Unlike working in a permanent role in employment or running a business with several employees, the very nature of freelancing typically tends to be more ‘carefree’ and flexible. However, after speaking to several freelancers it’s also important to approach your services as a business too.
We recently spoke to over 100 finalists and winners of the Freelancer Awards 2021, and one of the prominent themes that reoccurred is the idea every freelancer should be approaching their work as a business.
We’ve put together 8 tips to make sure your freelance business is taken seriously and share some of the reasons why you should be treating yourself like a business;
1. Put time aside for admin - If you are a sole trader or running a limited company, you’ll need to keep on top of your accounts and invoicing to help keep your business running smoothly. Putting aside 30 minutes a week outside of billed hours to send those invoices and chase any late payments will help you stay on top of things and makes a big difference when it comes to filing accounts or working out your end-of-year earnings.
Other admin such as organising your insurance and subscriptions to things that help you work should also be included if you’re not already making time for them outside of your ‘paid’ hours.
2. Create a business plan - Even if it’s a loose plan or you find your business growing away from it, having a business plan drawn up will help you focus on business goals and spot the achievements along the way!
3. Nurture your existing clients and contacts - You never know when an old client might need your services again! But, just like you, they’re busy running their business and sometimes need to be prompted. Likewise, you may have some great contacts in your network who may know of a great project or contract coming up but they’ve not had the opportunity to reach out.
Make time to send a monthly email to everyone in your contacts to check in with them as it gently reminds them about you and your excellent services. Some freelancers go one step ahead and send a monthly newsletter about their services and what they’ve been up to!
If an email isn’t your thing, engage with their social posts or drop them a message
when you next see they’re online, reaching out will help remind them in a polite way that you’re available to help out once more!
4. Make time to find new business opportunities - Finding new business can take slightly longer than simply sending out a monthly email as it takes time to find the right opportunity. If you’re confident and enjoy meeting new people, try good old-fashioned networking and get to know the businesses within your local area. Even if they’re not looking for someone with your skills, they still have friends and family who might.
If networking doesn’t float your boat, try using social media networks. Following freelance chats on channels like LinkedIn and Twitter means you’re proactively more aware of any random opportunities or job shares from freelance peers which helps reduce the time spent actively looking for more jobs.
Of course, if you’re looking for some great contracts and regular payment without chasing clients, you can always check the available briefs on YunoJuno for your next contract!
5. Invest in your well-being - Just as a business invests in its employees with gym memberships, early finishes, additional learning courses or even counselling sessions, it’s vital you invest in whatever it is you need to help nurture your wellbeing and mental health. Treating yourself as a business doesn’t just mean setting aside time for admin and the more boring bits, it also means making sure to reward yourself.
Investing in your wellbeing has far greater pay-offs down the road too but will keep you motivated and make you feel valued as an employee, just as you would if a company was to reward you.
6. Contribute to your pension every month - A sensible reminder that as a freelance business, you’ll need to build your own pension pot too. As well as setting aside money for your tax bills, it’s always a good idea to save for your pension.
Just as an employer would contribute to their team's pensions, you need to be helping build on your future savings as a business owner.
7. Treat yourself to new equipment - Any good employer will make sure all working equipment is in full functioning order, updating or repairing anything that needs a little attention. This also applies to freelancers who might need equipment to help do their job. If you’re hesitant to update your old office chair or don’t feel you can justify spending money on a new computer or monitor, think of it as investing in your business.
As a freelance business owner, you deserve access to the best tools available to you so treat yourself to new equipment when you need it.
8. Celebrate milestones and business achievements - This is a really important one; celebrate your achievements as a business owner and make sure those milestones are acknowledged because you’re working hard to reach those goals. If you were working for a company, a manager or senior member of the team would spot your achievements but as you work for yourself, it's down to you.
Make a fuss over your 100th invoice, celebrate a big project win or share some positive feedback from clients - whatever it is, make sure you’ve recognised it as a win.
If you’re looking for new freelance opportunities and want the security of regular briefs and all the admin handled, why not sign up to YunoJuno today. If you’re not looking for new opportunities but want to expand your network of freelancers, get involved with our community and share your own tips for running a freelance business.