If you declare yourself as an independent contractor, self-employed professional, freelancer, or entrepreneur, there is an huge amount of gratification in knowing that in the end, you’re your own boss—you are in control of yourself, you call the shots, and you own your financial outcome whether that’s good or bad.
Although you might be confident in your craft and field to offer great services and results to clients and audience, it’s of the utmost importance to take a small step back and first work on some strategic planning to ensure your company’s mission is success. Here goes the 6 key of success to help you get along.
1. Determine Your Services, What is your product?
While breaking into independent work is exhilarating, it is a major career and lifestyle change. Before you start, you will need to outline the services/products you want to offer and perform for your clients an audience. Research your industry, see what’s in demand, and develop your niche to match market voids and demands. Be at the very least confident in your skills and past experiences; clients will be depending on you to provide the results you advertised.
Additionally to double down on your endeavors, it’s important to shape your company’s values and mission on the right pathway for the additional obligations that comes with all this new found independence. Remember, you’re accountable for providing the work, but also for searching for it. Do you have the heart to hold out for a project that takes a few weeks to get contracted, or the ability to use your network to find new clients? REALLY, and i mean REALLY thinking through your services and mentally prep for how you’ll handle future obstacles will allow you’re well positioned to begin any independent work that comes your way.
2. Prepare Your Finances
Financial preparations are key to a easy transition. Make sure you have either have an immediate project to bring in cash flow, or a 3 months cushion of income to cover your business debts until you bring in a paying contract (Keyword: Paying). Remember that if you get a project, 60-day terms and invoices are common among big and small companies—so don’t expect to get paid right away. As you develop your financial expectations, learn how to set the right bill rate so you maintain a realistic expectation of profit and charge the right appropriate amount for your services.
Create a plan for how to best protect yourself, your family, your business, and your retirement. Look into health insurance options available to independent contractors, like HSA accounts. Be sure to account for about specific business insurances as you may need such as General Liability, Errors and Omissions,. As you begin, be initially conservative with your budget as we talked about in the Article,
3. Start Part Time
If you’re able, start by testing the water on a part-time basis.. You can get a feel for the entrepreneurial lifestyle with a safety net. Start connecting with your network, build confidence, and develop your portfolio with side projects to show to your audience as your grow. If you’re currently employed, caution yourself and make sure you aren’t breaking your current employment contract.
4. Business outline
While you can’t go wrong with a in-prompt-to business plan, at the bare minimum you should have a short 12-month and a long 3-year outline in place. Outline your products and services, target audience, marketing strategy, plans for landing your first few contracts, how price your services and why, when and where you want to work, and your income and personal development goals.(You might have to factor in taxes as well)
5. Land Your First Client/Gig/Commission
You’ll need to find clientele early on who will provide enough work to sustain your income if you’re going full time or trying to replace your current income. Clients might be people from your professional life or social networks, or even come through word of mouth referrals from friends, family and passed customers. Soft pitch your business idea to employers, peers, colleagues, and friends—you never know who will be in need of your specific services.
Please keep in mind that as an individual, you may be limited to projects of a certain size However, once you get the flow going and find the right balance, you’ll find you have the flexibility to choose the projects you want, like, and even partner with other independent small businesses to take on larger projects or more work.
6. Business Awareness
When you know the direction your business is going, and maybe have a few projects, begin thinking about how to best sell what you’ve developed. A marketing strategy will help you review and take a look at your business as a whole while aligning your business goals.
Develop materials that will present your skills and credentials: an attractive resume or calling card, a website outlining your services, appropriate social profiles, and business cards. As you become an expert in your field, you can also network to others by sharing your expertise.
While it can be challenging, stay motivated know you have the potential to grow a successful, profitable company.
If you have questions about going independent or starting your own business, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more.