determine your rate.
If you don’t do this, your charge might be too low to get your business off the ground.
You’ll need to figure out how to accept and receive payments from your clients.
Contactless payments are an easy solution for many entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.
Many freelancers opt for portable card machines, due to the flexibility of being able to accept payments on-the-go.
“Every business you walk into nowadays tends to have a credit card machine at hand. With customers increasingly wanting to make contactless payments, owning a portable card machine of your own has never been more important.” - says payment specialists from SumUp UK.
As a freelancer, you’ll need a system in place to ensure you’re getting paid every month to keep on top of your income.
It is critical for the success of your business and your reputation as a professional freelancer.
As any freelancer will tell you, freelancing has its ups and downs. So, it’s important to find a community to fall back on for that much-needed support, advice, and accountability.
Using networking groups and coworking spaces will allow you to find your community as well as utilising social media to engage with freelancers.
Without a community, freelancing can become a very lonely career path.
Check out some of the best online communities for UK freelancers:
Freelance Folk - if you’re looking for coworking sessions and events
Leapers - for help and support with your mental health as a freelancer
Freelance Corner - news, features and lifestyle specific for the freelance community
The Freelance Heroes - offers practical and moral support to “help you go it alone without feeling alone”
You will feel supported and motivated by joining a freelance community. The mistakes and successes of others can provide you with useful lessons.
In order to attract work, you need a portfolio or CV that showcases what you can do.
Portfolios are essential for freelancers, as they have the potential to wow employers and secure amazing projects.
It is important to add work to your portfolio as soon as you can, and be selective when choosing which projects to share. It should reflect the best of what you can do.
If you don’t have a dedicated online space to your work, you may struggle to secure new opportunities. You need a place where clients can find out more about your services, view examples of your work, and read testimonials.
If you don’t have much of a portfolio yet, don’t worry. For every new opportunity that comes along, you can add more to your freelance portfolio.
As a freelancer just starting out, one of the best ways you can recommend yourself to potential clients is through clear and confident communication.
You must be on the front-foot when it comes to contacting clients and reaching out to employers. This will include cold pitching your services to other companies.
Practising clear, confident communication is one of the best ways to sell your services. This can often be the difference in winning new freelance job opportunities, regardless of experience.
What are some of the goals you want to achieve?
Having clear goals about where you want your freelance business to go will keep you motivated, focused and driven.
Write out your goals and draw the steps you need to take to reach them. By doing so, you'll stay on track to fulfilling your freelancing ambitions.
Taking the time to clearly define your goals is a great way to get started as a freelancer.
The world of freelancing is full of opportunities. You can choose your clients, your rates, your working days and hours. There are so many options!
Follow the advice in this article and you can really set yourself up for success before you’ve even started!
This article was written by education and career specialist Gemma Williams.