Table of Contents
When starting a business, everyone wants to be successful and achieve their goals.
However, this is not as simple as it sounds and requires a lot of effort and preparation, especially considering that more than 50% of small businesses fail only in their first year.
If you don’t want to be part of that statistic, you need to find out about how to run a successful freelance business and use all the tools at your disposal to make it grow.
Likewise, you should also observe the experience of other freelancers and learn what things to avoid.
1. Be Organized
Maintaining order in your work will help you complete tasks at the correct time and fulfill all your pending issues.
Keeping a to-do list will help you get a notion of things you need to do and the availability you have for new projects.
As you complete each task, you can cross them off so you can see how you are progressing (and you will avoid setbacks and inconveniences since you will not forget anything).
Being organized with your business is something that will make you project more professionalism and it will show that you take your business seriously while also having everything in order will help you not to miss anything important.
It is impossible to imagine that a business can be successful without having an organization and the reason is that both things go hand in hand.
2. Set Goals
To stay motivated and have a guide to where to move forward, you must set short, medium, and long-term goals.
The success of a business depends on the purposes you have with it, that is why it is very important to set clear goals, this will help you know what you want to achieve and also establish a work plan to meet the proposed objectives.
Sometimes generic goals are set, without a measure of time and this does not allow to judge their success.
That is why the goals must clearly specify their purpose, have a time limit to achieve them, and an amount (if it is the case).
Some examples can be winning a certain number of clients in a certain time, generating a certain level of profit, being able to acquire certain equipment or software to improve the quality of your work, among others.
3. Create A Website
Every business with a good reputation has a website, this makes it look more professional and transmit more confidence to the public.
About 64% of small businesses have a website, which makes it much easier to reach potential customers.
Keep in mind that if you offer freelance services, you must find a way for the internet public to know about you, since many clients may be from countries other than yours.
To achieve this it is necessary that you have a website and in this way, it will also be easier for people to find you if they search in a search engine.
Today there are many tools and platforms like Wix or WordPress that facilitate the creation of a webpage or a portfolio website, so you don’t need to be an expert or spend a lot of money to get a site that is useful and satisfies you.
If you learn what to include in a portfolio website, you will be able to get a lot out of the website you create.
4. Use Social Media
Social networks are essential for any business, so to promote your freelance business and make it known, you must create accounts on different social networks and generate interesting content that attracts the attention of people and potential clients.
Being present on social networks will make it easier for them to find you and the greater your online presence, the greater the chances of finding new clients and therefore, making new sales.
The use of social networks is key for you to be able to strengthen your relationships with clients in an attractive way.
It is not only enough to have a profile, but you must manage it, interact with the public and generate posts and content in general that people want to share and that find useful.
It is not necessary that you have a profile on each platform, but you do need to take advantage of each one you have.
Don’t just use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, consider joining LinkedIn and other platforms like YouTube or TikTok.
Depending on your business needs, some platforms will be more useful than others.
Registering your business on social networks is something you should do as soon as you have a name for it and are determined to start.
Even if you are not completely convinced to use certain social networks, you can register only to occupy the domain name of your business and later decide if you will use that platform.
5. Determine The Legal Structure And Don’t Forget About Taxes
Determine what is best for you: being the sole owner, having a partner, a limited liability company, a non-profit organization, a cooperative, among others.
Like any other commercial activity, if you start working as a freelancer and earn money, you will have to pay your taxes.
As a freelancer, you will have to pay the self-employment tax of 15.3%.
However, if you comply with the procedure of form 1091, you will be able to obtain total or partial compensation from the Internal Revenue Service, in case you have been withheld for any debt you may have, such as unemployment compensation.
It is essential that you be orderly when it comes to your taxes to avoid unexpected problems and expenses.
However, keep in mind that you could also hire the services of an accountant to help you with this.
If what you prefer is to save that money, propose to learn everything you need to pay your taxes.
6. Learn To Use Tools And Resources
To manage your freelance business you should use all the support and help possible since sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to remember everything; delivery dates, client information, tasks, and projects to start, among others.
For example, you can use QuickBooks to handle your business accounting, track expenses, customize invoices and run reports.
With this app, you can also create reports of your business to evaluate how it is progressing and also prepare your taxes.
You also can use AND CO which is an app that also includes the benefits of QuickBooks but also allows you to create contracts and monitor your payments.
This is a great tool for freelancers because you can also use it for time tracking, payments, proposals, contracts, task management, and income and expense tracking. Using this app, you can automate all tedious tasks.
To impress your potential clients and send excellent proposals that guarantee a response, you can use Prospero.
Keep in mind that the client search, the creation of proposals and contracts is something that takes time and that can be tedious if it is something you do every day. If you can automate these processes, you can spend more time on other things.
7. Manage Your Time Well
The next key to having a successful business is defining the days and hours that you will work.
One of the reasons many people choose to run a home business is because a traditional nine-to-five job does not give them the flexibility they need to deal with life or life situations. home.
But you need to establish a work schedule to keep yourself productive and responsible. So you have to decide what schedule will work best for you.
A time management strategy is to be rigorous with your work hours, just as you would in an office.
Avoid being distracted by social networks, television, or any other entertainment, and do not procrastinate.
The better you use your time, the more jobs you can do and therefore, you can generate more profits.
On the other hand, learning to manage your time will also guarantee that you can meet all the deliveries and deadlines.
8. Advertise Freelance Services
Social media is a great place to advertise freelance services and promote your products. With millions of people connecting to these platforms every day, they have become the largest showcase in the world.
It will be wise to take them into account if you want to gain a competitive advantage and reach as many potential customers as possible.
