Starting a freelance business is one of the fastest, best ways to start an online business. You probably already have various skills gained through education and work experience. It is also a low-risk business model to start. There is no need to buy inventory or spend months creating software. Let’s take a closer look at why starting a freelance business is such a popular decision and how you can start your freelance business in one week.
Start your freelance business in one week!
- Why start a freelancing business?
- Are you ready to start a freelance business?
- Full-time freelancing vs. part-time freelancing: Which is right for you?
- The best option for beginners: Start a freelance business on the side!
- 9 steps to launch your freelance business in one week
- The only platform every freelancer needs
1. Why start a freelancing business?
There are several reasons why starting a freelance company is popular: earn income, grow your skills, and experience entrepreneurial freedom.
1.1. Minimal Startup Costs
Do you want to start a business but don’t want to take on debt, partners, or investors? If so, a freelance business model is a great choice. Starting a freelance business for $100 to $200 in your first year is possible.
1.2. Hiring Is Not Required
In some types of business, hiring and managing a team of employees is unavoidable. For example, a restaurant company requires the entrepreneur to hire a cook, servers, and other people. In a freelance company, you can run the company as a solo operation and earn a six-figure income.
1.3. Small Learning Curve
You help clients create results and solve problems using your skills as a freelance business owner. Sometimes, you may already have the skills you need to freelance! For example, you might have a 9-5 job as a web developer at a large company. In that case, you can quickly start a freelance business selling your web development skills. That said, most new freelancers find some new skills they need to develop, including sales, marketing, and accounting.
1.4. Speed To Revenue
Do you need to earn revenue in the next month or two? If so, a freelance business is a great choice. It’s possible to receive income in a matter of days in some cases. If you have a significant network of professional contacts, you might be one email away from landing a client!
In a freelance company, you control how much you work and when. Typically, a freelancer works from home when they want. There will still be deadlines to fulfill and client meetings to attend. However, you have the choice to take off Thursday and then catch up on Saturday if that schedule works better for your life.
1.6. Proven Business Model and Demand
Freelancing is a well-established business model. That’s a key benefit because many clients are used to working with freelancers. For example, large companies have annual budgets to pay for specialized consultants and freelancers.
That said, there is a downside to the popularity of freelancing. When you first start, setting yourself apart from other freelancers can be challenging. Don’t worry, though! Using the tips in this post you’ll have an advantage in starting your freelance business.
2. Are you ready to start a freelance business?
Use the following questions to consider what’s involved in a freelance company. Spending some time reflecting on these questions will help you to move faster once you start your company.
2.1. How much time do you have to invest in your business?
As a freelance business owner, the focused time you invest in your business is critical. Think about your other responsibilities (e.g., family care, your 9-5 jobs, etc.) for a moment. If you have at least 5-10 hours per week, that’s enough time to start your company.
2.2. What skills will you sell in your freelance business?
In-demand skills are the indispensable core of a successful freelance business. Generally speaking, businesses are willing to pay freelancers who can help make more money, save time or reduce risk. Here are a few examples of each type of skill.
2.2.1. Make More Money Freelancing Skills
- Sales coaching, training, and consulting
- Marketing skills (e.g., copywriting, content marketing, social media consulting, etc.)
- Technical consulting (e.g., business process improvement, making websites run faster)
2.2.2. Save Time Freelancing Skills
- Coding: this includes optimizing existing code and creating new capabilities
- Virtual assistant skills (e.g., helping clients with Internet research, travel planning, and administrative tasks)
- Accounting and bookkeeping skills
2.2.3. Reduce Risk Freelancing Skills
- Tax advice
- Legal advice
Usually, it is best to focus on making more time or saving time skills. It takes advanced expertise and selling skills to successfully land clients on reducing risk.
2.3. Does your network include potential clients?
As a new freelance business owner, people who already know, like, and trust you are your best source of leads. For example, you might have strong WordPress and web development skills and know several corporate IT managers from your past work.
You can also take an indirect approach to your networking for potential clients. Instead of asking someone directly for a freelance project, ask them for an introduction. For example, you might say, “I help Shopify store owners get more customers through SEO. Do you know anybody that runs an online store?”
Don’t give up hope if your network of contacts doesn’t have many opportunities. There are still ways to get clients as a freelancer. See the section below, which has a step-by-step guide to starting your freelance business, for additional tips.
2.4. How would you rate your sales skills on a scale of 0-10?
As a freelancer, you must learn how to sell yourself to clients. If you already have sales experience, give yourself a high score in this area. If you are new to sales, reading a few sales books like “SPIN Selling” and “To Sell Is Human,” will give you a grounding in the fundamentals.
