A Small Business Guide to Going Freelance

Last Updated: 

November 7, 2023

A Small Business Guide to Going Freelance: What You Need to Know

If you're ready to take the plunge into freelancing, it can be scary but also incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips for making that transition from full-time employee to full-time entrepreneur.

Key Takeaways on Going Freelance:

  1. Define your freelance services by identifying your skills, strengths, and experience. Consider what services you can offer, what niche you can fill, and what problems you can solve for your clients.
  2. Set your rates and create a pricing strategy by researching the market and assessing your own value. Consider factors like your experience, skill level, and competition when determining your rates.
  3. Build a strong online presence by creating a professional website, social media profiles, and a portfolio showcasing your work. Use these tools to establish your brand, showcase your expertise, and attract potential clients.
  4. Develop a network of contacts and referrals by reaching out to your existing network, attending industry events, and collaborating with other freelancers. These connections can provide valuable leads and opportunities for new projects.
  5. Manage your finances and taxes by keeping track of your expenses, invoicing regularly, and setting aside money for taxes. Consider hiring an accountant or using accounting software to help manage your finances.
  6. Establish a routine and set boundaries by creating a schedule, setting goals, and managing your time effectively. Set boundaries around your work hours, communication with clients, and personal time to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Going freelance can be a great way to start a small business or take your existing business in a new direction. By following these key takeaways, you can set yourself up for success and build a thriving freelance business.

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It's a big decision to go freelance, but it's not impossible

You may be thinking that freelancing is simply not an option for you, but it's not. It's a viable business model and allows you to work from home, on your own terms. You can also earn extra money by taking on freelance projects in addition to your full-time job or regular responsibilities.

And yes, there are some downsides: If a client doesn't pay their bill or stops working with you altogether (which happens more often than you might think), then there's not much recourse available beyond threatening legal action (which rarely gets results). But if those risks don't bother you too much and if earning extra cash sounds appealing, then go for it!

Get a good team in place

If you're going to be your own boss, you need a good team in place. This is especially true for small businesses.

The first step is finding an accountant who understands what it means to be a freelancer and has experience with small businesses. You don't want someone who just does numbers; they should also have experience helping clients with their finances and taxes so that they can give you advice on how best to handle things like invoicing, expenses or payroll tax deductions.

Next up: lawyer! While many people think they can do their own contracts (and maybe they can), there are some things that aren't worth risking when dealing with clients who are paying thousands of dollars per month for services rendered by your company (and potentially millions more down the road). If nothing else than peace of mind, having someone else look over those agreements before signing them will save headaches later on down the line when everything goes south because "I didn't read this part" becomes an excuse rather than an explanation when things go south because "I didn't read this part."

Choose the right type of business for you

Choosing the right type of business for you is key to success. Freelancing is a great option for people who are self-motivated and self-disciplined. It's also an excellent way to start a business, as it allows you to test out your ideas without having all the overhead costs that come with running an actual company.

If you're thinking about freelancing or starting your own business, make sure that your decision makes sense financially as well as emotionally. You need to be able to afford any expenses associated with starting up (including buying equipment), plus any unexpected costs that might pop up along the way like paying for healthcare when someone gets sick or replacing broken equipment after an accident happens at home office headquarters!

Sometimes a writing business is the easiest to start. If you're looking for a helpful resource checkout Dakota Robertson's guide to becoming a freelance writer.

Treat your business like a full-time job

Now that you're a freelancer, you need to treat your business like a full-time job.

  • Set goals and manage time. If you're used to having an employer tell you what to do and when, it might be hard at first for you to set your own schedule and keep yourself accountable for meeting deadlines. But the sooner you get into the habit of doing this and keeping up with it the better off both your clients and yourself will be later on down the line.
  • Stay motivated by setting short-term goals along with long-term ones: For example, if one of my short-term goals is "write 1k words per day" then I know that if I meet that goal today then tomorrow there's no reason why I shouldn't also write another 1k words (or more). That way each day becomes part of an ongoing process towards achieving larger aims rather than simply being another day where nothing got done!

Set up a network of other freelancers and self-employed people

If you're just starting out, it can be hard to know where to begin. I recommend looking for other freelancers at local networking events or on social media.

Here are some ways that you can find other freelancers:

  • Use LinkedIn- it's one of the best ways to connect with people in your industry and learn about their experiences as self-employed workers or small business owners.
  • Look on Twitter - many freelancers post jobs they have available so that they can fill them quickly! This is especially useful if you're new to the field and looking for work yourself (or vice versa).
  • Search Facebook Groups - there are tons of groups on Facebook where people talk about their businesses and share tips with each other these groups are great places to get advice from experienced professionals who may even offer up recommendations themselves!

Build your reputation through social media and networking events

Social media is a great way to build your reputation. Share your work on social media, but don't spam it. Use social media to look for freelance jobs and connect with potential clients.

