Freelancer Checklist – Steps to Take Before Going Freelance

Freelancer Checklist – Steps to Take Before Going Freelance

Going freelance is one of the biggest decisions you can make in your career. It is a huge work style that may take some time to get used to. What’s more difficult than that is actually starting. There are plenty of steps you should take to make your transition to freelance as smooth and easy as possible. Before you pick up the phone and calling potential clients, here is a list of tasks you should take before going full on freelance.

1. Identify your niche 

Things to take into consideration before starting to freelance is determining what type of design work, and what type of clients you are willing to work with. Are you wanting to stick to web design or perhaps motion graphics? The benefit of picking a niche is that in terms of marketing, it is easier to show potential clients exactly what it is you do. Design is a very broad term that can mean almost anything. If people are looking at your profile and see that you do almost everything in design, it can cause confusion and may turn away. For the same reasons, you should also identify what your customers are? In other words, do you want to specialize in a certain industry that you love designing for? Designing for a certain industry will help make you look more knowledgable in that field more than a “jack-of-all-trades” designer.

2. Setup documents such as contracts

Now that you have a strategy and you know exactly how you are going to carry out your new freelancing life, it’s time to start with the most boring tasks: contracts. As boring as it may seem, you will really thank yourself for doing it because not having a contract will practically kill any freelancing gig. Feel free to find templates and tweak them, or write one up yourself. Also, having a contract will help you acquire very serious clients when they see how serious you take your work.

3. Create and setup your portfolio 

The second solid step to setting up your freelancing career is creating and structuring your portfolio. Keep in mind that your portfolio must cater to whichever niches you are targeting. If you are a web designer that is working in the dental area, then your work must strictly showcase that. Give your target clients exactly what they would expect from you.

4. Design your personal logo

You are on your way to becoming a full operating business. Your next step is creating a logo that best describes you, your industry, and your mission. Designing a logo for yourself is often known as the hardest thing a designer can do. Make it fun and awesome!

5. Start a blog

You may not be a big fan of writing, but truth is, freelancers are getting work because of it. You want to appear as an authority when it comes to design and blogging is the best way to show it. Blogging will also help your website be searchable since your blog will be taking you back to your portfolio page. Is there anything in the design community that is controversial or something that you feel very strong about? Find or create discussions in regards to the design community and add your own twists and opinions.

6. Build up your internet presence via social media

A big reason why successful freelancers flourish the way they do is all thanks to social media. Not only is it a great way to promote yourself, but it allows people to see who you are as a person and can also help direct traffic to your portfolio site.

7. Create your marketing materials

At this point, it is important to find ways to advertise your services effectively. If you are targeting your local area, it would be great if you made some flyers around town as well as business cards for potential clients to contact you. You could also  mail out some brochures with some information about yourself directly to businesses who could greatly benefit from your services. It may also be a good idea to use services such as Facebook Ads to get the word out.

8. Scale

Now that you are off the ground and running, there is no excuse as to why you should stop building. Remember to maintain your social media and blog. Entice people to subscribe and follow, and push your self promotions everywhere. You will make mistakes along the way so be sure to not get discouraged and learn every chance you get. Most importantly, influence your clients to provide reviews for your site and everyone they know. Word of mouth is still the strongest form of advertising there is.

It is very important to be fully prepared when starting your freelance career. Things may seem wonderful from the outside, but it is by no means easy. Your start to freelancing would be many times worse if you forgot to put together a contract or couldn’t get traffic to your site and lose exposure. Not having a thorough plan is basically a plan to fail.