It truly is awesome to be your own boss and work for yourself. I honestly LOVE that part. But it’s intimidating to start out. So I’d like to say that in the past 5 years, I’ve learned A TON. And that’s why I’ve started this blog – I’m going to share:
Tips for working for yourself…
Build a Site/Portfolio.
I don’t care what it is you’re planning on doing, the web is where it’s at. You can’t be expected to be taken seriously if people can’t check your website first. Make sure that it looks good – it’s clean, professional, concise, easy to navigate, and ALWAYS up-to-date!! Don’t keep every single thing you do. Pick your top 10-15 projects and showcase those.
Figure Out Pricing.
I know. It seems “Duh.” But this is one of the hardest parts of any freelance job. Do you want to charge by the hour? by the project? based on season? etc… It takes some tweaking and some patience, but in time you’ll know. I charge a flat rate for all of my services. I’ve been doing it long enough, and have tracked enough stats that I know how long it should take and what’s expected for different projects. When I first started, I charged by the hour, but that got a little tricky because some clients couldn’t understand why certain things took so long/cost so much. If you choose this route, be ready to explain every. single. minute.
Get The Word Out.
Once you have a site set up and your rates figured out (at least the starting ones) Let people know you’re ready and open for business. Send out tweets – ask your friends to retweet. Post about it on Facebook. Tell friends and family. And then as you do work, post it. Tweet it. FB it too. Show people what you’re doing and what you’re capable of.
I’m not a naturally organized, record-keeping type of person. But! when it comes to business, you have to! There is client contact info, dates, deadlines, quotes, bids, pricing, invoices, expenses… and the list goes on and on. I’m currently working up a post about how I deal with this exact topic all by itself, but figure out what works best for you and stick to it! Come tax time, you’ll be grateful you did!
Don’t Work For Free.
Always get a deposit first. Before you start any work or even add a client to your schedule, get at least a portion of the cost. This will help in two ways: 1) Clients are less likely to back out if they’ve already invested, and 2) you won’t end up wasting your time on a project that isn’t going to help you pay your bills. You’re a freelancer, not a volunteer.