About to quit your job?  Here's how to work for yourself

About to quit your job? Here’s how to work for yourself

You have transcended your job, your manager, working from home, the clients you serve and trying to be everything to everyone, solving other people’s problems except your own.

You are exhausted. You have drafted your resignation letter. You are ready to quit smoking and want to be self-employed.

This is how to organize to make the transition to freelance work as smooth as possible.

Be clear about your role

If you are a freelance writer who specializes in baseball reports, you can become a true expert in your profession, which is important when targeting your ideal client. The more specific you are about your offer, and how your skills and services will help the client solve their problem(s), the more money you will make, and the more likely you are to enjoy your job as a freelancer. Once you’re clear about what you do and don’t do—for example, a baseball writer might not handle fashion magazine interviews—find a way to talk about your show in two or three sentences. This quick summary is your “presentation” when you’re trying to land a job and grab the attention of a potential client.

Define your target audience and how you will reach them

Who do you want to work with? Why are they so great? Not sure where to start? Think about a time when you were working on something useful and exciting, and when the result of the work exceeded everyone’s expectations. Who are the relevant stakeholders and what makes them great partners to work with? You’ll need more of these types of customers on your list and less annoying customers who only act as roadblocks.

Now, make a list of those awesome clients (and people), where they work and start networking! If you work with an agent—maybe you’re a high-end corporate photographer and need an agent to put your foot in the door—they can do the networking for you. Once you attend a meeting, don’t forget to ask if they know of other people who could use your services as well.

Mass emails directed to people you don’t know will not work. Instead, take time to really connect to your network. And make sure you have a well-designed site that you can direct potential customers to.

Form your pricing strategy

Make friends with other freelancers and advisors. Ask what they charge and how they arrived at their prices. Crawl on freelance websites to get similar prices. You will earn business if you charge well for the value delivered. Fun fact – the lowest price doesn’t mean you’ll get the deal. In fact, it can work against you and may send a message to the potential client that you lack experience. Do your research and maybe test your prices for a few months to get feedback.

Do the best job you’ve ever done (and highlight the best of the past)

The fastest way to gain more business is to open doors to customer expectations. If they love working with you, and love the results of your work together, your business will grow. You are also likely to get referrals to other potential clients. Ask for customer testimonials and always keep your business portfolio up to date; You may find it useful to publish both on your website. If you had great work from previous projects before you worked independently, include that work in your portfolio as well.

Be ahead

The reason we hire freelancers and consultants is because they have something unique to offer (otherwise it would be working at home). My advice is to follow up on what you’ve learned – new trends, technologies that can make your business better, etc. Make sure that the proposals you craft demonstrate the uniqueness of your skills, so that your contributions are considered invaluable.

Organize your money

If you’re serious about freelance work or consulting for your career, talk to your accountant about the right business structure (for example, a sole proprietorship or corporation). You will also need to create your own banking services. To keep your business and personal banking organized and separate, it is usual to have a basic business operating account where money is deposited and bills are paid, including your personal income. I also recommend a tax account where you set aside a portion of your earnings for future taxes, and a profit account where you set aside money just for you for the future. Keep your costs low in order to maximize your profits.

As the pool of freelancers is growing faster than at any time in history, it is crucial to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Focus on what will make you an unmissable resource for the people you really want to work with.

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