For all the freelancers reading this article right now, there are some steps to success you can take to create a profitable freelance company for yourself.
Being a freelancer comes with many perks. You get to enjoy the freedom of working from home all while setting your own schedule. You also get to pick your own clients and choose your desired rate of pay. Freelancing is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re the go-to expert in your industry.
While some freelancers can expect a feast or famine type of business model – where you’re making great money one month and not so great the next – there are certain tasks you should take upon yourself to ensure your success each month.
If you want to build your freelance business, these are the 5 commandments you should be focused on:
1. Acquire Testimonials After Every Job
What’s your most important job? It’s the one where your last customer was so happy they told people about you. Knowing this, each job should be equally important in your business. When you perform outstanding work for a client, don’t be shy, ask for a testimonial.
Have a page set up on your website where they can tell the world how great you are. If you don’t have a page specifically set up for this, you can grab these testimonials in different ways.
You already know testimonials are an important aspect of your business. However, what you may not know is how powerful word of mouth is for your company. A study done in 2014 revealed an astounding 75% of freelance jobs comes from word of mouth.
Your client has colleagues and friends they can share your greatness with. Every successful freelancer will glean these testimonials from their clients and make sure to refer their friends and co-workers back to their business.
2. Be Available As Much As Possible
You want to get the jobs you want? Be there when they come available. Aside from word of mouth and grabbing jobs from the people you know, you can also create expertise about yourself in freelance platforms like Upwork, oDesk, Freelancer, and others like this.
There are always places to go to find jobs online. Not only should you be available for more work to fill your time with, you should also remember the clients you still have and make yourself available for their needs as well. It’s important to keep your current clients happy and when they need you for a rush job, make sure you are there for them.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf
3. Be a Communication Machine
Not only should you make yourself available, you should also make yourself accessible. It’s no fun for your clients to have to track you down in order to get an update or ask for more work to be done.
Nathan Hirsch, co-founder and CEO of the FreeeUp freelancer hiring marketplace, says one of the reasons most freelancers lose jobs is because the freelancer was nowhere to be found. It’s important to remember to share every contact detail you have with your clients so you both can work well together.
Successful freelancers have these tools in their portfolio:
With a mix of communication tools at your disposal, even if you’re away from your desk, your client should still be able to get your attention within the span of 30 minutes or less.
4. Extend Your Expertise Through Others
While most freelancers are happy with keeping busy with the clients they have, freelancers who want to build their businesses will take advantage of every talent they come across.
For example, you may be an expert in the social marketing industry, but you keep getting stray clients from the search engine optimization industry. Just because you don’t have the expertise to complete the job doesn’t mean you have to send them away since you can use other freelancers. This is where contracting work comes into play and it can help your overall reach in your business.
Over time, you will come into contact with other freelancers who have multiple talents you do not have yourself. When a job comes your way in which you have no experience in, reach out to someone who does and split the profits.
While this is a whole different ball game for freelancers to pursue, it can become very lucrative if you understand what to do. First, build a community of freelance experts. You can do this easily by setting up a Facebook group. I personally set up a freelance writing group on Facebook and, in the span of 2 months, have added 3,000+ new writers into the space. Here we discuss best strategies, recommend our friends for freelance jobs, and make each other better through discussion.
5. Stay On Track With Taxes
I know this isn’t something you want to think about at the moment, but in April it will come up again. It’s relevant to have something in place to help you regulate the money which you have acquired over the past year with your freelance business.
99designs explains how the government will be taking a percentage of your income out in taxes. In order to prepare for this, they have wisely suggested putting back your governmental portion each month in a savings.
You have to run your freelance operations like a business. While taking care of taxes and fees aren’t something you dream of doing, it is something you need to adjust for because the time will come to pay the piper and you must be prepared.
Take some time and research other tax preparations for freelancers so you won’t be caught with any surprises at the end of the year. In fact, this part plays a huge role in building your freelance company. You want to be able to have a working budget after the government takes their part.
Are You Ready?
In order to create a profitable freelance business you need to be able to stand on the foundational principles of those freelancers who have gone before you and succeeded. This, and your own creativity and imagination can push you towards your goals of success. Don’t fall trap to the “always famine” idea of a freelancer by using these 5 commandments to nurture your business model.
