Freelance working is something of a dream for many workers in the UK. By going solo, you can utilise your skills and experience to maximise income while maintaining control of your schedule and growth. And now may well be the best time to go for it.
According to a recent study, freelancers are in particularly high demand across industries, despite a fall in the number of freelancers. This heightened demand is the closest a freelancer can get to guaranteed work – but what would you need to do to get off the ground the right way?
Planning Your Strategy
The most valuable asset you have when it comes to building your business is not necessarily your skills or niche, but rather your strategy. Even if you happen to be the best in your field, your unique skill set will count for very little without the right plan to back it up.
Before you start to trade, you should take some time to draw up two plans – one short-term, and one long-term. The short-term plan will describe your initial set-up, from tax registration and projected investment costs to your first three months of trading. Your long-term plan will encompass five years, and allow you to formalise your business ambitions.
The Tools for the Job
Whatever your skill, vocation, or niche, you will need to make adequate investments in the right tools for your work. While it may be possible to carry out your work to a relatively high degree of competence on inexpensive equipment, the longer-term benefits offered by spending a little more money can vastly outweigh the benefits of buying budget.
For example, if you’re a budding freelance landscaper, you’ll need to have access to your own power tools in order to take on a wider degree of jobs. An old, domestic plug-in hedge trimmer probably won’t cut the mustard for larger projects, and could see you losing out on repeat custom; investing in a new cordless hedge trimmer ensures you get power and reliability, and your customers get assurance of your abilities.
This also applies to digital roles, as well. While you may be able to produce results to a high standard on free or open-source software, the file-types they use may not be friendly to your clients’ systems – especially if they want a hand in the iteration process when it comes to multimedia content. Better instead to invest in industry-standard software and remain compliant with your clients in the process.
Launch – Marketing and Networking
With your plans formalised and your equipment procured, you are in a strong position to start trading. From the outset, it is of crucial importance that you expand your connections as widely and robustly as possible, both in terms of your client network and your collaborator network.
Business cards are a good icebreaker for introducing yourself to fellow freelancers at networking events and can act as a business flyer in a pinch. Establishing your online presence will also be vital to building your brand in a meaningful way; Google’s My Business portal enables you to enter your information for localised searches, bringing in online custom organically.