Five Things You Can't Live Without When Working Freelance
Working for yourself can seem like a dream come true; no set working hours; freedom to choose your own clients; working from home. But, for those who are used to being managed and working within a lively office could find the solitary working environment difficult to master. From getting business insurance quotes to planning your work schedule, you are your own boss; it’s your responsibility to stay on top of the needs of your business and ensure it develops to its full potential. Here are some essentials to get you started:
When setting up as a freelancer, you need to consider how you want to appear to potential clients. Your first step should be to create a brand, including a business name and logo that reflects your services. Professional graphic designers can help with this. Building a digital presence for your business is also increasingly important. A branded website including your contact details and examples of your work makes you accessible to clients. It is also helpful to promote your services using social media, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Blogging your views on topics that are relevant to your industry can also build a network of fans and raise your profile as an expert your given field.
2. Time management
Without the restriction of a 9am – 5pm working day, it is easy to get into bad habits regarding time management. A varied work schedule may suit some freelancers, but without discipline this can become slack. With no manager checking your productivity, you are solely in charge of your own work flow and deadlines. If you don’t get work done in time, you have no manager to answer to or to placate clients on your behalf. Try to stick to normal working hours and give yourself a lunch break. Remember, your clients will be working the same hours and this will be when they are most likely to contact you with requests or queries.
Having the freedom to work from the comfort of your sofa may be a perk of freelancing, but this can lead to a hazy work/leisure time divide. Designating a workspace away from your normal relaxation area can help distinguish between working hours and ‘play’. Make sure the workspace has all the technology required to get the job done, such as a PC and any software programmes you may need. A comfortable chair can also make a huge difference to your comfort. You will no doubt be spending a large amount of time at your desk/work station so ensure your back is supported and your posture is correct.
As a freelancer, building a client base is essential to your success. Without clients, there is no work and subsequently no money. Contacts in the industry can be hard to come by, but there are options available. As well as the previously mentioned benefits of social media, networking events can be priceless. Take your branded business cards with you in order to give potential clients your contact details and an image of your services. The prospect of not having a regular wage can be daunting and building up a database of contacts can help kick start your business.
As a self-employed worker, you need to cover all the legal requirements that your employer would previously have dealt with. Before beginning work, it is worth getting advice on what business insurance, health insurance and pension plan you will need. This includes legal protection for any contractual disputes, cover for property damage, and public and product liability. These can be particularly important if you are working from home, as your home insurance will not cover all your business needs. Co-operative Insurance offer business insurance packages to suit a variety of trades. This flexible cover ensures you are covered for any issues that may arise down the line and your business is protected.