What are some ways you have built your business? Let us know by commenting below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
3 Ways to Remove the Hustle From Your Business Through the Power of Automation
If you’re anything like me, when building your business online you may see asking for help or taking short cuts as cheating. I can’t explain why but when I first launched my business online, I wanted so badly to be able to do everything for myself. It gave me more of a sense of achievement, and I worked many extra hours than I probably needed to trying to do everything myself.
The admin, content creation, marketing, prospecting, web design…I’m sure you get the picture. But it all came to a head when I would burn myself out time and time again. I kept hitting a wall where my business was concerned as there was only 1 of me and only limited hours in the day.
I got bored of the hustle and thought there must be a much simpler way to build and market a business online. Especially as I was a single mother, looking after my child when I wasn’t running a business single handedly. That’s when I discovered something that not only gave me back my freedom but also transformed my business, bringing in enough revenue within 8 weeks to enable me to leave the day job and become a work from home mum.
It was the power of automation!
I looked all around me as well at the other mum’s building their businesses online but desperately struggling to make ends meet and wearing themselves out. I knew there was a way to simplify my sales and business processes.
Here are my top 3 recommended tools to start removing the hustle from your business today:
1. Messenger marketing
I use Manychat which is a messenger marketing platform which enables you to market to your subscribers directly through Facebook messenger. The ways in which you can use this incredible technology is endless but I will name a few ways in which you can use this in your business.
Automate your sales process! You can build a sales funnel with a messenger bot that can take your prospects through a warm up sequence, build the relationship with them, showcase all of your products and services and even take payments on autopilot.
You can register people for online events or training sessions using your messenger bot, communicate with everyone simultaneously and provide any updates direct to their messenger.
Do you have a membership, team or group of people you need to communicate with? Create a messenger bot specifically for them to enable you to communicate with everyone directly at the same time with just 1 click of a button. Subscription messages can also be sent and scheduled in advance.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates
Another form of digital marketing, email marketing has been around for some time but still very much has a place in today’s marketing world. You can use a lead page/landing page and an account with an email provider to automate all aspects of your sales process and communicate regularly with your subscribers.
Treat your list well, provide them with valuable content and you can build a tribe of loyal followers. If you match this with an ongoing ad campaign you have the ability to be making sales on autopilot.
Set your automation up and you can take your leads through your whole sales process and all the way up your product/service value ladder. If you sell digital products such as courses, this allows you to be earning a residual income whilst you sleep.
3. Automate your social media content
Zapier is the most incredible workflow automation tool I have ever come across. Allowing you to create automations between most apps that you can use online. For example, if you use spreadsheets, you can create a trigger every time a new entry is entered on your google sheet with an email address, they automatically get added to your mailing list and sent automated emails.
My favourite zap (an automation created between 2 apps) is between Trello and Buffer. You can connect both apps together in a seamless way which allows you to plan your social media content in Trello, write your content, set the date you wish the content to post, add an image and this will automatically send all of the information to your Buffer account and schedule the post for your social media accounts.
Even more incredible is that this system works across multiple platforms so you can use it to schedule content for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram all at the same time.
“Automation and technology don’t cure behavioural ruts; they just create new instances of them.” – Kenneth Goldsmith
I can’t even begin to tell you how much my life has changed since implementing these into my business. In just 3 months my income increased by 500%. So it’s time to relax and start implementing some automation into that business of yours. The hustle is all a myth.
5 Challenges New Entrepreneurs Will Face While Starting a Business
Entrepreneurship is a field that comes with many obstacles and challenges. It’s important to be aware that sometimes it can be extremely difficult, especially for first-time entrepreneurs.
Before you launch your business, you need to be well equipped to face the challenges that’ll surely come your way. Mark Victor Hansen, Founder and Co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, said “You don’t become enormously successful without encountering a number of extremely challenging problems.”
Here are the 5 challenges that you are likely to face and how you can overcome them:
1. Lifestyle Change
The experiences of entrepreneurship will change you profoundly, from the way you think, to how you act, to your manner of living. You begin to realize you’re not getting enough sleep, have little time for yourself, can’t spend the same amount of time with friends, and you get complaints from people closest to you This is all because you’re putting most, if not all your energy and focus into running your business.
