Starting any online business can be as exciting as it is daunting. There are all of the technical aspects of running an online business that you need to manage. You also need to make sure that your clients are happy. There are so many things to consider and organize; it can be overwhelming. All of these responsibilities can cause frustration.
But, don’t fret because there are many things you can do to get yourself a head start, and your business will become a success with diligent work and effort.
What is an Online Freelance Business, and Why Should You Start One?
An online freelance business is a type of online business where a person offers freelance work. The freelancer can offer many different services to individuals and businesses while not needing a physical location or real-world presence. And while a freelancer may offer work for corporations, the freelancer is not an employee of any company. They operate as individual businesses or contractors. Becoming a freelancer gives you the freedom to work on your terms.
Many people who have skills in writing, technology, or design create their own online freelance businesses. In this article, we’ll give you tips you can use to start your own profitable online freelancing business.
10 Tips for the Beginning of Your Freelance Business
1. Decide on Your Nice
Firstly, you are going to want to decide on what services you will offer. Choosing a niche for an online business is crucial. Your niche should be an area where you can specialize. The should also be specific and not general.
For example, if you are a writer, will you be doing content writing or copywriting? If you are a graphic designer, what niche do you want to narrow in on? This decision is important so you can have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.
2. Identify Your Ideal Clients
Pinpointing your ideal clients is crucial for a few reasons. If you have a clear idea of your ideal client and their needs, it will help you create great specialized content for them.
You may not immediately find your ideal clients when you are just starting, but don’t be discouraged; you’ll eventually get there with hard work and patience.
3. Set Goals for Your Business
Where do you see your business in five years? What do you want to achieve in that time? Goal setting is powerful because it drives you to achieve things for your business. If you have no idea what you want to achieve, it’ll be hard to stay motivated. Make sure your goals are specific, timely, and not too hard to reach-otherwise, you will feel disappointed in yourself.
Short and long-term goals are important for new businesses. As a freelancer, the same is true for you. These goals may change over time, but you do not want to embark on this journey without knowing the destination.
4. Create a Solid Foundation of Good Habits – Productivity Routines
Many freelancers work on an hourly or by-the-project basis. This means that productivity and efficiency are crucial for this business model. Clients will expect that the work they have hired you to do will be done correctly in a reasonable amount of time. Not applying good productivity habits will cause you to deliver projects late and, possibly, of low quality.
As a small business owner, there is a lot to think about. Sometimes it will feel like you have a million things on your mind. That’s why it is crucial to build your business on a solid foundation. Creating a specific productivity routine could help you organize your time more efficiently and prevent stress and burnout. Some great techniques can help you become more efficient at using your time more diligently. A simple to-do list at the beginning of each week could be a start.
5. Create a Website/Blog to Showcase your Portfolio
A website is the easiest way to show off your talent and work to potential clients when you pitch them an idea. There freelancing websites where you can find clients without having your own website. However, having your own website will make you appear more credible and professional. Clients want to know that, as a freelancer, you will take your job seriously. Showing your talents on your website or blog is a great way to do just that.
There are some great platforms out there like Wix or WordPress, where you can make your website for free. These sites offer different templates that you can customize to display your past jobs. The type of website you build is important for all type of online businesses. As an online freelancer, this is no different. Choose your online platform carefully and make sure your website or blog represents your professionalism and skillset.
6. Keep on Top of Your Invoicing
You should take this part of your business very seriously; you are essentially in charge of your own time, money, and effort. Some people can take a long time to pay or are just difficult in general.
Always invoice at the end of each project, rather than waiting – that way, things won’t slip through the cracks. Why not make it as easy as possible for yourself? Consider signing up for Xero or Waveapp. Both are online accounting software that will make your life much easier.
7. Learn How to Pitch Yourself
This step can be tricky, especially when you’ve just started your business. It can take a while to master and comes with a particular belief in yourself but don’t worry; you’ll be a pro in no time. Essentially, a pitch is the presentation of yourself and your ideas to potential clients or investors.
So why not create an elevator pitch for yourself or your concepts? It is a great way to learn how to make something interesting enough to engage your audience and essentially establishes a foot in the door for you to elaborate further.
For an online freelancing business, however, it may need to pitch to a client without ever talking with them directly. This doesn’t mean you do not need to learn how to pitch yourself by email or direct message. Learn to narrow down your skills and expertise in a concise way through website copy or email. Keep track of which pitch works the best and learn to refine your pitch to make it even better.
Even though your business is completely online, you may need to network to get your name out there for potential clients. It can also help to contact and connect with other freelancers for advice. Networking can create a sense of credibility amongst your community and makes you seem more professional. Not to mention it can generally help you build your skillset by seeing what people want or need and what is becoming outdated. You can join online communities for freelancers such as Reddit communities and Facebook groups.
9. Join Freelance Job Sites like Upwork
Upwork is a great platform for freelancers who are just starting. It is easy to navigate and has job types for all skill sets. In addition, there are all types of work on there, ranging from writing jobs to web development and graphic design. Sites like these make it very easy to begin working quickly.
10. Volunteer Your Time
Now, this is situational, in my opinion. Are you starting with minimum experience and no qualifications? Then, it might serve you well to reach out to a business and ask if you can help them on a small project for free. Offering your service for free can help build your portfolio. You can also begin to build a client base as the business you worked with me end up being your first paying client.
If you are highly skilled in your profession and don’t want or need to volunteer your time, then don’t. It is all up to you and how you want to drive your business.
Starting an online freelancing business can be a challenging endeavor and frustrating at times. However, the right activities, attitude and knowledge can get you started on a great path toward success. Never forget this is all a learning curve, and it’s ok to make mistakes. Don’t be fearful of failing because then you won’t act.
Good luck, and I hope this article has been helpful.
This article was first published in Oct 2021 but has been updated and expanded