As we have explored numerous times on this site, boomers are continuing to change the workforce in search of their preferred career paths, and one of the emerging trends among their group is the growing interest in freelance work. Boomers are looking for alternatives to the regular 9-to-5 office world while still putting their years of experience to good use. Thus, freelance work is very desirable for many boomers. But how can you launch a successful freelance career after years of working for organizations? It’s a daunting thing to head out on your own, but comes with a great deal of benefits. Even if you’re not looking to leave your full-time job, freelance work is a great side venture that can help add to your retirement fund. So if you have dreams of entering the freelance world, here are a few tips for getting things off the ground.
Identify your goals.
As with any new adventure, sitting down and planning things out is a helpful way to ensure things go smoothly. When it comes to your freelance business, you want to consider your vision for what the business will be and what you want to achieve with it over the years. Not only does this help to solidify things before you actually start the work, but it helps you to escape make it real and dismiss the idea that this is get a silly thought you had. Build goals that are not only well-defined, but measurable. This will help to keep you on track and moving forward as you set out with your new business.
What’s your niche?
If you’re considering a freelance business, no doubt you’ve identified a skill or service you can provide that you deem marketable. But just identifying a valuable skill is not enough to build a business out of, you need to be more specific with what you can provide. The market place is flooded with skills and services, and you’ll not only be competing with the other freelancers, but established businesses as well. Making your freelance service unique and specific helps you stand out as a commodity in a busy market. You need to ensure the service is still sought after enough to warrant a business but still fits a certain niche.
Decide on a target audience.
Identifying your audience is one of the most important aspects of starting a business on your own. You could have a valuable service to provide, but if you don’t know who it should be marketed to, then it’s not going to really go anywhere. Research the market, consider your service and determine which clients you should be targeting and where your services will be most valued. Understanding this is essential for launching a successful business and keeping it thriving.
Know how to market yourself.
Similarly, offering a good service is no help to you if no one knows about it. Sure, you can hope you’ll be referred by happy clients, but that’s a risky way to get a business to grow. Before you start, you’ll need to establish a thorough marketing plan. This doesn’t mean you have to spend piles of money you don’t have, but you do have to look at the tools at your disposal and form some sort of plan for marketing your business. Decide what kinds of marketing materials you’ll need, where you can market, and how to use social media to grow your business. This is also a great time to consider your own brand and how to strengthen it. No matter how small your business might be, proper marketing is the key.
Pick the right clients to get things off the ground.
Finding a solid client list when you’re starting out might be one of the more difficult tasks you’ll have, but it’s important when looking for your first clients that you consider how they will help your business grow. This could mean targeting bigger, more influential clients in which case you need to know how to pitch you service to such prospective clients. Or it could mean calling in some favours from establish business contacts. You might feel uncomfortable with this approach but it’s a strategic move that can be done professionally and help you get your business off the ground.
Show what you can do.
Another very important aspect of starting a freelance job is being able to display your ability to perform the service you are selling. As a freelancer, you won’t have the name recognition or reputation of an established company to back your promises off good work. Instead, you’ll need to let your past successes speak for your skills. Develop a professional portfolio of your work to be shown to potential clients. Even better, build a website which can display your work for anyone interested in your business. As you client list grows, so will your portfolio and your reputation for reliable work.
Decide on pricing.
Pricing can be a very difficult thing to determine. For one thing, you don’t want to price your services too high. In a competitive market, your skills will be balanced with your prices to an extent, but if those prices go too high, then it doesn’t matter how good you are – people will seek out the better deal. On the other hand, you don’t want to go too low. You’ll be putting a lot of work into this business and that’s certainly worth something. Nor do you want to price yourself out of work. Consult with accountants and establish how much you’ll need to charge in order to sustain a business. It will still take some figuring out to find the right price but it’s an important part of new business that can’t be ignored.