New To Freelancing? Here’s What You Need To Know

A few weeks ago I did something totally wild in The Free Mama community.

(If you’re new to freelancing, you’re going to want to listen up.)

I asked what you mamas wanted to know about freelancing…

What if I don’t know what I’m good at?

How do I find clients?

How much do I charge them when I do get them?!

And then…

I answered your questions live….while holding a baby.

Told you it was wild.

In case you missed all of the excitement and awesomeness, or if you just want to see how I respond under pressure, here’s your link to the replay.

If you’re reading this while nursing or just need to keep the noise down (ya know, so your boss doesn’t know you’re planning your sweet escape into a work from home life you love) than read on, mama.

You asked, I answered.

New to freelancing? Here’s what you need to know.

Should you choose a niche as a freelancer?

YES, you should decide on a niche! It’s just plain smart. Here’s why: many of entrepreneurs and businesses in the same industry will utilize a lot of the same software and speak the same lingo. What does that mean for you? Fewer systems to adopt and a shorter learning curve. (Side note: choosing a niche does not mean you shouldn’t continue to learn new skills!)

How do I decide on my niche if I’m just starting out?

How you decide on a niche is a little trickier. I really didn’t have a niche when I started freelancing, which was a BIG mistake. A great place to start is by looking into what you are passionate about or what you have experience in. This could include things like Health, Nutrition, Education, Real Estate, Accounting…etc. By choosing something that you are passionate about or interested in, you are going to be much more excited about the work that you get to do – promise.

What’s your niche?

Alright, I’m giving it all away. If I had to suggest a niche/industry that NEEDS your help and WANTS to pay you to solve their problems, it’s the world of coaches, course makers and solopreneurs. This industry is growing because anyone that is getting successful by working for themselves is getting too busy and need help because they can’t do everything by themselves.

Where is the best place to find clients and/or opportunities?

Find out where they HANG OUT! This is one of those obvious/not-so-obvious answers. Once you have decided on your niche and industry that you want to pursue, start by doing some market research and then find out where you can find them. This could include everything from local conventions in person to specific Facebook groups (There is a Facebook group for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING). LinkedIn is another great resource that is overlooked so often. The first step in getting clients is to build relationships. LinkedIn is a great platform for creating these relationships.

How do I figure out what skills I have if I have no experience in marketing or business?

You do NOT need to have experience in marketing or business to be successful at freelancing. Skills such as organizing, scheduling, and basic administrative tasks are perfect for clients who are looking for an extra hand in getting everyday tasks done. If you are still struggling to find out what skills you are best at, I urge you to reach out to your network. Turn to your friends, family, co-workers or even past employers and ask them: What skills am I good at? If I could show or teach you something what would it be? What do I do that I am good at? Sometimes it’s hard to see these things in ourselves but is seen easily by the people closest to us.

What pay is realistic for someone just getting into freelancing?

How much you make depends on how much time you are willing to invest. There is a module in my program where I will give you a formula that will help you figure out what your rate should be. I also encourage going with project based pricing vs hourly rate. Your value and the problems that you solve are worth more than what you can accomplish in 60 minutes.

When setting your pay rate there are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • What are my financial goals?
  • Do I want to leave a 9-5 job and if so, how much money will I need to be made to compensate that?
  • How much time do I have to work my freelancing business each week?

Do hourly jobs vs. Fixed pay jobs make a difference in your overall long-term success?

In my opinion, trying to find a smaller number of long-term clients is more beneficial. If you are only serving clients once or twice and then moving on, you will have to spend a lot more time marketing yourself and finding more clients. By making yourself part of your client’s team, you create a relationship with them so that they will WANT to continue paying you over and over.

How do you know you are ready to be a VA? I can manage emails and I’m ok with social media, but am I good enough? My biggest fear is rejection and failure.

YES, you are absolutely good enough! You can start honing your skills now. Start by working on things that you ARE naturally good at and work on becoming an expert in them. If emails are your jam, start researching email management systems such as MailChimp or Constant Contact for example. The most important part is get started! To keep building your confidence, continue learning and while finding small successes quickly.

Does your training cover the administrative side of the business?

As overwhelming as it may sound, the program covers EVERYTHING. I literally cover all the software that I currently use for all my clients. While it is comprehensive, there is a balance of hitting the high points to cover everything in the 12 weeks. For example: One module will touch on Social Media, but will not go through full tutorials on how to become a full-time social media manager and strategist. My program does cover all areas for how to set up your freelancing business from a logistical and organizational standpoint. Furthermore, I also teach you how to apply these skills to your client’s businesses as well.

As a freelancer, how do you manage to stay organized and make sure that your taxes each year are done correctly considering overhead costs, taxes, receipts, supplies, travel etc.?

During the program, I will cover a home-based tax tracker that will help you take a percentage of your dedicated work space so that you benefit from that on your taxes. As far as expenses, this is up to you on how much you want to invest in items such as software, hardware, supplies. Computer and Internet are really the ONLY necessities that you need to get started as a freelancer.  Another great tool that I will introduce is Quickbooks Self-Employed. This will assist you with your taxes and help you to do them properly. This software is inexpensive and helps to manage both income and expenses and connects easily with my bank account, credit card and PayPal. When freelancing you have two options, you can become a sole proprietor or an LLC. I chose to create an LLC to help protect myself and my family from being sued. I have never been nor plan on being sued, this is just what I was most comfortable with.

Do you have any other questions about what it takes to start your freelancing career so that you can quit your 9-5 and spend more time doing what you enjoy with clients you choose and your babies? Head over to the FB group and maybe I’ll just pop in to answer it Live!

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