How to Start a Freelance Business

August 31, 2021

How to Start a Freelance Business

There’s no doubt that freelancing is on the rise. Whether due to the pandemic-fueled need to work from home or just a growing desire to be one’s own boss, more people are turning away from the traditional office model and toward independent business ventures. Indeed, estimates predict that by 2028, approximately 90 million Americans—the majority of the U.S. workforce—will be freelancing. Some skills are perfectly suited for this kind of work and can range from writers, designers, photographers, translators to developers.

While it is certainly alluring to contemplate pursuing your passion on your own time, freelancing does have its pros and cons - inconsistent paychecks, competitive markets, and complicated tax scenarios all present challenges. However, freelancing can be highly rewarding if you have what it takes, offering a degree of independence and flexibility that most traditional jobs can’t match. 

So, if you’ve thought it through and still want to strike out on your own, here are some tips on how to start a business.

Define Your Goals

‌Before you invest your time and money into starting your own freelance business, seriously consider why you want to do this in the first place. Is it a desire to ditch the business suit and work in your sweats? To finally realize your dream and, better yet, do it your way? A combination of both?‌

Whatever your motivation, you’ll need to set both short and long-term goals to ensure that your business progresses and you’re personally sticking to your plan. For example, making sure your website goes live in the first months is equally as important as making a million in your first year. 

Understand Your Limitations

It’s tempting to daydream about sending bid proposals from your living room and never commuting again, but the reality is that freelance can often be even more demanding than a 9 to 5 job.  As your own boss, you don’t have anyone to delegate tasks to, and the buck truly does stop at your door (or couch). As such, it’s imperative to be realistic and know what you do—and don’t—personally have to give to your freelance business.

You should also have an intimate understanding of your financial situation from the outset. How much of your investments are you willing to dedicate to your business? How long can your savings sustain you and your family until your freelancing starts generating revenue? If things get tight, do you have a plan to supplement your income?

Taking a long, hard look at your personal and monetary constraints will help you create a workable plan to start a freelance business.

Sweat the Small Stuff

While it’s certainly not as thrilling as setting your own work schedule, you need to make sure you’ve crossed all the t’s before starting your freelance business. You may need to create a business entity, like a sole proprietorship or an LLC, and familiarize yourself with the necessary accounting practices and contract management. 

To protect yourself, check to see if you need any specialized insurance based on the type of freelance work you'll be doing. Having a solid banking plan and keeping your business dealings separate from your personal finances is also helpful.

Get Your Website Up and Running – Fast‌

Because the internet will be the first point of contact for many of your clients, it’s vital to create a website that effectively represents your business. Maintaining a visually appealing, easily navigable website assures your potential customers that you’re a legitimate freelancer offering a legitimate service.  

Your website should clearly state your offerings, pricing, and how to contact you. You can also use it to explain your work process - from how you bid jobs to completion timelines.

Market Your Services Effectively

Your business's success depends largely on reaching your target clientele, so you want to stand out in the freelance crowd.   You can start by identifying where your clients are – both offline and online.  If there are industry conferences in your area, attend them, meet your potential clients in person, and network as much as you can. 

If your clients congregate in social media niches, develop profiles across various social networks. A robust social media presence that continuously garners likes and followers will keep your existing clients engaged and pique interest from potential customers.

Keep An Active Eye On Your Finances

Odds are it will take time before your freelance business plan takes hold and brings you not only joy but money in the bank.  If times get hard, refocus on your goals and remember why you started your freelance business in the first place. It might not be easy, but if freelancing is truly what you were meant to do, your efforts will pay off personally, professionally, and financially. 

And, while going freelance can be a challenging career move, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you’re dedicated to starting a freelance business, can help. By taking the guesswork out of paying taxes, alerting you to hidden write-offs, and expertly tracking your business expenses, Lunafi gives you a central platform for managing your personal and business life, helping your freelance dream become a reality.

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