5 tips for starting your own freelancing business

Whether you're just starting out as a freelancer, or find yourself in need of a new strategy for the year ahead, these five tips from Safrean Renee Moodie will help guide and grow your freelance business.  

1. You are a business not a freelancer

  • So do some planning – what do you offer, who do your offer it to, how will you find those people, how will you market yourself? What can only you offer? What is the name of your business? Decide what name you are going to use across all your branding at the very beginning.
  • Have business-like documentation – invoices, letterheads, an email signature, business cards.
  • Get a proper email address.
  • Figure out a way to keep track of the money – even it is just a notebook where you write what you have spent and what you have earned.
  • Set yourself some goals.
  • Work out what you need to get things started – make a list of all expenses you think you might have.

2. Internet/social media

  • Get yourself a domain (buy it now even if you only use it later) (Hetzner has a good domain search).
  • Get a website or a Facebook page.
  • If you can write, start a blog.
  • Clean up your social media accounts from the past – or hide your private ones, and start ones for your business.
  • Get a LinkedIn profile and a two-page CV and a one-page brochure.

3. Networking

  • Join a network relevant to your business (MeetUp is a good place to look for like-minded groups).
  • Network with other colleagues in your industry.
  • Join an association like SAFREA.

4. Money

  • If you have done all of the above, you might be able to get some seed capital because you will effectively have a business plan.
  • Or get whatever job you can and save, save, save until you have enough to start your business.
  • What to charge? Figure out what you need to live every month, how many hours you are prepared to work and then do the maths. And then compare to what others are charging in your industry. 

5. Get help

  • If you are a bad writer, pay someone to edit your work (perhaps offer trade exchanges).
  • If you are a bad speaker, get some lessons in how to improve.
  • Ask other people for advice – SAFREA or other industry associations.
  • Resources for small businesses –the city council, department of labour, local universities, banks.

About the author

Renee Moodie spent 30 years in print and online in journalism, learning everything there is to know about news, writing, editing, training, management and how to operate the office coffee machine. She's now running a web and editorial serviced business in Cape Town. This article first appeared on Renee's website, Safe Hands.  

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