Starting an online freelancing business might seem easy, but just like starting any other type of business; there are steps to be followed if you want to succeed. A study done by the University of Phoenix showed that a majority of people who are under 30 years old either have their online freelancing businesses or are planning to start an online freelancing business. It’s slowly but surely becoming clear to everyone that the future of businesses is online which is why people are doing all they can to be part of that future. The question many people are struggling with is; where do you start when looking to build yourself an online freelancing empire?
One thing you have to keep in mind when looking to start an online freelancing business is that for you to succeed, you will have to first and foremost build yourself a unique brand as this is what will give you the edge. So how do you brand yourself? Branding yourself involves creating a clear and concise narrative of what makes you different from all the other individuals out there, your expertise, and most importantly – who you are. This is what tells your clients why they should do business with you instead of your rivals. The following are the steps of starting your own online freelance business:
1. Determine your goals
This should be your first step as without having clearly defined goals, you will struggle to get your business on its feet. When creating your goals, you should also ensure that they are measured as this way you will be able to know when you are making progress and when you are stuck. Some of the questions you can ask yourself in order to come up with clear goals include are you going into online freelancing business just to earn extra money or are you looking to become a full-time online freelancer? Understanding why you are going into online freelancing business will enable you to position yourself accordingly.
2. Find a lucrative niche
After coming up with solid goals, the next step involves finding a niche that is profitable enough for you. Online freelance businesses also face a lot of competition, which is why you should ensure that you are well prepared. Since there is no way of regulating prices when it comes to online freelance businesses, you will find some people offering the same services as you but at lower rates. You should at all cost avoid competing on price and start focusing on improving your quality and looking for a more profitable niche; one which will be able to value quality.
3. Identify your target customers
For you to be able to succeed in the online freelancing business, you will have to attract the right kind of clients. It’s understandable to be ready to accept any client you find when you are planning to start your business, but it’s better for you to have a clear idea of the type of clients you would like to work with. Concentrating on a particular set of clients gives you a higher chance of getting referrals that are very essential especially if your business is long-term. This is also one of the fastest ways of building your reputation.
4. Start your own website
Unless you are planning to start your online freelancing business on already established sites such as Freelancer, Fiverr, Upwork, Craigslist, Peopleperhour, and 99designs, among many others, you will want to consider building your very own website. One of the ways of creating your own website is by using website builders such as WordPress, Wix, Web.com, and Weebly, among many others. Having your own website enables you to tell clients your story; a website allows you to market yourself and your services.
5. Create your digital portfolio on your website
After your website is up and running, the next step should be ensuring it has a digital portfolio that will be a testament to your abilities to your clients. The first impression is very important which is why you should aim to have a high-quality portfolio on your website as that is how your clients will be seeing you. A good portfolio should have a show of your personality & your contact information and it should also have testimonials and examples of your past work.
6. Get a good financial management tool and an online payment processor
Since the purpose of the freelancing business is to make money, you should be able to have a way of ensuring that the payments made by your clients get to you. This is where online payment processors such as PayPal, Payoneer, and Skrill come in.