All freelancers need to understand something — you are still a business, and the business is you. I ought to know — I’ve been freelancing for over seven years. From the very moment you establish yourself as a freelancer, you are building your own reputation in your industry, and you grow your business by building up your client base and your products and services. That said, just because you are technically a business from the first day, it will still take a long time before you start to feel like a business. Surviving the first year is quite possibly the hardest part of the journey. Here are a few tips you can use to build your reputation, and eventually you will start to feel less like a freelancer and more like a business owner.
Dress the part
It’s tempting to throw away all your business suits and just work from home in your pyjamas. Unfortunately, this small act can have a negative impact on your business. Pyjamas make you feel like going back to bed all day, which can severely affect your productivity.
If you liaise with your clients over the phone or by email, your tone is different and people don’t believe that you want to work — of course you don’t, you’re dressed for bed. You don’t necessarily have to put on a tie every day, but dressing for work and sticking to established business hours can make you feel like you’re running a business instead of just working from home.
Protect your business
When you first become a freelancer, you’ll sign a lot of contracts with new clients, designed to protect their interests. As you are your own business, you also need protection. Therefore, there are two things you need; a Professional Indemnity insurance and a lawyer.
You can PI insurance from Qdos Contractor, and this will protect you when a client accuses you of providing inadequate services or designs. It covers the legal costs and expenses in defending the claim, as well as compensation payable to your client to rectify the mistake. A lawyer will not only defend you from these accusations, but they can also read over contracts before you sign them, and chase clients who don’t pay you for completed work.
Ensure you get paid
Even if you don’t feel like a business that exchanges services for money, you should still think of yourself as a hired professional who deserves to get paid. Sometimes clients are completely satisfied with your work, but they forget to pay you because they get busy. Always remember to, politely, chase them for the money they owe. Although it might feel scary at first to bill a client, you provided a service, and they need to pay you for your work; it’s that simple.
You can’t do everything yourself; you might have a few skills in addition to the one that’s helping you earn a living, but you shouldn’t try to be a computer wizard if your profession is a freelance writer. Pay other people to be your tech support, accountant, or even web designer if you don’t think you have the skills. This is your business, so you need everything to run smoothly.