If you want to take a big step, you can create an ad to reach a greater number of potential customers, both on Instagram and on Facebook.
On these platforms, the ads have many segmentation options so the chances of getting new customers are very high and the best thing is that your ads will reach people who are your target or who are genuinely interested in what you offer.
9. Connect With Your Community
Clients are not the only element that will help you boost your business. If you want to become a reference within your niche and make important connections with other colleagues, you should get involved with your community.
You can use Facebook groups related to your work, make yourself known, interact with other members and get closer to other freelancers with whom you can make useful collaborations.
These connections will make your network grow, you will keep abreast of trends in your niche and you can get other freelancers to recommend you to other clients.
10. Learn How To Treat Clients
Clients are your greatest asset as a freelancer and they will always be a key part of the success of your business.
It is essential to learn how to win clients and also how to retain them because if you manage to convert them into long-term clients, you will gain stability and it will be beneficial for your business.
Remember that the hardest job you will do for a new client will always be the first. After that, you must maintain the employment relationship, because if they were happy with your previous job, they will count on you again.
Communication skills are a priority for clients when looking for a job with a new freelancer.
This does not mean that you should answer calls at 3 AM; It means talking to your customers, responding quickly to emails, and making time for meetings or video calls.
Clients want to feel part of the creative process, and you need to collect as much information as possible about their services or products and about the briefing. So keep the communication channels open and clear at all times.
11. Be Patient And Consistent
The fact of opening a business does not mean that you will generate income immediately.
It takes time and patience for people to know who you are, so stay focused on achieving your short-term goals and give yourself time as well.
Even when you are having a good streak with your business you can not lessen your effort. You should always keep working with a lot of courage and dedication, on good and bad days.
Never compare your growth with that of other colleagues or freelance businesses, as each process is different.
Do not pressure yourself to have results equal to those of others and instead focus on meeting and achieving your own goals, on giving the best of yourself, and on improving yourself more and more.
By being patient you will also avoid stress and burnout that your own expectations and demands can generate.
12. Create A Business Plan
It is often thought that a business plan is something that only belongs to large companies; but the truth is that regardless of whether it is a large company or a novice freelancer, the development of a business plan is a stage that every freelancer must go through.
Having a business plan has different aims that are extremely helpful, especially nowadays where due to the great existing competition, the chances of sustaining a business are challenging.
Having a plan in place is perfect for those times when you do not know what to do. You will be able to prioritize your short and long-term goals and the things that you should take care of before others.
Your business plan can be a representation of the model that you will follow to carry out all your business relationships.
Basically, it will be a graphic structuring of what the business is or will have to be and this will give you more control over it.
Finally, when looking for financing, a business plan allows you to demonstrate to third parties the viability and attractiveness of your freelance business and, therefore, help you to get it.
Financing is useful in case you do not have enough money but you need to renew your work equipment or acquire a new one.
13. Learn About Marketing
It is not enough that you are only an expert in your niche, but it is also necessary that you have knowledge about marketing so that you can get clients and sell your services.
Remember that being a freelancer, you most likely work alone, so you must be in charge of promoting your work yourself.
There are online course platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera where you can take courses to learn more about this topic.
If you propose to learn about marketing, how to sell your brand and how to reach clients and promote your work, you will be saving money since you will not have to hire anyone to take care of this.
Treat your freelance business as your brand. This also depends on the niche you will specialize in, but you can choose a name and even a logo for your freelance business.
This will help clients identify you, remember you, and make you easier to recognize.
Everyone has something that makes them particular. Turn that into something that identifies you and sets you apart from the rest of the freelancers in your niche.
In any case, if you do not want to take charge of this area of your business, it is also essential that you have the knowledge or basic notions on this subject for when you have to hire someone and supervise their work.
14. Don’t Let All Your Income Come From A Single Client
It may happen that you are working with a single client and everything is going great. The relationship flows smoothly, you have very good communication and the amount of work and earnings is appropriate.
But when you have a freelance business, clients can cut the relationship from one day to the next.
If that happens to you, you may lose your only source of income and become practically unemployed.
The best foresight you can take for this is to make sure you have multiple clients, even if you are a bit overworked. This way you will avoid unexpected situations that shake your stability.
15. Make Your Business Present At Networking Events
It is very likely that several networking events will take place in your city and you should attend to make yourself known.
To get the most out of it, it is good that you prepare a brief introduction of who you are and what you do, or what is known as an elevator pitch.
As you will not be able to talk to everyone, try to locate people in the event who can offer your services or who you think (at first glance) could be a good fit for you and your services.
Being present at these events will make people know about your freelance business.
You don’t know who you can meet and how they can help you. Your next colleague, partner, or investor may be at a networking event, so never forget your business cards.
16. Treat Your Business With Professionalism
The more seriously you treat your own business, the more professional the public will perceive you.
As mentioned in the beginning, having your own website is ideal for this, but there are other things you can do as well.
For example, by picking a good domain name for your website, getting a professional email, establishing a work schedule, setting up a telephone line that is exclusively for work matters, among others.
If you use all these elements when carrying a business and as clients contacts you, they will not feel that they are dealing with an amateur freelancer, but with a company, a great and successful business.
Strive To Keep Your Business Successful
To run a successful freelance business you should take the time to plan your goals and objectives, and invest in tools that lighten and optimize your work.
There are many businesses that can have a stroke of luck or growth, but if they did not learn how to stay there, maintain a steady stream of profits, and get loyal customers, it would have been useless.
The key is to work every day with great patience and perseverance, without comparing your growth with that of others but striving to do your best and obtain the best results.