The solution, in order to sustain your passion, is to make some tough choices and identify your priorities. You’ll need to sacrifice much while you learn new things. You can start by organizing your day the night before, by creating a list of your activities for the next day in terms of priority.
Constantly, visualize your destination and surround yourself with people that motivate, inspire and push you to be your best self. By the time you apply these principles, you’ll feel more relaxed and energized.
2. Facing Uncertainty
When you launch your business, even if you offer the best product or service in your industry, you’re bound to face uncertainty.
Your marketing strategy might fail, your customers may not be ready for your product or service because it’s too early, and your competition may be a little bit tougher than expected. Even if you’re able to handle all of this, it doesn’t mean you’ll get your desired paycheck. However, keep in mind, that if you are well prepared, you’ll be in the best position to handle any of these roadblocks without stress.
An important thing to do is to test your product in the marketplace. By doing this, you will observe how the market views your product or service and can get feedback as well. If you do this right, you’ll be on your way to launching a successful business. The joy that eventually comes from launching a successful business is the greatest feeling ever.
“Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.” – Brian Greene
3. Team Building
Recruiting a trustworthy and reliable team is an important part of building a successful business. Every entrepreneur should know it’s important to recruit a strong team because your team can either make or break your business.
Lawrence Bossidy, Former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell, once said “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people not on strategies.” The common mistake new entrepreneurs make is hiring too quickly and if this doesn’t turn out well, you might be setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.
One solution is to hire individuals you already know or get references from people you trust from your professional life. Having the right people around is significant because they will influence your decisions and therefore the success of your business. Choose wisely.
4. Capital Management
One of the major reasons many startups fail within the first few months of business is because of capital mismanagement. The common mistakes entrepreneurs make are spending prematurely and not separating personal account from your corporate account. Spending too early on items like business cards and marketing materials might just end up being too costly for your startup.
You need to stay on top of your cash flow by keeping track of all your business expenses. You need to create a budget and set up an emergency fund account. You may decide to hire an accountant to help handle your finances, so they can assist you in fine-tuning where the money goes.
“Money is usually attracted, not pursued.” – Jim Rohn
Starting and running a business can be very stressful. This pressure can cause entrepreneurs to feel alone and maybe even depressed. If it’s extreme, you may develop mental health problems. Studies show that 30% of entrepreneurs report a lifetime history of depression.
It’s vital to reach out to your support system regularly. Family, close friends or mentors can be a big help in getting you back to your best. Once in a while get together with your family and friends and do some fun activities.
Starting a business has it’s challenges but if you’re prepared and know what’s ahead or what to expect, it will be a little less surprising when you run into an obstacle and you’ll be able to take the hit better than you thought!
Have you wanted to start a business? If so, what’s holding you back from pursuing it 100%? Share your thoughts with us below so we can be of service to you!
9 Ways to Help You Think Like an Entrepreneur
Going by popular opinion, being an entrepreneur seems a lot more thrilling than the typical 9-to-5 job. No bosses anymore, no pressure of completing the work in a rush, and no limited paycheck. Sure, an entrepreneur doesn’t have to go through the daily grind. However, there is so much more to the life of an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur is like treading on thin ice. The moment you decide to be one, 9-to-5 will almost turn to 24×7. Your consumers will become your new bosses, and the size of your pay check will differ from month to month. If you still want to venture into it with the resolve to work hard and the willingness to innovate, you can join the club.
Now, to make your journey a little smooth, here’s presenting some pertinent ways to think like an entrepreneur:
1. Pinning your hopes in one place takes you on the road to disaster
To think like an accomplished entrepreneur, you must know that these professionals would never place all of his/her hopes in one place. Too much dependence on luck could be detrimental to the business that you are working on.
In reality, you must always be prepared for things that might never go as planned. There’s no point in being dejected about the way things are unfolding. Instead, you have to be willing to go with the flow and simply accept things as they come.
2. Treat your decision making skill like a superpower
You must be familiar with the iconic dialogue from the movie Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Well, it’s the same with entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be the person to make decisions and be quick at it. Now, over-analysing things can take up a lot of time, and you may miss out on many opportunities along the way. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to decide, or shouldn’t ask experienced people for advice. When required, you must act quickly. Make more space for big decisions, and do away with the small ones.
