Freelancing Tips, Freelancer News, Freelancing Opportunities

Five tips for first-time freelancers

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There are over 4.7m self-employed workers in the UK and moving from full time employment to freelancing is becoming an increasingly attractive option for those who are looking for a career change, particularly as October redundancies loom. The benefits of becoming a freelancer can be hugely rewarding – increased flexibility, the autonomy of ‘being your own boss’ and the freedom to work on only the projects you want to – but it’s important to fully understand the steps required to switch to freelance. In this simple guide, Markel Direct outlines the key considerations when making the move. **Develop your business plan for the short and medium term ** The first step of making the move into freelance is developing a business plan for the short term (12 months) as well as medium term (3 years). It can be difficult to know where to start, but some basic considerations include: What services will you offer? What will be your differentiator from the competition/unique selling point (USP)? What will you charge? How will you market to potential clients? (More on this below) How much do you expect to turnover? How much will you pay yourself? **You can find more help on writing a business plan on GOV.UK. ** Many freelancers choose to start their business as a ‘side hustle’, doing it in their spare time whilst continuing to work full-time for their employer. Whilst it’s hard work juggling two jobs, there are many benefits to this, as it removes some of the risks of making the leap overnight. If you don’t have the opportunity to start small and build up, don’t worry – provided you’ve got the right skills and attitude, there’s no reason you can’t start work as a freelancer straight after leaving a job (e.g. due to redundancy). **Plan your marketing to potential clients ** Developing a pipeline of constant work is essential when freelancing, not just for staying busy, but also for managing cashflow. Raising awareness of your business through social media can be a cost effective way of reaching a wide audience looking for your services; at the centre of your strategy should be providing potential clients with useful content that illustrates your expertise in the space. This could be useful guides, hints and tips articles and even free consultations that act as a hook to larger projects. Search engine marketing (SEO and PPC) is also a great way to attract new clients, so investing time and money in a professional, easy-to-use and optimised website will pay dividends in the long run. **Give yourself a financial buffer (where possible) ** One of the main pain points for freelancers is cash flow. Clients don’t always pay on time (and could be experiencing cash flow issues themselves), so if you have the funds available, it’s useful to have a pot of money to help you through months where you don’t get paid on time. You should also think about seasonality – for example, workload can slow down over the […]

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