Freelance is a wide popular word in modern society, which gives an illusion of doing nothing for money. But only people who tried know how false this expression is. Freelance is even much more that a simple employment – you by yourself are responsible for the income, clients, repute and even cleaning and papers in your “office”.
Freelancing is not just an opportunity to work from home. It’s a chance to earn income that is totally dependent on the amount of work that is done. And, due to the human factor, ad hoc situations, and a vague future tendency, creating a proper business plan for a freelance writer is usually difficult. Nevertheless, to succeed without planning is almost impossible. That’s because you need to estimate targets and draw your path for growth.
Simple hints to determine a pure perspective for a freelance business can enable a freshman to estimate his chances in this type of business. With all the lines drawn, an average freelancer can have a good start. The rest depends on the ambitions and discipline of the freelancer himself.
- Define your goals
If you don’t come up with easily measurable and clearly defined goals, you will have a hard time trying to get where you want to be. Basically, you must decide why you want to venture into freelancing, what you want to achieve, and how to achieve it.
- Is it a path to earn extra income apart from your main job?
- Do you intend to become a full-time freelancer due to lifestyle benefits that come with it?
- Is freelance writing for instance, a stepping stone that you intend to use to achieve an entirely different goal?
- Do you want to work part-time so that you can have more time to focus on other things, such as education or family?
- Do you view it as a way of supporting yourself while you are trying to get your own personal business of the ground?
- Is freelance writing something you are interested in temporarily until something better comes along?
Generally, your ultimate goal should be abundantly clear and accompanied by the right moves that you intend to make to achieve the bigger-picture goal.
2. Find a profitable niche
Regardless of what industry you are in, there will always be competitors. Basically, there are individuals whose cost of living is lower than yours. That’s why there will always be people that are ready to take lesser-paid gigs than you. Therefore, focus on finding clients that treasure quality than price. For instance your clients might be able to buy a research paper. This will enable you to compete on the basis of value rather than price. If you are a graphic designer for instance, you can concentrate on info-graphic design for e-book layouts for tech companies or startup blogs and strive to become the best expert in that area.
There are plenty of freelance writing niches you can choose from. Aside from running your own blog, you can also get in touch with companies which are looking for technical writers to write documentation, user guides, and how-to tutorials. Another interesting niche are e-books. Audiences are always hungry for new content, and e-books are the perfect medium, because you don’t need to think about SEO or content length. You can focus on providing detailed advice and instructions. Since most content out there is fairly generic, people don’t mind paying for something that is more concrete. And, there is no limit as to how many e-books you can publish or sell. With good marketing, you can earn hundreds, or even thousands of dollars per book.
3.Identify your target clients
This is tied to the focus on quality rather than price. Identify clients for whom you can deliver the best results possible. Everything that you do in a freelance business should focus on delivering the highest-quality results. Basically, you must focus on making your clients so successful and happy that they become a sales force for your business. Build an authority so that clients can see you as their go-to resource. Ideally, appeal to a well-selected niche so that target clients can quickly decide that you are the right person for their projects.
Every time someone mentions freelancing, there is always a lively debate regarding content mills. The truth is, they have their pros and cons, which means you may want to give them a shot. For example, while most clients over there might not offer top dollar for your work, there are plenty of them which offer decent rates and regular work, which provides you with some level of stability. This means you won’t have to worry about basic existential needs, such as paying your rent, bills, and food. In the meantime, you can keep on looking for more lucrative opportunities. Another false myth is that clients on content mills always choose the lowest bidders.
4. Set a strategy
Come up with a strategy that you will use to charge for your services with your set goal in mind. Will you charge on an hourly basis or per the amount of work done? Remember that your price should be based on value instead of what your competitors charge. Additionally, don’t let anybody dictate terms that define the value of your services. Also remember that no price can be too high as long as you deliver value to your clients. Once you convince clients that you can deliver the right value or you are the right person for their projects, price will be their secondary concern.
Freelance writing, and freelance work in general, allows you to skip the traditional period where you need to prove yourself. This means you can position fairly quickly on the market and dictate your own rates, regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry. Simply focus on learning how to make content your clients can use. Consider their goals and take it from there. Usually, they have a service or a product they want to sell, and they need good content in order to attract potential customers. Also, they want to boost their position inside the search engine results, which means they will be looking for writers which know their way around SEO and keyword research.
5. Build and impressive portfolio
A portfolio is usually the first impression that potential clients need to learn about your freelance business. Many clients will want to learn about your work, your style, and past clients. Your portfolio should tell clients about your services and who they are ideal for. Basically, a portfolio should communicate your business specialties, display samples and testimonials. It should highlight your education, skills, accomplishment, personality, and contact information. Update your portfolio on regular basis to show new clients, evolution, and recent samples.
When you are new to the industry, it’s more difficult to land high-profile gigs, or even those for which you will receive writing credit. There are plenty of ghostwriting opportunities out there, which help you make money, but which will get you nowhere if you are looking to build your portfolio. Sometimes, you can need to look at a bigger picture, instead of making a small profit now.
6. Don’t hesitate to self-promote
Communicate your strengths and skills in a way that converts a conversation into a paying client. This implies that you must use carefully strategized proposals and other reach-out tactics. Ideally, you must sell your major strengths and answer questions from clients and prospects satisfactorily. Learn from past projects and come up with proposals with layouts that appeal to prospects visually. Conduct research to know the changing needs of your clients and prospects as well as the best ways to meet them. Make sure that you convey value to your clients in your emails and other communications.
One of the ways you can boost your credibility and promote your brand is by rubbing shoulders with influencers inside your niche. You can do this by getting them to contribute to your content with a quote, or you can secure a guest post with them. In both cases, if your content is good enough, they will share it with their readers, and therefore expose you to a much larger audience.
7. Ambitions and discipline
Even if you are still holding on to your full-time job, keep the goal of your freelance business in mind. Never mix priorities of your day job with your freelance business. Be disciplined and avoid anything that can jeopardize your main job because you need it for sustenance as your freelance business grows. For instance, never breach contracts with your employer or work on freelance business while in your employer’s office. Additionally, do not use employer’s resources such as online tools and computers to work on your freelance business. However tight discipline shouldn’t influence your ambitions! Set incredible goals, do not hesitate to knock on doors of big companies and you will see how your confidence helps in growing freelancer career.
If you are focusing solely on your freelance work, try and develop good habits. This means being able to say no to distractions, and finish your work on time. While freelancing is flexible, it does require more discipline than a regular day job, because you don’t have a boss barking orders at you. You tend to get more relaxed and less productive, which means your progress, and your income, will suffer.
With these hints, you can easily determine a pure perspective of your freelance business and estimate your chances in this type of a business. These hints will enable you to draw all the lines and establish a good start for your freelance business. How fast you accomplish your defined goals will definitely depend on how ambitious and disciplined you are in this business.