Use Your Additional Time Wisely
This blog is from a new chapter that was added to The Freelance Developers Manual.
After looking over my current chapters, it occurred to me that I had missed a very key point if you decide to go freelancing full time.
This point was emphasized recently when I ran into a former co-worker who had relinquished his position at an organization we both worked at to go full time as a freelance web designer.
Unfortunately, things did not go well for him and his freelance business at the start.
He did not use the additional time to grow his new business.
After he left his full-time job, he was faced with all this free time.
Being young and restless, he ended up pursuing his hobby (triathlete) instead of building his business.
There is nothing wrong with pursuing your hobbies or interests, but quitting your job to go full time as a freelance web designer should have been his top priority. We can play later.
He admitted that he was too young, immature and unprepared to become an entrepreneur.
Tips and Suggestions
The bottom line, if you decide to become a full-time freelancer, you got to spend this new additional time in constructing your business. Here are a few points we all need to get better at:
1) Practice your people skills
- Become an excellent listener, people want to share their needs.
- Don’t brag about your accomplishments, the client most likely already checked you out.
- Be humble, not arrogant and boisterous.
2) Build your clientele.
- Meet new people.
- Go to meetings, meet-ups, sports events, class reunions, etc.
- Volunteer to teach at Wordcamps, etc.
3) Promote your brand
- Social Media: Spend time letting everyone know that you build websites.
- Pass out your business card.
- Make sure your business website is amazing looking and updated.
- Put your best work in your portfolio.
- Ask clients to give you good reviews on Yelps, Angies List, etc.
4) Volunteer work
- Build free websites for kids little league, pop warner, etc.
- Help out non profit organizations.
5) Spend time in researching remote online job sites
- Upwork, Freelancer, etc.
- Scrutinize projects that fit your expertise and rates.
- Check out each potential client, do they have complaints, do they have the potential for additional work later?
- Submit many proposals, more opportunity to receive a response.
- Goal is to get clients so you can start building your reviews. Developers with many high reviews will usually get more opportunities.
6) Spend time in preparing excellent proposals
- Remote online job sites.
- Local potential clients.
- Don’t rush, each proposal must be written to show the potential client that you can meet their needs.
- Be articulate and concise.
7) Put aside time to learn new web technologies
- You have to keep up the industry or you will fall behind.
- Learning new stuff will open up more opportunities.
- Or use the time to brush up on things you haven’t used recently.
8) Family Time
- Yes you now have extra time to spend with the family.
- You cannot neglect this important part of your life.
- You need to balance your work time and family time.
- Happy family equals happy work time.
9) Administrative Duties
- Proposals,Invoices and Receipt Templates Ready.
- Register your business for GE Tax account.
- Resgister your business for a EIN.
- Setting up online bookkeeping: Freshbooks or Quickbooks.
- Setup a seperate business bank account.
- Print professionally made business cards.
10) Setup Office Space
- A private area so you can eliminate family distractions.
- Be able to make phone calls without background noise.
- An area where you can focus, be sure to have a window so you can look outside at times.
- Adjust monitor, keyboard and desk for best comfort.
As you can see, there is always something to do to enhance your business.
Pedal to the Metal
Don’t be like my friend, work will not just come calling.
You have to put time, effort and even sacrifice to be a success.
Or like the saying: “Blood, Sweat, and Tears.”
Don’t let up on the gas pedal, you need to keep the momentum rolling.
If this is too overwhelming for you, maybe a 9 to 5 job is your cup of tea.
Everyone loves and sees the advantages of being a full-time freelancer.
Such as making your hours, being the boss, do what you love to do, being independent, just to name a few things.
What people don’t see at first is all the hard work that I mentioned above.
Freelancing is not for everyone, but if you have the vision, the dream, and you get excited about the potential opportunities that lay ahead, this is your chance to join this unique crowd.
So the question is, can you make that 100% commitment?
Back to my friend:
But all is well with my friend, he now is a supervisor for a local media company and doing quite well for himself.
Ironical, he has lost interest in becoming a triathlete since getting married.
Amazing how our priorities can change!