What is your best guidance for turning into a full time proficient consultant? At the end of the day, many individuals request that I furnish them with a formula for outsourcing achievement, at the danger of baffling you, I’ll introduce this by saying there is no “one size fits all” way to deal with building an effective independent business.
In any case, there are sure field-tried rules that should fill in as models for how to do independent function. Despite whether you do visual communication, web advancement, or independent composition.
1. Always get a down payment
One of the greatest issues you find out about outsourcing isn’t getting paid on time or getting stiffed by the customer.
I’ve fortunately never encountered this, yet that is on the grounds that I take after a straightforward procedure when beginning an undertaking.
To ensure installment 100% of the time, you should require an up front installment.
For all ventures I go up against, I require half forthright before I begin any official plan work, and I make this obvious to the customer in our fundamental exchanges and in my agreements.
In the event that the customer has an issue with this, at that point that should raise a warning.
Quite possibly they have never contracted for independent administrations, however it should at present raise your monitor.
Clarify that this game plan is an insurance for the two gatherings and that the venture can’t push ahead without it.
On the off chance that they decline once more:
They most likely aren’t somebody you ought to work with at any rate.
Once I’ve gotten the agreement marked and initial installment, I’m ready on beginning the work.
At that point before I convey any serviceable documents, I require the last half installment.
I do this so the customer doesn’t take what I’ve made, drop the undertaking, and run.
So before you’ve completely been ponied up all required funds, determination.
By putting these straightforward practices into your procedure, you can ensure that you’ll never be ripped off.
2. Use a contract on every project
If you’re just beginning to learn how to freelance, let me help you avoid making one of the most common mistakes I see.
Use a contract for EVERY client project.
But, don’t get bogged down in finding the perfect contract.
Starting off with a template is okay, as long as you remember to keep making improvements along the way.
Too many freelancers get caught up in the details of contracts, and it’s ultimately wasting a lot of time that should be spent making money.
All you need for the time being is a general agreement that covers some basic, yet important terms that both you and the client need to agree upon.
In its simplest form, your contract terms should cover:
- The work that you produce is original and not plagiarized.
- The client’s proprietary information stays confidential.
- Your payments terms. (How much you’ll get paid and when during the process.)
- That once the client accepts the completed work, they accept full responsibility for any further processes in which the work is used (e.g. printing, putting the logo to use, etc.)
- You and the client have the right to terminate the services, and what that entails for you both.
Having some basic terms in place for every project will help protect you, but more importantly, will help inform the client of how you work.
I’ve put together a general freelance contract for you to work off of. It’s not intended to cover every type of situation, but it can help get you started.
View my sample freelance contract »
Once you have your contract, your client can then physically print, sign, and return, or digitally sign.
I’m not a legal professional nor does the sample above cover every situation.
If things are starting to take off and you’re making large amounts of money from a single project:
Then you might want to get a legal professional involved to craft a specific contract for the job.
3. Split your income for taxes and savings
If you’re serious about freelancing, then start separating your income and savings.
For every dollar I make that’s business related, I split it up like this:
- 12% to Business (for business-related expenses)
- 16% to Business Taxes (this will save my butt when it comes tax time)
- 12% to Personal Savings
- What’s left over goes into my personal checking for living expenses
I’m not saying this is the way to handle and split your finances, but it’s what works for me.
What’s important here is putting a minimum of 16% of every dollar earned towards taxes.
It’s the same concept of an employer taking taxes out of your paycheck.
Once it comes tax time, you’ll then use this savings to pay what’s due. (I recommend paying quarterly, so you’re not dealt one large payment in April.)
4. Don’t afraid to Reject
Saying no is hard, especially if you’re like me:
Generous and want people to feel happy working with you.
You don’t want to disappoint anyone, so you offer to help any way you can, not really considering the strenuous load it’ll put on you.
No matter what you do, you’ll disappoint someone.
Whether it be the client because you’re unable to deliver halfway through the project, your family because you’re working long hours, or yourself because you’re so stressed with the work you’ve chosen to take on.
So you must get comfortable with turning down work if it’s ultimately not for you or your availability.
To help determine if you should take on a project, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I specialize in the work that’s needed by this client?
- Why am I taking this project on? Is it a commitment I should be making?
- Why am I adding that project to my plate?
The worst thing about taking on everything that comes your way is that your plate may end up full, but with all of the wrong commitments.
You’re stressed, anxious, and the worst part:
Now you’re left with no room to take on that golden opportunity.
You can’t say yes to your ideal client if you never say no to the wrong ones.
Next time you get a project, don’t just reply with a yes:
Really consider the opportunity, ask yourself those questions above, and proceed with a conscious decision for your future and wellbeing.
5. Showcase the work you want to take on
This tip runs as an inseparable unit with the past tip of centering your independent business, however I believe is a point worth expounding on.
Numerous consultants wrongly fill their portfolio with work just to demonstrate that they have a type of ability in outline.
However, regularly, the work just puts on a show of being everywhere, and will just do your portfolio a damage.
There’s a distinction between an independent business portfolio and a school portfolio:
Your independent portfolio should just contain the work you spend significant time in and need to keep tolerating by means of customer work.
