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How to Survive as a Freelancer Part 1

I’m fortunate to know a number of freelancers, both here in Rapid City where I live, and around the world. I understand how challenging it can sometimes be to survive, and how valuable the advice we share with one another is.

This is the first in a series of blogs about Surviving as a Freelancer.

First, if you’re visiting, be sure to post a comment and tell us about yourself, the type of freelance work you do, and a link to your website or social media!

The Freelance Life can feel as prickly as… well, this cactus! But it doesn’t have to be.

The Freelance Life can feel as prickly as… well, this cactus! But it doesn’t have to be.

Second, any advice or guidance I share is simply based on my past experience or observations and should not be construed as legal advice. I recommend you speak to a legal or financial professional if you need practical advice for your specific business.

These blogs are divided into four sections:

  • Launching

  • Marketing

  • Growing

  • Sustaining

In this blog, I’m talking about how to launch a business as a Freelancer.

The first thing is to know exactly what you want to do, what expertise you have and who your ideal client is. The most specific your client type is, the easier time you’ll have of connecting with them. If it’s simply “business owners in a 50-mile radiance of my home”, that can too broad.

Hopefully, you have some experience or expertise and may be able to define a particular client type: Family-owned businesses in manufacturing, or Startups with 5 or less employees with offices downtown, or Massage Therapists, etc.

If you’re not sure who your ideal client is, talk to someone who knows you well, and understands the work you do. If you still need help, please reach out here to Evergreen Script Services - we offer workshops and coaching to help businesses create their story and the focus is on connecting to your ideal clients. We may be able to help you define that group more clearly. And all of our coaching work will soon be available in an easy-to-download video format!

Once you know what your services will be and who your clients are, the next step is connecting. There are many great business networks, coworking spaces and incubators available. But start with one small but powerful step: Have a good logo (work with a freelance graphic designer - happy to offer referrals if you need them!) and create your business card. Then give your card to 12 people you personally know well, who have connections in the business world. They don’t have to be close friends with your ideal clients, but you can simply tell them, “I’m starting my freelance __________ business and would love the chance to meet new clients. My ideal client is a __________ business, but I’m open to working with anyone that could use my __________ services!”

Many Photographers work freelance - but the most successful have a niche clientele that they market to.

Many Photographers work freelance - but the most successful have a niche clientele that they market to.

You also want to create profiles at a few social media sites. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram are just some of the choices available, depending on your business model.

Another great way to launch your business and create good will that can translate into clients and revenue, is to host a Launch Party for your freelance business. This could be a live event, at a nice but affordable local venue, or it could be a virtual party, hosted online. Some freelancers may want to offer friends who refer business a gift, or a ‘bird-dog’ fee in thanks.

But to connect with many entrepreneurs, business owners and managers, in a setting designed to share referrals, I recommend joining a business referral network, like BNI.

That last thing I will recommend, when it comes to launching a freelance business, is to use the free advice that is available to you. The SBA (Small Business Administration) has many resources available to new and existing business owners, and SCORE is a mentorship program that partners new entrepreneurs with experienced, retired business owners.

Have a question I didn’t address? Feel free to post it below and I will respond shortly. And be sure to continue reading for our next installment of ‘How to Survive as a Freelancer’ where I talk about Marketing!