3. Wear your confidence like an armour
This is one of the most significant aspects of developing an entrepreneurial mindset. You should have self-confidence in abundance and immense faith in your abilities. If you keep doubting and second-guessing every decision, then you will never be able to take risks.
An entrepreneur is aware of the fact that he/she is the captain of their ship. The moment he/she starts to flounder or display any signs of weakness and insecurity, the workers and investors are bound to lose faith in him/her. This is something that is harmful to any business.
“Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.” – Wendy Wasserstein
4. Never let failures get to your head (or heart)
Failures and struggles are as inevitable as the sunrise and sunset. The value of your success increases tenfold if you have gone through an insurmountable struggle.
A skilled entrepreneur always thinks in a way that they’re both willing to accept failure and success with open arms. They would never let failures bring them to heel, and at the same time won’t bask too long in the glory of successes.
If you develop such an attitude to your work and develop a positive way of thinking, then there’s no stopping you from making it big as an entrepreneur.
5. Taking calculated risks comes with the territory
An entrepreneur has to be well-versed with taking calculated risks. You should be happy when things go as planned and should gracefully accept when things don’t exactly go the way you want.
Ultimately, to thrive and prosper in today’s business landscape, it’s vital to take risks. Make sure you take risks after doing your homework. This is exactly how successful entrepreneurs think and make decisions. Make sure once you’ve made a decision, you stand by it. After all, there is no point in constantly thinking if you have done the best for your business.
6. Always stay updated with relevant information
Like every successful entrepreneur, you too have to be acquainted with the latest advancements in your field. In order to gather sufficient knowledge, you have to keep your eyes and ears open to what’s happening around you. It’s only when you’re clued in to what’s going on in the world around you, that you’ll be able to collect relevant information.
This, in turn, will help you to get ahead in life. Isolating or cutting yourself off from the rest of the world will only create a roadblock in your way to success and prevent you from moving forward.
7. Ignorance isn’t a bliss when it comes to good advice
Connecting with people in your field allows you to develop the thought process of an entrepreneur. You must interact with the industry experts and influential figures in your line of work because they’ll help you sway your thought process in the right direction.
If you are ignorant towards good advice that people offer, then you are likely to end up making mistakes. In the fiercely competitive world of business, finding a mentor to guide you in your journey to success is absolutely invaluable.
“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” – J Loren Norris
8. Your qualifications will always be useful
Having the right qualifications will propel you to think like an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur involves hardships and turbulence, and the journey won’t always be smooth. You must be ready to counter any and every obstacle that is thrown your way.
An entrepreneur is someone who has a flair for thinking. That’s how they come up with solutions to problems that present themselves all of a sudden. Having appropriate training and qualifications can help you with your problem-solving skills.
For instance, if you want to set up an industry specific company, you must have the right training and qualifications to understand the nuances of the business.
In order to help an organization move forward, an entrepreneur knows that it is essential to stay positive at all times. If he/she gives in to negativity, then it won’t be long before the employees fall prey to the negative feelings.
Accomplished entrepreneurs are smart enough to ensure that the negative vibes do not affect the workflow. It’s no secret that when you maintain a positive outlook, you will also motivate your subordinates to work efficiently.
These are some ideas you can implement in your daily life to think like an entrepreneur. While entrepreneurship may come across as thrilling, there is a lot of hard work that goes into it. However, be assured that if you put your heart and soul into it, success will never evade you.
Which one of the 9 ways to help you think like an entrepreneur resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!
10 Productivity and Business Hacks for Early Stage Entrepreneurs
1Entrepreneurs’ work style is crazy, yet full of passion. Can you guess their success formula? Hard work? Dedication? Passion? Yes, all cumulatively, but smart entrepreneurs work with better productivity. It’s the way to their success.
Growing as an entrepreneur, especially after you have been used to a steady pay, company-paid health insurance, and a retirement savings program can be a bit scary. And you would not do a commitment to this if you don’t have a strong passion for your product, service and for being out on your own, as well as a willingness to take risks. You still have so much to comprehend about business operations, but if you’re engaged, fair enough for now.