Collaborating with other freelancers can be a great way to get more experience in the field, as well as help each other out when one needs an extra pair of hands or an extra set of eyes on something they're working on. Make sure that you have their permission before posting any images from their projects!

Develop a network of contacts and referrals

It's important to remember that networking isn't just about finding clients. It's also a great way to find new professional contacts who can provide support and advice when you need it.

Here are some tips for building your network:

  • Attend events hosted by organisations such as the Freelancers Union or National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). These groups often have monthly meetings where members share information about their businesses, give each other advice on how they've overcome challenges in their careers, and offer each other support when needed. You'll meet people who share similar interests as well as others from all walks of life who may be able to help out with specific tasks if needed (for example, a writer might want someone who knows how to build websites). And since these organisations tend not only focus on freelancers but also include other types of professionals (such as lawyers), attending one can open up opportunities beyond those related directly with writing alone!
  • Join online groups dedicated specifically toward helping freelancers succeed whether through sharing ideas about marketing strategies or offering assistance during lean times when finances aren't flowing freely enough yet again."

Freelancing can be scary but it's worth it if you're ready to take the plunge

Freelancing is a big step, but it's worth it if you're ready to take the plunge. Before you dive in, though, make sure you're prepared for the risks and benefits of freelancing:

  • Risks: You'll have to be more self-sufficient than ever before as well as able to handle unexpected situations on your own. If something goes wrong with your business or client relationships, there isn't much help available beyond what friends and family can provide (and even then they may not be available). You also won't have the same level of financial security that an employee would have; if one client doesn't pay their bill or drops out suddenly without warning, then this could leave them without enough money coming in until another client comes along which could take weeks or months depending on their circumstances!
  • Benefits: On top of all this risk comes reward namely freedom! Freelancers don't have set hours so they can spend time doing whatever they want instead; whether that means taking up new hobbies like playing guitar lessons once per week while still getting work done during off hours between lessons or doing nothing but sleeping until noon every day because "it's Saturday"/"Sunday morning".

FAQs on going freelance

Going freelance is a big step. We've compiled some insider advice from the freelancing experts at Envato to help guide you through the transition.

What's the best way to market my freelance services?

  • Social media is a great way to get your name out there. Posting on relevant forums and building a website are also good ways to promote yourself as a freelancer.
  • Write articles, get recommendations from clients, do research into what your target audience wants and have an excellent portfolio of previous work so that prospective customers can see what your capabilities are before hiring you.

How to set a good pricing strategy?

As a freelancer, it's up to you to set your own rates. You have the freedom to charge what you think is fair and reasonable, but this also means that if your clients aren't happy with the price tag on your services or products, they will go elsewhere and that could mean losing out on business opportunities in the future.

To avoid this situation and ensure a steady flow of steady income over time, here are some tips for setting an effective pricing strategy:

  • Charge what you're worth: Charge based on experience and skill level (or lack thereof). If someone has been doing something for 20 years or more than another person who just started doing it last year then their hourly rate should reflect that difference in experience level; otherwise there wouldn't be any incentive for them continue learning new things over time because there would always be someone else willing do it cheaper! This applies especially true when dealing with large corporations where budgets are tight but demand is high (ie., construction firms).
  • Charge what clients can afford: Don't forget about market forces! If too many freelancers start competing against each other by lowering prices too much then everyone loses out because eventually no one will make any money anymore...or worse yet they might lose their jobs altogether!

How to build a strong online presence?

A strong online presence is crucial to the success of any freelancer. Your website should be a place where people can learn about what you do, see examples of your work and get in touch with you. Here are some tips on how to build an effective website:

  • Have a professional-looking website that showcases your portfolio and contact details clearly
  • Make sure all of the information on your site is up-to-date, especially if it includes contact details or prices for services
  • Respond quickly when someone sends an email - responding within 24 hours is best

What are good practices to keep track of finances when freelancing?

The first step to keeping track of your finances as a freelancer is to use a good accounting software. It doesn't have to be expensive or complicated, but it should be able to do the basics: track income and expenses, create budgets and generate financial reports.

You'll also want to get in the habit of recording all of your income and expenses as they happen so that you don't lose track later on. You can do this manually using spreadsheets or by using an app on your phone that automatically tracks purchases made with credit cards or debit cards (like Mint).

Once you've got all of this data recorded somewhere safe (a cloud-based system), it's time for some number crunching! If you've been keeping tabs on every dollar coming into and going out from your business account(s), then creating an accurate budget shouldn't be too difficult; just add up all those figures for each month/quarter/year and voila! You have yourself a working budget plan for next year's earnings targets based off last year's performance data


If you're ready to take the plunge and make a go of it as a freelancer, we wish you all the best. If you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to contact us at [email protected] We'll be happy to help!

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