This article was published on January 21, 2014

How to start your freelance career and be your own boss

How to start your freelance career and be your own boss
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Josephine Sabin is the Marketing Manager for DesignCrowd.

Being a freelancer is one of the most flexible jobs in the world, especially since it means being your own boss and creating your own hours. But of course, there are plenty of challenges.

Whether you’ve already started your freelance journey or you’re a freelance wannabe, these awesome tips will help you get on top of your freelancing career and become a master of your own success!

Brand yourself

As a freelancer, your brand represents just one thing – YOU. Branding ensures you stand out from the competition by giving your services a coherent, professional image and communicating your strength and vision.

At the very least, you should start your branding journey with a logo and/or a website. If you have a smaller budget, look to crowdsourcing sites to get help, opinions, and feedback at a low cost.

Don’t undersell your skills

Many beginner freelancers make the mistake of underselling their skills from the start, meaning they end up working hard for very little financial return. Ask yourself, how much money do you want to be earning per hour as a freelancer? Will it be enough to cover your expenses, as well as provide you with a good net income?

If in doubt, do your research on industry benchmarks and consider how much cash you really need to make your freelancing work.

Be a networker, not a loner

The general assumption with freelance work is because you work for yourself, you work alone. This notion can hold you back.

Networking will be the one thing that can make a huge difference to your freelancing career. Sign up to online communities with other freelancers on LinkedIn and Twitter.

It can bring in new clients/projects, but it can also create great business relationships, allowing you to leverage the talents of other freelancers/businesses and combine your individual services to enhance your business offerings. You can learn a lot from other freelancers, whether you’re just starting up, or in deep already.

Get organised

Every freelancer has their own way of staying organised, so it’s important to find out what works for you. Software programs are all the rage, whether for project management, time management, invoicing/accounts or sales/leads tracking.

If you’re carrying out any of these tasks manually, automated software can make your job much easier, freeing up your time to focus on more critical business areas.

Ask for testimonials

Are you asking for client feedback at the end of each of your projects? Client testimonials will be crucial in building your brand reputation and in persuading new clients to take you on.

Publish your testimonials as soon as you get them and make sure they are easy to find on your website, your social media pages or your freelancing profiles. Testimonials are great addition to your portfolio, especially if you can get a big client to vouch for your work.

Market yourself

Many freelancers don’t spend time on marketing because they feel it’s unnecessary or ineffective. But fun marketing campaigns can give your business a unique and innovative edge that other freelancers lack and you never know when your marketing efforts might result in a new, spectacular client or project.

How will you kick-start your marketing this year? You could choose to run a PPC campaign online, use a client like MailChimp to fuel your email communications, conduct a letterbox drop or simply start a blog and promote your content.

What are your secrets to becoming a successful freelancer?

Image credit: Shutterstock/Peshkova

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