To help you sidestep some of the common pitfalls, here are ten productivity tips for new entrepreneurs:
1. Cultivate Your Business Strategy
Before you launched, you put together at least an informal business plan. You set goals for where you wanted to be at certain benchmark points, and you listed the things to be done to get there. Now that you are a few months or more into your launch, it’s time to revisit that plan. You have a better “feel” for things, and you may need to modify. You should also think about formalizing the document so that when the time comes, you have something to show would-be investors.
2. Financial End of the Business
Initially, things go smoothly. You have a record of all of your start-up costs (these till be tax-deductible), and you are keeping a record of all of your monthly expenses – production costs, marketing, supplies, etc. You are also tracking all of your sales and the gross income from those. If you are still doing this by hand, stop. Get a basic accounting software package, and get all of this streamlined. You won’t need anything fancy and complex, but you probably will in the future. Most of them automatically prepare your tax returns too – a huge time saver.
In the early phase, marketing acts as one of the most vibrant segments of your business activities. Initially, you barely have industry connections. You may not have direct contracts. You immediately need initial business and referrals. You need to get your voice out there, and build relationships.
If you have not formed a comprehensive marketing maneuvering, you need one now. Is your website full of authoritative, informative pages? Are you embracing customer reviews and referrals? What about PPC and display advertising? Does it have a place on the annual budget? Are your physical stores (if you have) getting enough foot traffic? Hope you’ve gone through maps listing and optimization.
“Everyone can tell you the risk. An entrepreneur can see the reward.” – Robert Kiyosaki
4. Legal Reflections
You of course have your business registered with local, state, and federal entities. But there are other legal considerations as well. Depending upon your product or service, do you need liability insurance and statements of indemnification; if your business involves contracts with clients, are they clean, clear and tight? You need an attorney to cover all the bases, so don’t scrimp on finding and using a good one.
This can become a big issue and really hurt productivity if you are not very careful. Working on your own, especially with a home office, means that your hours are flexible, of course, but they cannot be “loose.” And you cannot hop from one activity to the next and back again, taking any interruptions as they come along.
You need to block out chunks of time for your tasks, and stick to those as much as possible. If you decide that email correspondence will happen from 12-1 every day, then that’s when it happens. Let your answering machine get your calls if you are deep into a project. Mapping every day according to an agenda keeps you on-task and focused.
6. Team Meetings
This is offbeat “killer” for productivity. If you have a trio, meet on a regularly scheduled base. And keep those meetings brief and to the point. Have an agenda, reach what must be covered, and close it out.
7. Sales Meetings and Presentations
If you are an e-commerce B2C retailer business, then you will be involved in sales presentations to dormant customers, except those that are done online, through your marketing campaigns. If you do have sales appointments, however, go in with a practiced presentation that is short and to the point. Hark more than you talk, value questions, and don’t be pushy, no matter how desperate you are for an order confirmation. Endure “no” or “I’ll think about it” with a smile, and leave the opportunity open for future conversation
8. Fine Tune Your Networking
Whether your networking is all online or a combination of online and on-the-ground, join as many networking groups as possible. You’ll learn a lot from the veterans, you’ll make great contacts, and your brand will be spread just that much more.
9. Develop an Elevator Pitch
Write one, practice it until it comes out naturally, and you will be ready for any introduction or conversation that comes around to the question, “What do you do?” Your pitch should be 30-seconds long at most, should be creative and delivered with enthusiasm, and followed by the handing over of a business card. You’ll use this at weddings, parties, conferences, and at bars – any place where you will come into contact with strangers. There are a lot of online sites as resources for pitch creation – use them to craft a truly engaging one.
“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” – Peter Drucker
10. Guard Your Health
Operating your own business means crazy long hours, at least in the commencement, and it’s obvious to skip routines, exercise, a mode to missing meals or, worse, eating way too much fast food. You have to carry this in mind always: Who will run the business if you are sick or emotionally exhausted?
You shouldn’t do hectic work hours taking a toll on your health. Instead, you should aim for:
- Exercising daily at least thirty minutes
- Quit smoking
- Proper sleep
- Eating fruits and vegetables daily
- Avoid distracting useless data
- Disrupt unhealthy habits
- Learn the art of applying a proper work-life balance
- Take regular breaks
- Enjoy the moment
Some leaders try to do more than they should. Are you one of those? Do you like to delegate tasks and only keep an eye on the entire process? Or are you involved in every single activity happening out there? If so, what’s your productivity formula?
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