As I explained in the previous post, a freelancer is probably best described as someone who “works for different companies at different times, rather than being permanently employed by any one company”.
Normally based at home and equipped with only a desk, a computer and an internet connection. The costs involved in setting yourself up as a freelancer are minimal. I set up my business for well under £2000 and that included a super duper MacBook Pro and all the software to go with it.
In a nutshell, a freelancer is someone who:
- Provides a service to their clients on a self-employed basis. Freelancers are self-employed and are responsible for everything from defining their offering, setting the pricing for their services and billing their clients.
- Works remotely most of the time. Typically, but not always, freelancers work on a remote basis with little or no contact with their clients’ bar via phone, Skype or email. That said, there are a small number of freelancers who work, at least on a part-time basis, in their clients’ offices. I live and work in South West France and have clients as far away as Melbourne and as close as 500m!
- Is self-employed. That said, the low set up costs associated with freelancing and the scope of the skill required to be a success is what makes this option such a great first step in securing your financial future through self-employment.
- Is a great all-rounder. Freelancers are responsible for defining and packaging their offering, finding and converting their clients, doing the work and sending out and chasing up the bills as well as probably the bookkeeping. So, it could be said that a great freelancer needs to be a master of all the elements of running a business.
Irrespective of whether you want to become a freelance copywriter like me; if your skills are more IT related or you want to offer a straightforward data entry or typing service to your clients, it’s essential to clearly define what it is you’re offering. There’s little point saying to your clients that you can do pretty much anything, because that’s likely to lead them to expect that you’re jack-of-all-trades and master of none ;-). Defining your offering before you start to promote yourself is essential and something we’ll cover later in the course.
Once you’ve defined what you will offer, you need to do some research to suss out your competitors. When you’re doing this, you need to remember that competition can be direct and indirect, so think out of the box for this one. It may well be that recruiting a freelancer is only one of your potential client’s options and because of that, needs to be more attractive than the others for you to win the business. Again, we’ll look in more detail at this later.
Offer defined and competition analysed, you then need to start looking at who is likely to need your service sufficiently that they’ll be prepared to pay you. Defining your target market is an extremely important part of your promotional process and will save you a whole lot of wasted time and effort if you get it right at the outset. Once more, we’ll be looking at this element of freelancing later.
These things, alongside a great sales process and strong admin are what will make your freelance experience above and beyond the rest. I know, because it’s all of these things that have allowed me to live the dream!