Are you tired of the grind of your office job? You’re only one of a large number of people that feel that way.

More people are looking to start freelancing than ever. There were actually 56.7 million Americans who worked as a freelancer during 2018.

Are you wondering what steps to take when starting a freelance business? Follow the seven steps below to get your freelance career started the right way.

1. Determine Your Goals

Before you start freelancing, it’s crucial to determine what you want to get out of it. Are you looking to replace your day job? Or are you looking to get a little extra money on the side?

Your answers here will help you come up with a plan of action. If you’re only freelancing to get a few extra bucks, you don’t need to worry as much about coming up with a long-term strategy. You always have your day job to fall back on.

But if you’re looking to replace your job, you can’t go into freelancing without a solid plan. You’ll need to figure out how you’re going to get customers and keep them coming in.

2. Find a Specific Niche

There are a lot of good side hustles out there. The question is, can you position yourself as an expert in one of them?

If you want to turn a side hustle into a successful freelance career, you need to find a niche where you can position yourself as an expert.

Take web development, for instance. Sure, you can advertise yourself as an expert web developer. But what does that mean?

You need a way to position your message. Can you make pretty websites, or can you create websites that bring more leads to law firms?

When you focus on more specific areas, it’s easier to target those businesses. Doing this will help you bring in more clients.

3. Find Your Ideal Client

Finding the right type of client is just as important as defining the type of work you want to do. You’ll probably click with a certain type of customer more than others. Figuring out who they are early on can help you streamline your marketing strategy to find them.

A great place to start is the size of businesses. Are you more comfortable working with small mom and pop shops or large corporations? Figure out the type of customer you can help best, and you’ll be able to provide better service.

If you don’t know where to start, you can test the waters early on with many types of customers. You’ll be able to learn the ins and outs of working with many types of businesses.

4. Create Your Brand

Once you narrow down your niche and target client, you need to create a brand that appeals to these customers.

If you’re starting out, you can start with a generic brand. As you continue to get more clients and experience, you’ll be able to narrow down your audience.

When this happens, you’ll need to change your brand to fit your target audience. Your messaging and portfolio should speak to the problems they have and tell your potential customers how you can solve those problems.

The best place to do this will be on your website. It’s the perfect place to advertise yourself 24/7.

5. Figure Out Your Pricing

Your pricing can make or break your business. What you charge with help determine the type of customer you will bring in.

The big thing to remember is that you should base your prices on the value you provide. It should never be on the amount of work you do. If you charge based on the amount of work done, you’re only creating another job for yourself.

Your brand also comes into play here. When you establish yourself as an expert who solves problems, price is less of a concern for businesses. If they can make more money than they spend on your services, it isn’t hard to not justify the cost.

6. Build Your Portfolio

It’s easy to say you’re good at something. It’s another thing to show it. If you want to close more clients, you need a portfolio to show the work you’re capable of producing.

Doing this can be difficult when you’re first getting started. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

If you want quick wins, look at the charities around your area. Reach out to the ones you think you can help and offer to do free work.

Be upfront with them and tell them that you’re building a portfolio. Many charities need to save money wherever possible so they can focus on spending on their cause. There aren’t many that will refuse you if they need the work done.

You don’t need a huge portfolio to get started either. Once you get a couple of portfolio pieces, you can start going after paid customers.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Referrals

Have you gotten your first clients? Congratulations! You’re on the right path.

The question is, can your past clients help bring you more business? If you do great work, people you’ve worked with before should have no issue with referring more business to you.

You want to ideally have most of your business coming from referrals in the future. When this happens, you can focus most of your time doing work instead of looking for more customers.

The time you free up can be spent relaxing or working more for extra cash.

Starting a Freelance Business Isn’t Easy

Don’t you think everyone would run a freelance business if they could? The problem is, starting a freelance business isn’t easy.

Before you start make sure you do the work needed to get started the right way. When you come up with a plan, you’re going to increase your chances of being a success.

Are you interested in learning how to market your new freelance business? Head to our marketing section to see what options are available to you.