The work can comprise of past customer work or even individual work.
Have you at any point heard somebody say, “Dress for the activity you need, not the one you have?”
Indeed, with regards to your portfolio, you need to give work that adjusts the independent occupations you need, not really the ventures you at present have.
Suppose you have practical experience in logo plan:
On the off chance that that is the thing that you need to be known for then you should just exhibit logo extends in your independent portfolio.
That’ll be what pulls in and causes potential customers choose to run with you over another independent originator whose portfolio may be everywhere.
6. Be transparent with your clients
As a consultant, your business is simply you running it back to front.
That is something you should be glad for, so don’t hole up behind an exterior:
Be the name and face of your business, in light of the fact that your business is you.
From a customer’s point of view, if I somehow managed to procure you to give an administration, I would need to know who I’m giving my cash to.
So make certain to infuse your identity into your image. You can shape that anyway you’d like, however the key is to be friendly.
Additionally, when a customer is keen on working with you, be straightforward in speaking with them.
In the event that you just interpretation of independent open doors low maintenance, let them know.
Else, you could keep running into a circumstance where desires are misaligned and clashes fly up subsequently.
On the off chance that they will contract you, disclose to them how your procedure functions.
Demonstrate your enthusiasm for them and their business, at that point separate what they can expect by working with you well ordered.
Being straightforward isn’t a shortcoming, it enables work to trust and certainty, and can be what takes care of business in a proposed venture.
7. Write, write, write
This is the most imperative tip I can offer you to take your outsourcing to the following level:
What’s more, that is to compose.
I couldn’t care less on the off chance that you don’t believe you’re a decent author.
Composing is the entryway to getting your name out there, having customers discover you, and to really develop yourself as an individual and specialist.
I for one don’t believe I’m an awesome essayist, and you can just envision how I felt about my written work multi year prior.
It accompanies hone.
I owe all that I’ve achieved this previous year to my composition.
All that I do—regardless of whether it’s a blog entry, a pamphlet, a book, a video, or an email to a customer—everything begins with composing.
In the event that you need an entire summary of why composing is basic to your outsourcing, at that point I exceedingly suggest you watch this video via Sean McCabe:
Everything Starts With Writing
Ideally, in the wake of perusing this post you’ll look at Sean’s video and be persuaded that you have to begin composing promptly.
8. Focus on the now
Watch your feet so you don’t trip while looking at the end goal.
You know where you want to be one day, so focus on what you can do now to end up there.
Too many freelancers get hung up on envying those they aspire to be.
If you wish to have a reliable client base, a product that can help supplement your income, or if you don’t want to have to rely on a single client to make a living, then what are you doing today to make that happen?
Make a daily to-do list with small tasks that you can easily complete by the end of the day.
Progress is progress.
And if you start taking it one step at a time towards your long term goals:
The sooner you’ll get there.
9. Know your numbers
A lot of freelancers handle themselves like contractors when they should really be viewing themselves as small businesses.
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re not a business owner, and every good business owner needs to know their numbers.
- Business revenue (How much do you need to make per month to live?)
- Site traffic (Where is it coming from? What’s your most popular content?)
- Link conversion rates and content interactivity (What calls-to-action are working? What pages aren’t getting views and need to be removed altogether?)
- The amount of time you spend on certain types of business activities (and how much you’re estimating and/or charging for)
Knowing these numbers will shed light on the areas that are working for you and what areas need improvement.
Take a look at your monthly revenue.
Find out where your business income is coming from (what clients, type of projects, passive income), and focus more on those areas that are producing the most results.
If you’re steadily earning $100+ a month selling products on your Creative Market shop, then consider producing more items to sell.
See where most of your traffic is coming from or what type of content is most popular, then do more of that.
If you’re getting a lot of traffic from a guest post you wrote, reach out and write another guest post.
10. Focus your freelance business
If you’ve followed my writing for a while now, you’ll know I share quite frequently about focusing your freelance business and the importance of it.
I continue to share this tip because I regularly get message after message from freelancers who seem to be stuck.
They can’t find enough work and they struggle to get their name out there.
By focusing your brand identity and the type of projects you take on, it’ll make everything much easier for you:
From marketing to charging higher rates to actually delivering the work.
Pick one or two services to specialize in, and only take on work that falls into those categories. Then turn down the rest.
Once you’ve decided on the services you now specialize in, be sure to translate that into your personal brand.
Reword everything on your website for those keywords and phrases, only showcase that type of work in your freelance portfolio, and start producing content around those services to prove your expertise.
All of this is a byproduct of marketing, which in turn will drive traffic and new freelance projects your way.
So, there you have it:
My ten best tips for freelancers who want to lay the foundation for a thriving, sustainable freelance business.
You don’t have to take these as gospel, but if you bumped into me in a coffee shop and asked me to give you my best freelancing advice, this collection captures everything I would tell you.
Since I’ve put these tips into my work process, I’ve seen some major growth, and I hope you were able to extract some value from them.
Did you find any of these tips useful? Do you have your own variation of one of these tips?