Should I quit my job to start a freelance career?
If you are unhappy at your current 9 to 5 it's easy to dream about life in freelanceville. But dreaming and doing are two different things. To help you take the leap from employee to freelancer, read these 5 tips to help you decide whether you are ready and prepared to become a freelancer.
Talk to members of the freelance tribe for advice
Think working in your pajamas from home is cool? Talk first to a minimum of 5 freelance professionals to get the truth on everything from accounting and late paying clients to marketing, pricing and customer service. Request a few minutes of phone time or buy them a lunch at their favorite eating spot to get the skinny on how hard it is to launch and support a freelance business.
Get your forms and systems tight
Before you respond to a job listing in a freelance marketplace like Freelancer.com or Online-Writing-Jobs.com, make sure you have a great contract and non-disclosure agreement, customer questionnaires, invoices, email templates and presentation templates and proposals. Each industry from marketing to finance has required documents and processes that all professionals need. A business must be organized to run smoothly and properly. Start with the paperwork and systems before you think about working with clients.
Your marketing must be stellar and relevant to your target audience.
First impressions count. That's why your logo, website design, business cards and collateral must be professional and designed specifically for your target audience. Make a client profile to decide whether you are targeting small business owners with revenues of $500, 000 or less or members of the Fortune 1000 with billion dollar revenues.
Don't build a blog, get a twitter account or create a Facebook fan page until you are clear on who are your clients, how you can serve them better and faster than your counterparts and the type of messaging they respond to.
Have a team of cheerleaders on deck.
Running a business requires a village of optimists and an accountant. You need mentors and other tested business warriors to help you make it when you are doubting yourself, or when your biggest client is a later payer. Gather a group of positive and successful freelance business owners who will listen when you need to vent, protect you from the naysayers/haters and help you when you need honest advice.
Don't quit your day job, just yet.
If you don't have 6-12 months of salary saved up, grit your teeth and stay employed. Cash is king in a freelance business, and you need cash as a financial cushion until your business ramps up.
You must have enough money to invest in the business and take care of your household needs. You will be working long hours, so you need to plan to invest in your mental and physical health as well as taking care of the health of your business.