Freelancing is great. You are your own boss, working the hours you choose and most importantly doing what you LOVE. But you must also be prepared for its down side: chasing payments, longer working hours, times where there is no work and clients that may try to take advantage of you.
If you are sure you are ready to take it all on then here’s a few tips on getting started.
Register as self-employed.
All it takes is a call to HMRevenue, they can go through it with you on the phone, or fill a form online. You also need to do this for tax, to get your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) as there could be a fine, or worse, if you fail to do so.
What are your services?
Have a clear idea of what it is you are offering clients. Research your market, and work out your business rates. You don’t want to undersell yourself or confuse the clients on what it is you can offer.
Get to marketing
You aren’t going to find clients by just existing, you have to let them know you’re here. Build your brand and the best way to start is by creating a website (check out our tips on doing so HERE). Be active in promoting yourself, especially online, by using social media to reach wider audiences. Also try writing emails and letters to potential clients.
Give yourself set working hours
The trouble with freelancing is that you can find yourself working very unsocial hours, or working seven days a week. To ensure you still find time for yourself you should set clear working hours for both you and your client. Don’t answer work calls outside of your set hours. This will give you the personal time to relax.
Yes you represent yourself and have power over decisions but you want clients to come back, don’t you? Reply to emails promptly and have good communication with your clients. Keep calm and polite in front of clients at all times. If your work is digitally based you must still make an effort to meet every client face to face, even if just once.
Be brave and leap into the void.