Friday, November 27, 2009

Freelancing: The Next Step After Survival

Business Man

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After almost a year of freelancing part-time, I can look back and say, "Wow. Maybe I can make it after all." Having some steady income was a major part of my decision in going it part-time. The challenge was then, how do I make up the other half of my income. There have been some tough weeks since going freelance in January. However, I can't say that there have been tough months. The business is there; however, it has been unpredictable with respect to cashflow. While, I am not rolling in money, I know that I can survive, at least. Now that I know that I have a pretty decent shot at surviving, what next?

The next step in my freelancing quest, now that I have confidence in my ability to generate business, is to refine my processes. Many business owners are very intimately knowledgeable about their business because they see the numbers every day. They have been involved with most of the details of their business from its infancy. If something is off, they can sense it. I am getting to the point where I can see how the business model works. Seeing this, it is possible to tweak the model to reduced wasted efforts and increase revenues.

Some of the things I have learned the hard way:

  • You MUST charge what you are worth to be able to survive until the next job.

  • Listen to what the client needs and deliver that. Only offer something better when they are ready to invest time in learning something new.

  • Master your calendar. Most business is not an emergency. Plan your work and personal time, or else you'll never have personal time.

  • Always be on the lookout for new business. Opportunities are sporadic. It is better to have too much opportunity than not enough.

  • Decide whether you'll be a night person, or a very early in the morning person. Quiet time is vital if you have a family.

In short, I find myself ready to take that next step in my freelancing business: giving it structure. The old days when I could fit an appointment into my "busy schedule" are gone. I actually have a busy schedule now; and it is important to make sure that I get the most out of my day to make it all worthwhile. My days are full; but not busting at the seams. My next goal is to generate enough business to be able to hire somebody to help me.

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