How do I Start a Freelance Business?
What a coincidence! I have an entire course on this question. It’s almost as if I heard this question a ton and created an educational product that could give a detailed, satisfactory answer.
And there is a lot to learn, but for the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on the first 4 steps you need to take when starting to freelance. The first 3 are especially important because you should complete them before moving on to anything else.
1. Select a Role
Your role, the job you perform with your industry, will inform much of the rest of the preparations you make to start freelancing. You probably already know what craft you want to work in, but a craft is not a role. In video, for example, there are about a hundred positions in which you could potentially work and most crafts have at least a few. The narrower you can make your role the better you’re going to do. A copywriter is always going to be less compelling than a website copywriter who focuses on the healthcare industry.
2. Create a Career Strategy
Before you start running you should know your destination. Where do you want to end up at the peak of your career? It’s important to know where you’re going but it’s also important to know where you are. If you haven’t worked in the industry yet, where is a realistic entry point? If you have, what type of work does your experience suit you for that will help lead you to your goal? Once you know where you are and where you’re going, figure out the steps you need to take to get to your goal. It might be simple and straightforward or it might require a few pivots. You may not precisely follow the course you’ve charted but it will at least help you keep heading in the right general direction.
3. Select a Target Client
A target client is a snapshot of the ideal kind of client you want to work for. Like with your role, the more narrow your target client, the easier everything else will be. Identify everything you can about your ideal client. What type of work would you be doing for them? How big is the organization? What sector are they in? Who is the decision maker on hiring freelancers? Who provides creative direction? It can help to pick a single, real company as a prototype and then find other organizations that are similar.
4. Build a Slammin Portfolio
After you complete the first 3 steps, there are a number of other things you need to do to start freelancing and you can really do them in any order you please. The reason I’ve singled out creating a portfolio is because it will be your most powerful sales tool and something virtually every client will want to see. In fact, if a client doesn’t want to see a portfolio you probably don’t want to work with them. An ideal portfolio is not only full of great work but the selected work is extremely relevant to the kind of gigs you’re looking for.
If you want more information on starting a freelance career you can, of course, check out my comprehensive course. If you’re not sure you’re ready to get started or that I have any idea what I’m talking about, you can start with my free intro course– it includes a short video on getting started, complete with a checklist.