The definition of entrepreneurship is “the activity of making money by starting or running businesses,” especially when there is financial risk involved. For many people, the title entrepreneur summons up images of someone who is setting up a young hip tech startup or pouring everything they have into developing a new product or business idea. How many people imagine that an entrepreneur could be someone sitting at a desk in their small home office writing copy for local businesses or designing marketing materials for a countrywide restaurant chain?
As a freelance writer, I’ve learned that very few people consider freelancers as entrepreneurs. Yet, in fact, they are the very definition. After many years working for myself with private and business clients, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that apply to entrepreneurs and freelancers alike, here are key lessons every freelancer should learn.
Don’t Quit the Day Job (Yet!)
The motivation for starting out by yourself comes in many forms. (What was it for you? A need for flexibility, a dislike of a current job, a million-dollar idea!?) Whatever the motivation, it can create a sizeable chunk of excitement that makes you want to quit the day job and get started. Before you jump ship and starting swimming toward your dream, you need a plan.
Consider how you will finance your new venture and if you will need to invest in any particular equipment, software, or training. It can be worth hanging on to the day job for this alone. Saving a portion of your income to set up your business.
As you plan, you can dip your toe in the freelancing water. Taking on one of two freelance tasks in advance of officially going it alone enables you to spot any potential bumps in the road, unforeseen expenses, and time management issues you might not have factored in otherwise. Having that steady income from your day job whilst you get on your feet creates a safety net as you transition to working for yourself.
Don’t Ignore the Boring Stuff
Some people thrive in an environment of numbers and administration. Others would rather bury their heads and pretend accounting and contracts don’t exist. Get a head start on this and sign up for a bookkeeping course or business starter evening course to learn the ropes. When you understand these things, the challenge is halved.
“As a freelancer, you have to establish the fee, bill the client, balance the books, and pay the tax all by yourself. None of this can be based on guesswork.” Says, Richard Conan, a content marketer at 1day2write and Nextcoursework. “Stay on top of your accounts and administration for a stress-free freelance experience”.
As a freelancer, you might be tempted to offer a bunch of services to absolutely anyone who needs them. Though it might seem like a logical way to ensure constant income, diluting your brand in this way can actually do the opposite. Instead, choose one or two to areas which you are strongest in and offer these as your services.
Focus for freelancers is also vital in regard to how you work. Good time-management means getting better work done in a set time period. To do this, you need to avoid the many tempting distractions around you and focus on getting the work in with the time you have available but also ahead of your client’s deadline.
One major error made by freelance entrepreneurs is believing that work will magically fall into their laps as word spreads. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, what you have to remember is that you have to be the one spreading the word.
“To market yourself well, you must know who your target audience is. It is never ‘everyone’. Drill down and work out who it really is,” Advises, Andi Williamson, a freelance writer at Britstudent and Write My X.
By first knowing who the target audience is for your freelance services, you will then be able to better understand where to market. For example, if your target audience are jobs seekers who you can assist with resumes and application letters, you might find them on LinkedIn and Facebook and should market yourself there. But, if your target audience is local business owners, then your marketing efforts will probably be best spent focusing on local business forums and networking.
Slow and Steady
As a freelancer, you become all departments of the business including accounting, marketing, Human Resources, and business development. Take your time to get yourself ready to become a freelancer so that you can learn these necessary skills first. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
About the Author
Beatrice is a professional copywriter from the Hartford region who contributes to Research Paper Help, AcademicBrits, Thesis Writing Service, and more. As a seasoned freelancer she enjoys helping others get started in the freelance world.