2.5. Are you prepared to make mistakes and do things that may feel uncomfortable as you start your business?
Launching a business feels scary for a lot of people. What if a client asks you to create a freelance contract and hasn’t created one before? Don’t worry – there are free online resources you can use, like CheckYa’s sample freelance contract templates.
Be kind to yourself as you launch your business. Reading articles like this one will help you get started. Ultimately, there is no substitute for applying yourself to pitching clients, delivering work, and working to increase your rates over time.
2.6. Do you have $100 to $200 savings to start your business?
Unlike many other business models, starting a freelance business requires few expenses. is That said, there are some basic expenses you may want to consider. For example, you may want to register a domain name and professional email address. You may also want to set up an essential website.
As a new business owner, your primary investment in your business is time rather than money. If you can consistently invest 5-10 hours of work into your business, you can gradually make progress,
2.7. Why are you interested in starting a freelance business?
Getting clear on why you are starting your business is essential. You will face challenges and disappointments as you work to build your company. Make a list of the reasons why you’re excited to start freelancing. For instance, you might want to pay off a student loan or a large credit card balance. Or you might want to quit your 9-5 job and live the freelance lifestyle instead.
3. Full-time freelancing vs. part-time freelancing: Which is right for you?
Deciding whether to run your freelance business part-time or full-time is a personal decision. To help you make an informed decision, take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions.
3.1. What are your current life situation and responsibilities?
Take a few minutes to think about your life and responsibilities. For example, an unmarried person in their early 20s may feel comfortable taking the plunge to focus on their business full-time. On the other hand, a 30-year-old working professional with children might feel more at ease starting their business on a part-time basis.
Further, you might have a spouse with a high income who covers all or most of your household’s expenses. In that scenario, focusing all your effort on a full-time business may be feasible after you have successfully landed several clients.
3.2. Do you have an emergency fund?
Many newer freelancers struggle to achieve consistent revenue. It’s common to have a mix of profitable and low-earning months when you start your company. To mitigate this risk, it is wise to build up an emergency fund equal to three to six months of living expenses. Until you have saved up this emergency fund, it is probably wise to run your business on a part-time basis.
3.3. What are your goals for freelancing?
Some people start a freelance business because they want new experiences. For example, you might want to save up for a trip to Europe. You know the trip will cost at least $6000. In this situation, keeping your 9-5 job and starting a part-time freelance business would make sense.
3.4. How comfortable do you feel taking risks in life?
You have relatively little risk when you work as an employee, especially at a larger company. You probably never have to worry about your paycheck getting delayed. You can often focus entirely on your job’s core responsibilities. As a full-time freelancer, everything is on your shoulders! If you fail to satisfy your clients or consistently market yourself, your income will likely fall over time.
If you are the type of person who finds it hard to sleep when your investments fall in value, take a slower approach. There’s nothing wrong with working part-time on your business for a few months or longer to see if you can make the business model work.
3.5. How much entrepreneurial experience do you have?
Some freelancers have prior experience starting other businesses in the past. If you have successfully started another business and earned a good income, you may already have the skills required to succeed as a full-time entrepreneur. For everybody else, it is usually best to start your freelance business on a part-time basis. You can develop your skills, confidence, and savings by working mornings, evenings, and weekends.
4. The best option for beginners: start a freelance business on the side
For most people with traditional 9-5 jobs, it is best to start your freelance business on a part-time basis. By working on your business a few hours per week, you can gradually learn and grow your skills without the stress of wondering where your next meal is coming from! Use the following step-by-step guide to launch your business in the next week.
Your goal is to find 5-10 hours of work time each work to invest in the business. Half a weekend day and a few hours on weekdays is one way to do it. Experiment by cutting back on entertainment (e.g. no TV Thursdays) to free up your time.
5. 9 steps to launch your freelance business in one week!
Use these steps to launch your business in the next week! Open a notebook or a blank document on your computer and write a few notes under each question.
5.1. Clarify why you want to start a freelance business
Your first answer might be “to make more money” or “to have more freedom.” To fully understand your motivation, go a little deeper. Why is making more money important to you? You might want to pay off debt, save up for a house down payment or help a family member.
Once you are clear on your motivation, refer to this answer whenever you feel discouraged or need a boost.
5.2. Review your financial situation
Starting a freelance business usually costs about $100 to $200 at the very least. If you don’t have that many savings available, consider cutting back on expenses like streaming services to grow your savings.
In addition, it is also wise to set up a separate bank account for your business income and expenses. Keeping your business finances separate from your finances makes taxes and accounting much easier.
5.3. Make a list of your business skills
Most freelancers sell their skills to businesses, so make a list of your business skills. The best starting point is to look through your past work experiences. If you have launched your iOS app, you can help other companies with their mobile app development.
