A 3-Minute Guide to Freelancing
For many talented professionals, freelancing is a way of life. For many others, it holds the prospects for a future of professional autonomy. In either case, the key to success as a freelancer is in establishing a strong foundation. Knowing how to set up your own business and build your own client list are critical to prosperity in the independent workforce. For many aspiring freelancers who are still working in the corporate world, the difference between starting your dream career and not branching off on your own is often a matter of knowing what to do. Luckily with a few simple steps, you can take your freelance career to the next level.
First, if you want to work for yourself, you’ll need to set up a legal entity that protects your personal assets.
A simple LLC (Limited Liability Company) — along with tax identification number — takes a couple hours to set up and gives you limited liability in your business dealings. Setting up a separate legal entity gives you many advantages such as running business expenses through your company, which reduces taxable income. Costs such travel and office space can be expensed and allow you to save additional tax dollars.
Next, it’s important to become comfortable with independent worker contracts.
These are the agreements that you will use to delineate the deliverables you are expected to produce and payment terms for the project. One of the biggest pain points for freelancers is payment. And this is largely because freelancers do not deal with the money side of the arrangement until it’s too late. It’s critical to address upfront how much the project will cost, how much is due at the outset, when the balance is to be paid, and if any milestone payments are needed. The clearer you can be about what work product is expected, and when you will be paid, the greater success you will have over the long term.
Establishing a client base is crucial to freelance success.
Building customers doesn't need to take a long time as there are many effective ways to gain new business and keep customers coming back. Networking events and Meet Ups are a great way to share what you do with a large cohort of people, and your business card and online portfolio signal to prospective customers that you are taking your freelance work seriously. Make sure to follow up with the people that you meet, and always ask them to refer you to other clients - as one of the best forms of marketing is through word of mouth referrals. Additionally, platforms such as LiquidTalent that match you with professional opportunities through your social graph and based on location are a great way to develop a sales pipeline and manage your business while you’re working on current projects.
Having an understanding of the fundamentals of freelancing will go a long way to insuring your success as an independent contractor. And for this reason, LiquidTalent is teaming up with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to co-produce the first ever Brooklyn Freelancers’ Summit on April 20, 2015 from 10am — 2pm at BRIC. It will be a highly educational day filled with incredible speakers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers with robust opportunity for networking. Whether you’re just starting out in your freelance career, or have years of experience, come learn the latest applications to bring in more business and prepare yourself for future success doing what you love.
We look forward to seeing you on April 20th!