More people than ever are turning to freelancing as a career. According to recent data, the overall number of independent workers in the United States rose 34% in 2021, to 55.1 million from 38.2 million in 2020. Driven by the great resignation and the global pandemic, more people are choosing freelancing as a career option for its flexibility, variety and work-life balance.
If you are just embarking upon your career as an independent contractor, consultant or freelancer, here’s a handy checklist built with ❤️ from JobBliss, designed to help you build a successful business from day one.
Get out there and slay people!
Angie and the JobBliss team
Marketing Your Freelance Business
It’s really about considering the ‘P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Positioning, Place, Promotion, People)
- Decide on your company name (it’s ok just to operate under your own name if that’s what you want)
- Decide on your pricing and business model
- Build out a listing of services and consider the packaging of service offerings – what you will and won’t do
- Establish a partner network to round out your solution offerings and fully serve your clients
- Decide on what markets you want to serve (languages, geographies, industries)
- Set up your social channels and start building audience and engagement
- Establish or build out your LinkedIn profile
- Let your existing network know what you are doing and the services you offer (they WILL be your first clients!)
- Engage with and continually build your network weekly or even daily
- Showcase your work for clients and your subject-matter expertise
- Build a corporate identity and brand for your new business
- Logo, colour palette
- Actively participate in local and digital networking forums
- Lead every client discussion with value
- Play the long game – don’t nickel and dime your valued clients
- Join associations relevant to your profession
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce
- Join freelance marketplaces like JobBliss – look for those that honour your fee structure, don’t take a cut of your rate, don’t get between you and your client
Managing Your Freelance Business
You are going into business for yourself – time to get serious about running it right!
- Decide if you are going to operate as a sole proprietor, incorporated business etc.
- Surround yourself with great business support:
- Lawyer – look for those who specialise in small business
- Bookkeeper – look for those who specialise in small business
- Accounting firm – look for those who specialise in small business
- Get a tax number
- Set up business banking account(s) including tax accounts (income and taxes collected) and pay into them religiously
- Set aside a rainy day fund to cover off income should you become ill or want to take a vacation
- Consider implementing a payroll system
- Understand what you can, and can’t ‘write off’ for your business. Phone, gas, equipment – speak to your accountant to understand the rules
- Plan out how you will save and record your purchase receipts. There are helpful online tools that make it easy to simply take a picture of your receipts, but find a system that works for you
- Invest in an invoicing/small business accounting platform and a project management tool as the foundation for running your business
- Consider putting in place a personal insurance policy to cover you, your family and your future employees – hint your local Chamber of Commerce often has a small business insurance package
- Invoice promptly and establish clear terms of engagement and payment
Managing Your Freelance Client Relationships
It is 80% easier to win new business from an existing client and their referral is like gold. Treat them well.
- Maintain regular contact with your existing and past clients
- Make sure clients are aware of all the services you offer – don’t get typecast or pigeon-holed
- Use a freelance management platform like JobBliss to communicate the status of projects/assigned work underway and to build exposure to other prospective employers. Feel free to recommend JobBliss to your clients – we have a free trial and it will make YOUR life and THEIRS better.
- Make sure you have your client’s permission before bragging about your work for them
- Follow and engage with your clients and their managers on social media
- Say thank you and honor referrals for new work with a small gift, handwritten note, personal video
- Be responsive to their needs and put the emphasis on great customer service
- If you are increasing your rates, honor pricing for existing clients