What if you have limited experience? For example, you might be a college student who has never held a job. In this case, you will need to develop freelance skills based on your interests. For example, if getting new customers sounds appealing, study copywriting and marketing. On the other hand, if you prefer to support people, offering virtual assistant services might be a better starting point.
Feeling utterly unsure of what kind of business to start? Check out our guide: Top 25 Small Business Ideas You Can Start With Minimal Costs.
5.4. Who are your ideal clients
Deciding who to serve is an essential decision for freelancers. Typically, it is best to focus on clients already used to spending money to solve specific problems. For example, finance managers are used to paying accountants to help them with taxes. Many entrepreneurs are used to paying for assistants to help them become more efficient.
Your ideal client profile will usually include the following elements:
- Job Title (e.g., marketing manager)
- Company Size (e.g., 50-200 employees)
- Location (e.g., United States)
- Problem (e.g. the marketing manager needs to get more traffic so that she can achieve the company’s growth goals)
5.5. Decide what services you will offer to clients
Your specific services depending on your skills and your client’s needs. It is best to keep things simple when you are first getting started. Look for the services that other freelancers are already successfully selling. Pretend to be a client looking for a freelancer for 10 minutes and see what other freelancers offer.
For example, imagine you need a website redesign to support your company’s goals. Do a Google search for “freelance web developers” and see how other developers describe their services.
For example, you might want to offer business coaching services. Research the specific types of coaching that business owners are already paying for, and then adapt your coaching services accordingly.
5.6. Choose your initial pricing for your business
There are a few points to consider when setting your freelance business pricing. Start by reviewing what other freelancers offering a similar service are charging. In addition, reflect on the value your services provide to the client.
Starting with a simple hourly rate of $20-$50 per hour is a good starting point for many entry-level freelancers. As you gain experience, you can update your prices with each new project.
5.7. Set up your online presence for business
Your next step is to set up your online accounts for your business. At a minimum, update your social media profiles and make a post about your business. It is especially important to update your LinkedIn profile because clients will most likely look you up on that platform.
Adding details about projects and certifications you have earned is one way to show your credibility. For instance, earning a Google certificate is one way to show you have learned the fundamentals of online business.
5.8. Use cold outreach to get clients
As a brand-new freelance business owner, you can’t expect people to reach out to you. Therefore, your responsibility is to contact potential clients and pitch them on your services. Every business day, spend 15-60 minutes using the following options to get in front of clients.
- Contact relevant people in your network to offer your services
Reach out to people in your network who match your ideal client profile. For example, if you help IT, managers, with website security, then only contact people in your network who work in IT roles. To stand out, even more, offer your first three clients a 50% discount if they provide you with a written testimonial.
- Use Fiverr to get initial experience
Fiverr.com is an online marketplace where people buy and sell services. Studying successful freelancers on Fiverr is a helpful exercise, even if you don’t plan to use the website. You can see how freelancers present their services, price their services and see what clients care about through the reviews they write.
If you decide to use Fiverr to get clients, it is best to use the service for a limited time, like 3-6 months. Ultimately, it is best to have a direct relationship with clients so you can charge prices that reflect your value.
If Fiverr.com is not a good fit for you, try looking at other freelance platforms like Upwork.com or Freelancer.com
- Contact potential businesses with personalized cold email
Sending direct messages and emails to potential clients is one of the best ways to get clients as a freelancer. This practice is called cold email because you are starting the relationship cold – the recipient has not heard of you.
Unfortunately, many people fail with this outreach for a few reasons. First, they send the same message to large numbers of people. Second, their emails have errors, including writing messages. Third, their messages fail to follow best practices for cold email.
To learn the fundamentals of cold email as a freelance, study Alex Berman’s YouTube videos (e.g. The Best Cold Email Template to Get Clients and 14 Most Common Cold Email Mistakes And How To Avoid Them).
5.9. Reinvest in your business growth
Did you know that there are freelancers who earn $100,000 and much more in their business? That success is possible when you have patience, deliver good results and reinvest in your business’s success.
As a beginner freelancer, start small with your efforts to invest in your business. You might beginner books like “100 Side Hustles” by Chris Guilebeau or “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port. Reading a few books like this and consistently applying yourself to grow your business is essential.
As you become an intermediate freelancer earning at least $3,000 per month, you can invest in coaches and consultants to help you grow your business even further.
6. The Only Platform Every Freelancer Needs.
Regardless of the service you offer to clients, it’s critical to have a way to get paid! When you start your freelance business, use CheckYa to send invoices and get payments directly into your bank account. Click here to sign up for CheckYa today.