Many take up freelancing as a side-hustle; while others do it full-time.
A report from UpWork stated that employees who left jobs to pursue freelancing, earned much more than they do before.
If you take an interest in joining the freelance economy, ensure you have a sound business plan. This will help you earn increasing profits. After all, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”
What is a business plan? It defines a service/product and underlines the company’s goals. It also outlines strategies for achieving those goals.
Creating a well-structured business plan may seem intimidating. But you must remember the benefits. It will save you time, reduce your stress, and potentially make steady earnings.
You’re working full time. Why should you go ahead with freelance business?
1. You Become Your Own Boss
Yes, you will work with companies/clients, but at your own pace. You won’t have to worry about a “boss” and can test what self-employment feels like.
Try to spend 15-20 hours per week on freelance projects. Remember, you already have a job, so your focus should be to work with the best clients possible (even if the pay is less).
2. Helps Develop Your Skills
When you work as a freelancer and handle many projects, it will put your skills to the test. You will discover more of your strength and development areas. You get to decide how much workload and how many clients you can take at any given time.
Try to focus on the quality of work. If you are a freelance writer, invest time in research, keep up with changing trends, and read more. Focus also on enhancing your skills.
3. Allows You to Build Valuable Connections
We all know by now, “network is net worth.” Through freelancing, you get to work with global clients on varied projects.
When you deliver genuine value to them, such clients will always pursue you for work. This is a business opportunity!
4. Gives You a Chance to Earn More
You already have a fixed income, thanks to your full-time job. But as a freelancer, work can flow in and out at any moment. You have the potential to earn maximized income.
Keep a track of your work using CRM tools such as Salesflare. If you are earning enough, I suggest you save the full amount for your freelance business.
Things To Consider While Creating A Freelancing Business Plan
To kick off your journey as a freelancer, I will help you with a few tips. What are the things to consider for putting a business plan together? Let’s dive in.
1. Identify the Company’s Purpose
Ensure your business goals are well-defined. Think of a vision statement. Tell your business story through your company/executive summary.
Outline an overview and mention the business purpose. Introduce your brand and mention what and how you want to achieve goals.
Talk about your business’ uniqueness for potential clients to see. It should intrigue them to read your business plan and reach out to you for work.
If you have a distinct target and your plan is in place, you can become a full-time freelancer.
2. Define Your Target Audience
No business is successful without customers or clients.
Thus, once you set a plan, you need to identify your target market. This should be in line with the services you offer.
Is there a particular industry that you are targeting? Research your potential clients. Understand what they already have, what they are looking for, and how you can help.
It is very important to find the right clients for your business. The first few clients will also help build your portfolio. Choose them carefully.
3. Offer Services at Strategic Rates
In a freelance business, it is crucial to set the right price for your services. The rate you charge hourly should meet your income targets.
It should be a competitive rate and ensure it isn’t too low. Pricing your services too low will negatively affect the market, as your competitor will be compelled to do the same. In the end, the price for the type of services you are offering will become grossly undervalued.
Of course, if you get to work with a big brand, focus on the project quality and not fee. This could be your one-time opportunity to build your portfolio.
4. Do a Competitors’ Assessment
We all know competition can be good and bad. Anyhow, it’s important to know who your competitors are.
Suppose you choose to be a freelance proofreader or editor, scout the other players in the industry. Your competition is not limited to other freelancers only. They can be marketing agencies and other businesses as well.
Think of how you can do things differently. What will make you stand out? What are your competitor’s best practices? How are they charging their clients? What makes your work unique?
Some areas you can differentiate yourself from your competitors include pricing, quality of product or services, speed of delivery, and after-sales service. You usually can’t trump other players in all the said aspects, so always highlight your strongest suit.
5. Manage Clients
A strong client base will help your freelance business in the long run. Your focus should be to have repeat customers while acquiring new ones. The latter will not be easy when you start.
Freelancing is all about making connections. Oh, also delivering work that is beyond your client’s expectations! Identify the problem of the potential customer and propose a solution.
Think of how you can add value to the project. You can deliver earlier than the agreed due date, provide other relevant services at no extra cost, or just be consistent with communicating well with your client.
Ensure you can sell your services and show relevant work experience for the same. You can find clients on various freelance platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, Toptal, etc.
To keep your business growing, ensure clients are happy with your consistent results. This will make them come back to you with more work.
6. Plan Out Sales & Marketing Strategies
Marketing is important for any business to reach a larger audience.
Your marketing and sales strategies will help clients to understand your services better.
Remember, visibility is essential in generating brand awareness. There are several avenues you can explore to achieve this. Having a well-designed web or blog site is one of the most effective. Social media platforms provide you with a multi-pronged means to reach out to a wider client base.
Be sure to list down your marketing strategies in your business plan. A practical plan will help generate a higher number of leads for your business. Keep tracking your marketing progress.
7. Have Goals and Milestones Backed by a Timeline
A strategic business plan will reveal how crucial it is to set a sales target. When you start, have a revenue goal in mind.
Think of how much you want to earn within a timeframe. For example, it’s $12,000 for the first 6 months. How many clients would you need to work with to achieve this goal? How many hours should you put in daily?
Other goals you may have are not just about revenue but building your brand and your market relevance. Make yourself and the value you offer known to potential clients. You could target having a substantial increase of visitors to your site or boosting your reputation in the biz.
Determine the expected amount and number of clients first. Then list out larger and smaller milestones and assign a timeline for each. This will help you focus better.
8. Manage Finances
As a freelancer, assume that you started a small business for yourself. Remember, every business will need a budget to cover expenses.
Think of an annual salary you plan to earn through the business. Then break down the salary target into months. This will be less stressful for you. Identify which clients are recurring and would provide you with a regular income.
Also remember, you need to consider all the expenses. Of course, you need to pay for utilities, rent, internet service, value depreciation of your office equipment, taxes, and many others.
Initially, you could ask for help from a friend or a relative for financial planning, especially if you are not adept at crunching numbers.
Last, but not least, once the money starts flowing in, you should plan to re-invest a part of your earnings to grow your business. You should also consider expanding your investment portfolio like in real estate or the stock market. But never forget to do due diligence before taking the plunge.
9. Build a Portfolio Website
For a freelance business, building an online presence will be a significant move!
Start a high-quality blog and advocate your work through its pages. Don’t forget, these pages will be the first impression your clients will have of you.
Showcase examples of your work/projects. Call attention to your accomplishments and skills. If you have client testimonials, ensure to include the same.
If you need other ideas on how to make an impressive online business portfolio, check out one of my past articles 10 Best Editor Portfolio Examples (That’ll Inspire You).
Put Your Plan Into Action
When you create a freelance business plan, always expect the unexpected. Freelancing can be incalculable. With changing trends, it is best to review and update your business plan frequently.
As a best practice, maintain an emergency fund for any unexpected financial crisis. Also, prepare yourself to witness a low demand for projects/work. Don’t lose hope, hang on and work hard. Believe in your idea and it will turn into reality.
I hope you found this article useful. Best wishes for your business plan!