Looking for a career change or recently lost your job? Starting a freelance business can be a scary time for anyone to do, but might be the right choice for you.
IPSE records 2.2 million people in the UK are stating that their main occupation is a freelancer. With the 2020 pandemic, more people chose to start freelancing.
If you’re wanting a career change and start freelancing quickly, use this 3 step plan. A 3 step plan that gives you a plan and tools to get clients.
Should you start freelancing?
Anyone can start freelancing, but should you? There are many pros and cons to freelancing, but in the end, it all comes down to if you want to be an employee or a freelancer.
A common misconception people have before they embark on their freelancing journey is that you need skills and money, to begin with. But in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Do you have the skills to make it as a freelancer?
Any good at customer services, sales, graphic design, writing, or a piece of technology? Then you’ve got a skill to monetize.
Just work out how you can package the skill up and sell it.
Don’t have any skills? If you’ve had a real look at your experience and can’t pick a skill you’re good at then you have another option.
Another option is to pick a target market that you’re passionate about helping. Helping with a specific problem and deciding what skill they need.
Learn these skills, package up an offer, and sell the package to your target market.
Other skills that you need as a freelancer is
- Self motivation
These other skills are rarely spoken about to someone considering freelancing. But they’re so important if you’re going to make it as a freelancer.
Make it as a freelancer with these skills so you can get in front of your ideal client and be resilient to any knockback.
It’s not just the knockback, it’s also having to learn to deal with clients.
But hey you don’t learn these skills, just take a look at your life skills and learn from those experiences.
Learn from any times when you’ve had to be resilient, chatting on social media to get something, even pitching parents for something you want.
We’ve all got life skills. Embrace those life skills and use them to your advantage to make your money.
Start freelancing with no money
Back in the beginning, I started with nothing but a dream, some skills and a passion. 10 years later, I have no desire to look back and go back into employment.
You too can start with no money and build a freelance business.
Of course, money can help but it’s not needed. Just take a look at all the resources you’ve got right now.
Look at how you can use the tools you’ve already got and use these for your freelance business.
There are countless amounts of free YouTube videos and podcasts to help you learn the skills. Don’t forget the subscriptions to tools that give you a free trial or even a free forever account.
Free forever accounts such as GetResponse and Tailwind to begin with. Just take a look around at the tools and what free offers they give.
Choosing your niche to do freelancing in
Choosing your niche can either be started with the service you want to offer or the group of people you want to help.
Deciding your niche with the service you offer
What service is it that you can offer the world? Can you offer your copywriting, graphic design, or maybe even digital marketing skills? Whatever skills you can offer the world, you can niche down from there.
Niche down by deciding who you want to work with and need those skills.
For example, you do graphic design work. The people you tend to talk to online are female life coaches.
In this instance, female life coaches would be your niche.
You can then narrow it down further and can offer specific graphic design skills, such as book designs, web design, or social media designs.
This is choosing your niche based on what skill you already have. But what if you have the problem the other way around. What do you do then?
Finding your niche using your existing network
You’re a social butterfly whether online or offline and have created a network.
Your network is made up of similar people. Even if the only thing in common is that they have a small business, they still have a common trait.
Listen to your network. What’s the common struggle they are all dealing with right now? Use this knowledge of their common struggle to guide you in what freelancing skill to learn, package and sell.
Now you’ve got your niche when you just have an existing network but no skills. But what happens when you’ve got neither.
This can be quite common when you look at your resume and all you see is just some low skilled work. But there is still a way to get a freelancing niche even when you don’t have a following or skill to offer.
What to do when you don’t have a following or skills to offer
Don’t have a following or skills to offer? Here’s what to do instead.
Take a look at your hobbies and interests
Let’s say you love to listen to podcasts in your spare time. You’re sitting in your car listening to a podcast on Spotify and they add a hook to go to their website.
Later on that day you take a look at their website and what you see, you just see problems.
This is when the difference between a freelancer and an employee kicks in. An employee would just ignore the problems. But a freelancer wouldn’t, they would monetize the problem.
A freelancer would create an offer and sample to fix the errors.
Because ultimately a freelancer is just this. Freelancers are problem solvers.
This is your third way to get started choosing your niche. Problem-solving when you see an error you can fix.
After you’ve spotted the error, you package up an offer (along with a sample), and pitch the offer.
Setting up your systems
Freelancers need systems.
Systems help freelancers to stay on track of getting clients and working with clients. Using a system you’ll be able to stay productive whilst you’re working in your freelance business.
To help you decide what systems you need, you’ve got to work out how you’re going to get freelance work.
Will you be using
- Freelance marketplaces
- Cold pitching directly to the client
These different types of models require different things for you to consider. How will you get clients and get paid.
Which platform will you get freelance work from?
Will you need to send out invoices yourself or is there a system already in place for the platform of your choice?
