Business Ideas

The Newbie Freelancer’s Getting Started Checklist

Thinking of starting a freelance career? Here’s everything you need to know in the ultimate newbie freelancer’s getting started checklist

Starting as a freelancer is an exciting time. You’ll have the opportunity to take control over your career and open the door to new projects and income possibilities.

However, to be successful as a newbie freelancer, you need structure and planning. You’re making the transition from being an employee to running a business, even if that business is just yourself. Use this newbie freelancer’s getting started checklist to guide the process and set yourself up for success.

Create a Detailed Plan of Attack

Even though your freelancing business is just you sitting at a desk, you should take the time to create a plan of attack. Clarifying your business strategy and setting revenue and action goals can help you kickstart your business into gear.

  1. Your Business Plan

A business plan will be the foundation of your freelancing career. While many freelancers become successful without a business plan, it’s a powerful document that can help you stay on course.

A business plan should outline everything from the services you’ll be offering to your financial requirements. If you need to invest in some automation tools and a new laptop, those purchases should be outlined in your plan.

Working through your business plan is also an exploration of the marketplace. This exercise encourages you to take a look at the competition and your potential clients to get a better idea of the opportunity.

2. Identifying Your Niche

Even if you decide to skip the more extensive business plan process, it’s integral that you identify your niche. During this exercise, you’ll identify your ideal customer, which will shape your approach to freelancing. Consider some of these questions when identifying your niche:

  • What skills or experience do you currently have?
  • What topic interests you?
  • Are you targeting a general blogging audience or a B2B content audience?
  • If you’re targeting business audiences, what size and business format make up your ideal client?
  • Are there specific demographics to keep in mind (i.e., women-owned businesses)?

Look at a few sites or businesses that inspire you and would be your dream project. Write down what you like about them, from their tone to their area of expertise. Niching down to create an ideal client profile will help you shape your tone and branding.

3. Building a Brand Identity

Your brand is about more than colors and logos— it’s about how you connect with potential clients. Your brand identity is the aspect of your overall brand that pertains to imagery. Work with a designer to create a basic brand identity by which contacts will recognize you. Consider colors and typography that appeal to your niche, rather than just what you like.

Set Up Your Banking

One of the biggest challenges many entrepreneurs and freelancers face is banking and money management. It may not seem like a big deal in the early days, but separating personal and business finances are essential for long-term success. Additionally, that layer of separation assists with tax preparation and audit prevention.

  1. Choosing a Banking Service

Ideally, you’ll want to choose a banking provider that has experience with entrepreneurs and freelancers. As a freelancer, you’ll have nuanced needs when it comes to billing and mobility. Look to a provider like that can help you navigate this process.

2. Tax Preparation and Submission

Tracking your expenses and income as the year goes on is a must for freelancers. Getting audited can derail your business and cause lasting issues. Plan to set aside time each month to organize your paperwork. Consider working with an accountant to help ensure you’re claiming everything you can. Pro tip: hiring an accountant is a claimable tax expense.

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Create an Online Presence

Having an online presence is a quintessential aspect of being a freelancer. It’s how you build a reputation and gain social proof while networking to find clients. There are two aspects to building an online presence: a website and social media.

  1. Building a Website

Having a website is a must for the modern freelancer. It’s a fantastic place to showcase your samples, post content, and build trust with potential clients.

Building a website can be a time-consuming process. Keep it simple with a one-pager that shows your best work, your bio, and an easy way to get in contact.

2. Setting Up Social Media

Being active on social media will help you expand your reach and take advantage of the online network. When setting up social media profiles, the goal is to create consistency across all platforms. Use the same profile photo so that your audience knows that they’ve found the right place.

You can use social media to share your own content and curated content to position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Build a Portfolio

When potential clients are looking for a freelancer, they’ll want to review samples of your work. For new freelancers, finding samples can be a challenge.

