So you think you’re ready to branch out as a freelancer, but you have a job you can’t quit – yet?
OK, sounds good. But there are several precautions to take in not risking your current position unnecessarily.
There’s a lot to keep in mind.
You have to be up-to-speed on branding yourself personally as well as your services. You must also know how to price and negotiate your services.
That’s just the starting point. Your timing must be good.
Prepare to work hard – launching a freelance business is harder than you’ve ever experienced in working for an employer.
You must have the right mindset before you quit your job.
Wait, there’s more:
1. Pick the right niche
You must pick the right sector – what’s likely to be in demand for many years to come – one in which you’ll be easily perceived as a guru.
To charge premium rates, you must be considered an expert. You can be more selective on projects if you’re construed as a specialist.
2. Set your private ground rules for your services
Initially, you need to know what you’ll do for clients and what you won’t. Why?
Unless you know, you’ll fall into a trap – clients will treat you like an employee even though you’re an independent contractor.
If you don’t have confidential ground rules for which to adhere, you’ll lose long-term focus on your goals.
Explain to prospects how you focus on results – not the hours you work for a project. In other words, you must control the dialogue to insure you develop a profitable practice.
You will accomplish this if you have your own ground rules for effective client service.
Make sure clients respect your boundaries. For instance, you never want to let a client get a second opinion about your recommendations. That’s one benefit from stellar branding.
3. Establish your pricing
Certainly, you need to establish value by not under-pricing. Know your value.
Otherwise, if you make a pricing mistake, it’s very challenging to abruptly start charging higher rates.
You’ll want to charge enough so you feel positive about over-delivering and provide added value, which will help you retain and attract good clients.
The bottom-line: Avoid typical pricing mistakes.
4. Know what an ideal client is for you
Distinguish the types of companies will need your services. Know where to find new sales opportunities, and brand yourself accordingly.
Research whether a prospect can afford you.
Before you pitch a client, get to know them well. When you meet, ask the right questions.
5. Develop the right marketing collateral
You must showcase your abilities. But it starts with a winning logo and slogan.
To pique the interest of potential clients: Create a great Web site with excellent value propositions and content that illustrates your ability and philosophy in deliverables, and good social media.
Make your site mobile friendly for a top Google ranking.
To lay the foundation for long-term growth, use the right tactics to attract repeat business.
6. Test the water
You can start freelancing before quitting your job. Put your best practices to work. Strive for new business that equals at least half of your current job’s pay.
So you must use good time management and control your stress level.
You’ll quickly learn how to pick the right clients, promise accurate delivery dates, and to manage your schedule.
7. Continually market your services
Even if you’ve filled all your time slots, aggressively continue to market your services. Avoid the mistake often made by your competitors.
Otherwise, when your projects end, you won’t have any new projects in your sales pipeline for a steady income.
8. Stay relevant
Continually read to stay current. Enhance your credibility to build credibility as your marketplace undergoes major changes.
Never stop learning to be trusted in the marketplace – strategize to stay at the top of your game.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional relevant strategies:
How to Get Great References for a New Job or Client — Whether you’re interviewing for a job or trying to entice a new client, don’t take your references for granted. They will be a big factor in influencing your success. You need to spend enough time and energy cultivating and selling your references, too.
Planning – Tips for Avoiding Growing Pains in Your Startup — After reading my article, How to Start a New Business Before You Quit Your Job, a reader asks: Q: Terry, Going into management and learning leadership skills (self-develop and mentored) are great tools no doubt. These can be vital once your new biz is off the ground.
Tips for Moms Who Want to be Entrepreneurs from Home — So, you have a job and would like to fire your boss to work at home. Let me caution you. Starting a business at home might be the biggest challenge of your life. Starting a home-based business has risks. It can sap your energy and time.
Responding to Negative Criticism Requires Professionalism — No one likes being criticized in their work. It’s difficult to hear and it’s understandable why many people make the mistake of being defensive. If you get negative feedback, it’s in your best interest to remain calm and receptive. It’s actually your responsibility – to yourself and the organization.
Management Checklist: Get a Running Start to Win the Race for Revenue Today — At least half a company’s obstacles to revenue success are actually internally driven. Are you struggling to keep your focus on revenue growth? You’re not alone. Successful businesspeople get in slumps and experience a lack of self confidence in their quests for revenue.
“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”