Wouldn’t it be nice to generate a little bit of extra cash on the side each month? Or maybe you’re looking for a main source of income? Either way, with a little bit of hard work you can be well on your way to making it happen. Want to know what the best part is? You can take advantage of skills you already have that people are willing to pay for. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
What do you think you are good at?
The first step is to make a list of the different activities that you excel at, as well as enjoy to some extent. You can also think of compliments you have received on your skills or on how you dealt with a particular task. Sometimes, this is an easier place to start if you’re unsure where to begin. Consider some of the following for more ideas:
Hobbies: What are your hobbies and interests? Typically, you will spend more time in these areas and will have specialized knowledge. For example, if you play an instrument then you could teach others how to play. Or, if you love pets then you could do something related to pets.
Academics: What subjects do you excel in academically? Take a look at your transcript to see which subjects are more natural to you. People are always looking for tutors in particular subject areas.
Employment: Think about your past job experience and the types of tasks companies paid you to complete. Generally, if a company paid you, then there’s a chance that others will too. The best part is that you can generally charge more than the previous company was paying you for very similar work.
Now that you’ve made a list of what you excel at, determine what people will actually pay for.
Try to get over thoughts like “nobody would pay me for this” or “I’m not good enough at this to be paid for it,”and think about which options are viable business ideas. Of course, there will be some options on your list that you will have no idea how to turn into a business, but that’s perfectly fine. Ideally, your list will be plentiful so that you can explore multiple ideas, or even consider combining some before making a final decision.
Once you’ve got your business idea, it’s time to execute on it.
Preparing to find clients: First off, you will need a point of contact from potential customers to reach you. Whether it’s a simple business card with your email and phone number, a personal website or an online profile – people just need a way to contact you. Don’t get too caught up with creating the perfect online presence on every platform possible. You just want what you need to land your first few clients – that is where your energy is best spent and will provide the greatest return.
Finding clients: Once you’ve established a way for potential customers to contact you, the next step is to find those individuals. There’s all sorts of options for finding your first few clients. Consider some of the following:
Leverage Your Personal Network: The easiest way to begin is by tapping into your personal network in order to get things started. You’ve already built rapport with these individuals so it’s a great place to start.
Online Job Marketplaces: There’s no shortage of places to find work, especially when you turn to online job boards. Explore websites like Kijiji (Canada), Upwork, and more to find your next customer.
Local Signs and Advertising: Depending on the nature of your freelancing business, it may be suitable for you to create a print ad and post it around your neighborhood – the good old-fashioned way. Make sure to include a method for customers to easily contact you.
Now that you’ve got a client, it’s time to do the work.
We won’t go into too much detail here, since it will vary depending on the specific business you have chosen. However, there are some important things to remember for business owners in general. One of the most important elements that helps to separate high quality companies from others is exceptional customer service. Always be sure to please your customers, so long as they aren’t taking advantage of you. Just remember, it’s easier to keep a current customer coming back than it is to find a new one. This means completing tasks for others as if it was for yourself. Ensure you are completing work to the best of your ability and make an effort to communicate with customers. Each of these will go a very long way in helping to build your reputation.
Finding your next customer and asking for referrals.
So now we’re at that stage where people often think,“now what?” Well, it’s time to go and find your next customer! You can cycle through a similar strategy that landed you your first customer. However, why not make things a little easier for yourself by asking for a referral from your past customer? Referrals are a great way to find new customers without very much effort and investment. Also, people will usually only refer you if you’ve done a good job, which can make it easier to land the new client.
There you have it. With some consistency, motivation and perseverance you can establish your freelancing business and experience all the perks of answering to yourself. Whether it’s the flexibility or the additional cash that keeps you focused, find what works for you and stick to it.
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