  1. Collecting Samples

Start by creating articles in word documents to showcase your skills. You can use unpublished samples to reach out to a few unpaid publications in your niche to get a foothold. Once you have published pieces, you can link to these rather than using unpublished attachments.

2. Showcasing Your Best Work

As you continue to build a portfolio and build out your samples, you can start to be selective in what pieces you showcase. Rather than proving that you have published works, your goal will be to highlight your best pieces— the ones that sell your skills.

3. The Freelancer Resume

Some clients will ask for a resume outlining your skills and experience. As such, it’s worth having a basic document that you can use as a template for these situations. A freelancer resume should outline your previous experience, relevant skills, and links to your best work.

Create a Pitch List

Setting revenue goals is an important part of the freelancing process. However, you need to have a process for accomplishing those goals. The solution is drafting a pitch list.

Write a list of potential clients that you want to reach out to. Set a daily target and start making contact. This pitch list could include cold-calling, applying to posted gigs, or a combination of each. Create a pitching template to help expedite the process, tweaking it as needed.

Don’t forget to set a date each week to follow up. Sometimes it’s the enthusiasm and determination that set you apart from the competition in the eyes of an editor or hiring manager.

Use this list to launch your freelancing business, and you’ll be welcoming paying clients in no time!

Wendy Dessler

Outreach manager

Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition

Business Software

The Top Five Productivity Apps for 2017

Do you want to level up your ability to make money? Or are you hoping to start working on projects that you find more fulfilling?

The easiest way for this to happen is to start working smarter, not harder, and make your dreams a reality while putting forth less effort.

To make your life better and more productive, it’s always best to keep up with the latest productivity apps. You need to find apps that have withstood the test of time and actually help people achieve better results.

At the same time, new apps seem to be springing out of nowhere. So it’s often difficult to determine which ones are actually worth using.

With that said, we will share our top five favorite productivity apps that we believe will help you have an incredible 2017.

  1. Harvest App

This app is technically a browser extension. Install it in your browser and watch it measure your time.

If you are wasting an inordinate amount of time while messing around on the Internet, this app will help you figure that out. And it will also help you determine how much time you are spending on valuable activities that will help you achieve success.

As you measure your time online, you’ll start to see where you can immediately make improvements. And this will help you become a more successful and productive person in 2017 and in years to come.

  1. Site Block

This app is especially important if you are easily distracted by certain websites on the Internet.

Maybe you have an addiction to Facebook and spend way too much time on this website. Or maybe you are a Twitter addict and you spend four or five hours a day tweeting when you actually should be working on productive tasks.

Site Block will prevent you from accessing problem websites until you turn it off or schedule it to go off at a certain time.

  1. Slack

Slack is an incredible app to help increase productivity between remote team members.

It eliminates the need for email and instant messaging. And by having your entire team connected on the same Slack group, everybody will be able to stay in constant communication with one another throughout the day.

You can send messages to the entire group if you need everybody to get on the same page on a particular topic. Or you can use it to send individual messages to single team members if you have an important question or concern that you need to bring to their attention.

4.Remember the Milk

That’s a pretty cool name, right? And it’s definitely memorable which is what the programmers were going after.

Why is Remember the Milk such a valuable app?

For starters, it makes it easy to keep track of all of the tasks you have to accomplish throughout the day. It takes every task that you need to accomplish and puts them in a form of a to-do checklist.

This app has many diehard fans. People love to leverage the unique power of checklists.

At the end of the day, you’ll work harder and smarter to eliminate the tasks that you have on a checklist. So it helps improve productivity at the physical and mental level.

5.Time Tracking Software

There’s no better way to track your productivity then by utilizing time tracking software like Clockspot.

This software makes it easy to find out how much time you spent on a particular project, how many people worked on a particular project, and how much you should bill the client to get paid for your services.

Definitely, invest in time tracking software sooner rather than later.

Being more productive has never been easier in 2017. Begin using our top five favorite productivity apps and watch your production soar.