What marketing method do you need to attract and get clients?
Everyone has a different preference for how they get freelance clients. For me, I prefer to use freelance marketplaces as it gives me the security I’ll get paid.
To get freelance clients, I use social media platforms and position myself as an expert. Then in the social media bio is the opportunity to work with me.
Also, I use social media to pitch potential clients and if they want to work with me go to my profile on the freelancing marketplace.
What platforms and systems do you want to use to attract and get clients?
What tech will you need to support your freelance business?
Freelancers need tech to support their freelance business. Tech to help with
- Getting clients
Tech is important in starting a freelance business as without tech, you’re not moving with the times.
Businesses that you’re working with are moving with the times and how they reach customers.
Therefore, you need to embrace tech and move with the times so you don’t get stuck in the dark ages.
Here are 5 of the tech tools out there you need to start a freelance business.
Pipedrive is a CRM tool that helps you to track your relationship with your leads. From freezing cold lead to a red hot buyer.
Not only that, but it helps you to improve your sales and scale-up.
Acuity is an appointment scheduler that allows potential clients to book consultations with you.
You give a link on your social media, website, or email. Then the potential client clicks the link and is shown your schedule.
Clients can then choose a time that suits both you the freelancer and the client.
Zoom existed long before 2020 and the demand for video calling people just shot up due to Covid 19.
Freelancers have been using Zoom to talk to prospective clients and close sales.
Create a free Zoom account and invite prospective clients about how you can help them. Talking to them in this way will give you an edge above your competitors.
Tide Business Account
Having a separate bank account for your freelance business is always advisable.
Tide business account is a perfect choice for freelancers. Perfect choice as they have a low volume of transactions.
If clients don’t want to pay straight to a bank account, offering to accept payments via PayPal is always a great alternative.
Additionally, you can add PayPal buttons to your invoices, email, or website so clients can pay directly.
If clients do prefer to pay you via PayPal, then you can link your Tide business account to this so that you can retrieve your earnings.
Before you can get sales, marketing is needed.
Marketing is essential in starting a freelance business. Without marketing your freelance business, how will anyone know about your freelance services?
Before you start posting on social media like you’re the next Kardashian or making viral videos for YouTube. You need to check out these 5 different options you have.
I advise that you take a nice mix of different marketing channels. Each of these 5 marketing channels attracts potential clients differently.
Only doing one marketing method will really not widen your net to catch freelance clients.
Let’s get it over with, the marketing method you need to pay for with real money, not just time and effort.
Using Google Ads is a very effective tool, but you need to be driving traffic to a specific lead capture page to fill your CRM with leads to follow up with.
Additionally, you need to choose the right keyword. A keyword with a good volume of traffic and a cost per click (CPC) that fits your budget.
Facebook groups are how I got my first clients and continue to do so 10 years later.
There are 3 different types of Facebook groups you should join
- Your target market
- Support group for people in your niche
- Job board for your niche
Whenever you join a Facebook group, you want to check that it’s not a spammy group but a fit for why you want to join it.
After joining a Facebook group and you want to stay, make sure that you introduce yourself.
Then turn on notifications for all posts and interact with them. This will make people notice you and want to get to know who you are.
Get to know you to become a client or collaborate with you to grow your freelance business.
Utilize collaborations to grow your freelance business in these 3 different ways.
- Writing a guest blog
- Be a guest on a podcast
- Be a guest on a webinar or video training
By guest contributing in these ways can widen your audience and position you as an expert in your niche.
There are 2 myths we have to address about Pinterest before we go any further.
- Pinterest is a social media network
- Pinterest is just for beauty, home design, and fashion bloggers
Firstly, Pinterest is a search engine.
Use it to benefit you by creating pins for keywords relevant to your niche and link it to your website or lead capture page.
Secondly, Pinterest is used by all sorts of businesses. Just take a look by typing into the search bar your niche. Then ask yourself
- What’s working for them?
- What do their pins look like?
Give Pinterest a shot. You might be surprised by the results.
LinkedIn is a fantastic way of getting to speak to the owner of a business that you want to work with.
Always having an up and down relationship with LinkedIn, I’ve always found it useful in getting new leads and building more relationships.
If you’re going to be using social media at all to market your freelance business, you need to lay the foundations. Lay the foundations with a social selling strategy.
In A Nutshell,
Starting a freelance business is tough but well worth it. Though when you have a marketing strategy, tools, and a strong mindset you are on your way to starting a freelance business. If you’re wanting more help in starting a freelance business, my mentor Michelle Dale has a fantastic offer for you to help you kickstart you’re business and get you’re first client guarantee.
Her offer is a 12 week one to one program targeted for virtual assistants, freelancers, and online business managers. At the end of the 12 weeks, you’ll have a clear-cut system for your freelance business and your very first client.
If you don’t secure your first client in the 12 weeks, Michelle will keep working with you until you do.