Getting Started as a Freelancer: 8 Steps to Becoming a Freelancer

Many employees dream of becoming independent, of no longer depending on a sometimes heavy hierarchy and of being able to choose the projects on which they work. While working as a freelance is often synonymous with freedom, there are also a number of constraints to take into account if you do not want the great adventure to turn into a nightmare. Are you wondering how to become a freelance? Here are the keys to success.

Why become independent?

Have you settled into the routine in your current job? Do you want a change? If your job no longer satisfies you, whether in terms of accomplishment, recognition, security or salary, it is probably time to change it, and why not, become independent. What exactly is a freelancer? Becoming independent means that you are going to be completely independent in your work. You will be able to choose the quantity of missions you will carry out, the clients for whom you will carry them out, the price you will invoice, your working hours ... You must also be aware that no longer being an employee, you will also have to manage the commercial, marketing, contractual and accounting aspects of your activity. It will therefore be necessary to free up time for all these activities "ancillary" to your main activity.

1- Define your goals

Even if the more or less long-term goal is to work as a full-time freelance, this is not always, if not rarely achievable immediately. It is indeed illusory to believe that the job market awaits you with open arms and that you will be able from the start to find the same level of remuneration as being an employee. Many former employees who have acquired freelance status do not succeed in carrying out their project because they did not set clear objectives from the start. Even with limited expenses, they end up seeing their savings disappear, to the point of having to find a new job in a hurry. To avoid getting there, it is essential to clearly target your objectives. Start by setting a long-term goal, at least for one year. Do you just want to get an additional income on top of your current salary to increase your purchasing power, or do you want to radically change your life by becoming your own boss? What monthly salary do you want to get after a year? Once the long-term goal is set, it should be broken down into several shorter-term goals. For example, it is possible to decide on monthly milestones. You must decide at each stage the amount of salary you expect, the number of hours and hours devoted to this new activity and the number of customers to canvass.

2- Find a profitable market

If you wait until you find the great idea that will make you rich, you run the risk of waiting a long time. Instead, start by taking stock of your strengths and skills that can serve you. It can be knowledge accumulated during your life (professional or not), skills acquired over the years and your natural aptitudes. This assessment will allow you to identify the field in which you can get started. You must now detect a need in this area in order to offer your solutions and services to potential customers. The important thing is to focus on this offer in particular to offer a quality service and not to scatter, at the risk of disappointing. There are a lot of self-employed people in the market. The best will stand out on the quality of their services and not on the price they charge.

3- Identify your target customers

No need to canvass people that your services will not interest. It would be a waste of everyone's time. It is better to target precisely the people you will reach out to. You need to identify targets for whom your services will be useful, who will be able to pay them their fair price, get to know them and determine the best way to get in touch with them. By knowing your prospects well and by addressing them directly, you will be able to provide them with quality service adapted to their needs and thus obtain recommendations.

4- Define your pricing strategy for your services

It can be difficult to set prices, especially when starting out. Start by finding out about the prices in the market. This will give you a reasonable price range. Set an attractive price within this range and offer your services to your prospects. The goal is to build a reputation with the first customers. The work must therefore be of excellent quality. By dint of getting recommendations, you can canvass and get other customers, while gradually increasing your rates. The step of identifying the target clientele takes on its full meaning here because it will make it possible to offer exactly the right services to the right people, at the right prices.

5- Build a quality portfolio

It is important to communicate about your successes. Use a website to present your specialties and your various references. Highlight your strengths, skills and know-how. A complete contact form is also essential. Take care to respond quickly and precisely to any request that may be made to you in this way. Update your site regularly, in order to show your dynamism, your evolution, your new customers and your work. Do not hesitate to put forward examples of what you can provide as a benefit so that potential customers will better understand what you are capable of. A prospect will only turn into a customer if they are convinced that you will be able to offer them a solution that exactly meets their needs.

6- Choose your first customers carefully

When launching your activity as a self-employed person, you will have to devote a significant amount of time to each client to ensure complete satisfaction. It is therefore important to voluntarily limit the number of clients you will work for. You have to be able to give the best for those first customers. The perception they will have of you and your work will then serve as the basis for all the development of your activity. Do not hesitate to mention the clients for whom you have already worked in your publications (flyers, website…) and when you approach prospects. Also ask them to share their opinion and leave a testimonial on your site. These customer references are essential to convince your prospects.

7- Learn how to sell yourself

To work as a freelancer, you need to learn how to sell yourself. You can be the best in your class, if you aren't able to showcase yourself, present your skills and your work in the best light, it is going to be difficult to convince clients to trust you. The writing of messages intended for prospects must therefore be well thought out. You need to brag about your strengths, answer most questions before they're even asked, anticipate objections, present meaningful and relevant examples to your interviewer, and demonstrate your expertise in the field. It is necessary to communicate often, and especially to personalize the communication. Most of the messages sent to prospects end up in the trash, unless they are perfectly targeted, and meet a specific need of the recipient.

8- Do not mix your salaried work with your freelance activity

It is important to compartmentalize your salaried activity and your freelance activity as long as you are not ready to be full-time. It would be a shame to jeopardize your job as long as you cannot yet make a living entirely from your freelance work. Most employment contracts contain exclusivity clauses and restrictive clauses. It is therefore essential to respect the signed agreements and the rules set by your employer, not to overlap working hours and not to use the company's resources for your self-employed activity.

To conclude on freelance work

There are many reasons why you can become independent. Whether it's testing a business without the financial stress, increasing your income, improving your knowledge and skills, or developing your passion, it's imperative to clearly define your goals and plan for a ramp-up. progressive activity. It is at this price that you will be able to transform an experiment into a real success.