The Freelance To Freedom® Guide To Starting Your Freelance Business
Starting your own business can seem like a daunting endeavour. There is so much to do, learn, implement, etc and perfectionism usually gets to the best of us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I see people all.the.time. trying to overcomplicate things. But here’s the reality:
Making money is just about discovering what you can do, what people will pay you for, and a way to get in front of those people.
Why am I such a cheerleader for freelancing?
Because it’s the fastest way to start your own business, step into entrepreneurship and give you the taste of freedom of time and financial security you get from being your own boss.
Freelancing helped me not settle for “good enough” in my life and helped me overall be a better person like I shared about here.
It helped me travel the world and be a digital nomad with only some simple preparation to be location independent (Europe, US and now Thailand!). Here’s how I was able to live in France as a freelancer.
The beauty of freelancing is you can just start.
It doesn’t matter if you have a 40k degree.
It doesn’t matter if you already have a job.
You don’t need an LLC.
You don’t need a business plan.
Although freelancing and business owning and entrepreneurship can become one and the same, the real key to freelancing is you don’t need much to get started.
You need skills (ie. knowledge on how to do something).
You need to find people that need those skills.
You need to tell people about those skills.
And you’re in business.
I’m making it sound easy, right? Yep. Because it is.
I’m so excited you’re here. It means you are ready for something better.
Something better than working for someone else.
Something better than not controlling when you work.
Something better than your shitty paycheck that never seems to increase.
And freelancing can get you there.
You may feel like society or the people around you will think you’re crazy, but like these people shared, there is power in starting something stupid.
You’re taking the first step by going through this guide and joining us here at Freelance to Freedom.
So let’s do this!
1. Decide What To Offer
Determine what skills you have and what you like to do.
First and foremost, the #1 mistake people make when trying to start their first business is trying to come up with some crazy, new, unique idea. This usually leads to a never-ending cycle of brainstorming and no action.
My best advice to you at this very beginning stage of starting a freelance business is KEEP IT SIMPLE. It’s the easiest way to get started freelancing and get momentum.
Make a big ol’ list of ideas using the following prompts:
Think through your past jobs, big and small, and list out all the tasks you took care of.
Think through all the software and tools you know how to use (everything from Facebook to Word to Gmail)
Think about what you like to do for fun. What do you spend your off-time doing for fun? Social media maybe? Cooking? Making videos in iMovie?
Think about the related fields to things you like to do. Social Media, Graphic Design, Video Editing, Admin Assistant, etc.
Now come up with a list of services related the things you listed in answering those questions.
So you’ve got your list. Now you’ve got to choose what interests you the most to get started freelancing with.
Remember – this can change. Whatever service you come up with this time, will likely not be what you are offering a year from now.
The key is to go from want-repreneur to entrepreneur as quickly as possible. If you feel more like a want-preneur, check out these 9 important lessons I learned in my year of being a want-repreneur.
You want to start freelancing… it’s time to just start and that means choosing what you’re going to offer first.
So with your list decide on what you want to start with the following in mind:
Which service lights you up?
Which gets you excited to start getting paid to do?
Which one do you already have most of the skills to perform or can have the skills after a few weeks of extra online learning?
2. Validate Your Idea
Use this simple process to validate your freelance idea. They key is to figure out whether people are making money from what you’d like to do and if there are people out there with a problem your service can help solve.
3. Get a few beta clients
Find people in your immediate network or in places you hang out that might need your services. This is as simple as posting on social, emailing or asking in a Facebook group.
Here are some things to consider when putting together your beta offer.
Offer to do the service for free or for a limited-time or at a special rate. Some people will tell you never to work for free, even in the beginning. Here’s what several freelancers think about when free is ok.
4. Adjust Your Offer
Once you’ve tried out your service on a few beta people, it’s time to adjust your offer based on what you’ve learned.
Did they end up needing something you didn’t realize you’d need to include?
Is there something you didn’t really know how to do that you could do some research and learning about to better help them?
Was there are a part of it you hated doing that you can remove for next time?
This is the moment you’ll want to outline and get crystal clear on what your service is, what it includes as deliverables, and what problems you solve.
Write this all down because you’ll be putting it in lots of places once you start getting the word out about your new service and freelance business.
5. Decide on your pricing
This is where most beginner freelancers get stuck. The truth is – there will always be freelancers charging much more and much less than you, at every stage of their career. On top of that, your prices are never set in stone. You will change them often, especially if you’re ever in the FTF membership or mastermind and have me to kick your butt to raise them often.
Here’s my super simple strategy for choosing your prices:
6. Get Your First Clients, Build Your Portfolio & Experience
Getting your first clients doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Since you’re just starting out, it’s better to just jump right in without getting caught up in the details of having a perfect business and marketing plan. We’ll get to that later.
Check out these stories on how many FTF community members got their first clients. This is great for inspiration to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
Next, you’ll want to put in action one of these 3 ways to get new clients when you’re just starting.
Congratulations – if you’ve kept things simple, and followed the above steps, you can officially toast some champagne to the fact that you are officially a freelancer!
So what’s next?
7. Decide What To Do With That Other Job
If you’ve got a day job, or other responsibilities of some sort, it’s time to start considering whether or not to jump into freelancing full-time.
First things first – whatever hesitation you have to quitting a job and doing this freelancing thing for real, I’ve done it, so I know you can too.
Here are some things to consider to determine when is the right time to quit your job.
If it’s not quite the right time for you yet, either financially or otherwise, but keeping that job is making you miserable, consider how your soul-sucking job can actually make you a better freelancer and then learn how to best juggle your time and activities so that you can effectively grow your freelance business as a side-hustle to your full-time job.
Eventually, keeping a day job will actually hold you back from making true growth in your business. Both from a time standpoint, and a mindset one.
If you’re still hesitating to go all-in, make sure you’re not telling yourself these 4 lies that’ll keep you stuck in that day job forever.
And if raising kids is your full-time job, here’s how you can freelance full-time with kids at home.
When it’s time, it’s time.
When you’ve decided to make THIS YEAR the year you’ll go full-time freelance, here are some of the concrete steps you’ll want to take with your employer to make the quitting easy.
Your Next Step
Sign up for the Freelancer’s toolkit below. You’ll get a bunch of goodies but I recommend you start with reading the free ebook: “Last Corporate Day to 5k” which explains the steps I took to quit my job and hit my first income goal fast.
You’ll also get regular helpful tips, trick and stories from me to help you successfully start your freelance business.
PLUS – you’ll get to come join the free FTF Community on Facebook where you can get support and camaraderie from like-minded people.