This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.
If you have found this website then you have already taken the first step to becoming a freelancer, that of seeking information on how to morph your current job situation into a freelance career you will love.
Follow these ‘ten rules of ten’ to launch your own freelance career:
- Write down ten things you do well. They could be work skills, hobbies, things you love to do, things people have paid you to do, topics that make your heart sing, or things you would do even if you weren’t being paid to do them.
Now look at your list and find the common denominator. When you look at these ten items, where do they come together? What type of business can you fashion out of these ten things that you wrote down? That will be your business.
- Now that you’ve chosen your business—or it has chosen you—write down ten goals for your new business. These goals should include a goal income figure, a vision of what success would look like to you, a goal that explains how your business will help others–basically ten goals that give your freelance business a purpose and bring your deepest business desires to life.
- Next, take ten actions that will turn your ideas into a real business. Come up with your freelance business name, get a business license, register a domain name, put up a website, get business cards, set up a business bank account, set up a PayPal account (or devise another way to get paid online), set up an email account, create a brochure, and make up a one-page business plan that outlines the basics of your business (consider: what do you do, who are your customers, what makes you special, how you will market your product?).
- In this step you will create/develop/obtain ten work samples that exemplify what you do. As a freelancer, you will need a killer freelance portfolio in order to show your clients examples of your work. These need not be paid gigs but they need to show off your talent and give future clients samples of the work they can expect from you.
If you are a writer, submit articles to your local newspaper or favorite blog; if you are a web designer, design a website for a non-profit that can’t afford to pay for the service; if you are a photographer, offer to be the photographer for a friend’s wedding.
- Set up ten venues that will allow you to network with future clients. Network like crazy. Half of the battle when it comes to freelancing is getting your name and skills out to the public. Thankfully the internet allows us to network with people all over the world.
Networking can include Twitter, FaceBook, Pinterest, participating in your local hackers group, attending an industry conference, writing a blog, joining your city’s Chamber of Commerce, and other ways that will help you connect with people who could become future clients.
- Find ten ways you can improve your skills and continue to learn about your chosen field. Take a related college class, join Toastmasters if public speaking will be important to your business, find a mentor, find the best insider info online and add these feeds to your Feedburner list, get on email lists related to your industry, or maybe even join an association if one exists for your business.
- Find ten paying customers. This is often the hardest part for new freelancers. Beat the bushes, asking anyone and everyone for their business. Do what you have to do to create an exceptional product for ten paying customers—these people will launch your business from a good idea into a paying operation.
- Brainstorm ten spin-offs from your freelance business. As a freelancer it is imperative that you have multiple streams of income coming in. If one stream dries up you won’t need to panic because there will still be money coming in from other sources.
Ideas here may include writing and selling an e-book on your topic, teaching a class, collaborating with another freelancer to develop a totally different yet related product, or pulling together a conference.
- Now that you are getting established, make it a goal to increase your income by ten. To do this you will want to work smarter, not harder. At this point you have seen the work you can produce and you’ve seen the money you can make so now you need to take the leap and increase your income by a factor of ten.
This may not be quick and it may not be easy but it is doable. Look for ways to make your business scalable, look for a client that will pay ten times what a normal client pays you now, or look for a way to make your product ten times more valuable.
- Help ten people. I am a big fan of good karma and paying it forward. Now that you have your feet wet as a freelancer, take the time to help ten other people to get started and/or improve their freelance business with what you can teach them. Volunteer to help high school entrepreneurs or maybe mentor someone who is just starting out in business.
Do what you have to do to create an exceptional product for ten paying customers—these people will launch your business from a good idea into a paying operation.
Most freelancers don’t end up successful by chance. By taking a step-by-step approach to becoming a freelancer you will have a much better chance of becoming successful.