The good folks at Invoice2Go asked me and a number of other freelancers for their advice on running a small business.
They compiled the result into this fabulous infographic jam-packed with top freelance tips.
Here it is – you’re sure to find many useful nuggets of information.
Click on the infographic to see a full size version.
I’ve also added the full text of the infographic below along with a short bio of each business owner featured.
If you have any top freelance tips to share yourself, please add them to the comments!
Supercharging your small business
We asked small business owners with years of experience from a variety of fields a simple question:
What is your top advice for starting a small business?
Be sure to take a walk every now and then, go for a coffee, talk to your friends. Do whatever you need to stop yourself going stir-crazy.
[Joe is a web designer and illustrator from Bristol, UK.]
You might be working crazy hours and earning a good income one month and then have almost no income the next.
[Reese works as a virtual assistant in Jerusalem. Israel.]
Be patient with yourself. If you’re a boot-strapper like I was at the beginning of my journey, your audience WILL grow as you stay consistent and persistent.
As a good rule of thumb, always have your projects due at the of the month turned back into your client 10 business days prior.
[Federica lives in Vancouver, Canada and works as a translator. She speaks English, Japanese, Italian and French.]
Learn to develop yourself into the person you can become, not the one you already are.
[Oliver is a digital artist from Germany.]
I had to stop shortchanging my talents. I had to believe in myself if I wanted to earn what I was worth.
[Debbie is a writer, editor and blogger from Buffalo, New York, USA.]
Make small goals for yourself and build your career as you go. Decide on a certain amount of time to dedicate to writing every day or choose a money goal.
[Brooke is a novelist and freelance writer from Omaha, Nebraska, USA.]
Positivity generates an addictive and contagious energy.
[Aaron is an adventurer, writer and travel blogger, also from Nebraska, USA.]
Make yourself accountable for your goals by sharing them with an audience.
[Melanie is a writer, songwriter and social media manager currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.]
Don’t be afraid to use that research opportunity as a chance to expand your knowledge and skill set. Learn it! The more things you can do, the more work that you can potentially receive.
[Kelsee lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Having studied musical theatre and stagecraft, she has many talents!]
… Relax a little, keep a sense of humour and to try to remember that the world won’t end if you don’t cross every little thing off the list today.
[Jenn hails from Vancouver, Canada and works as a communication coach.]
Factor your passions into your freelancing, because if you’re not excited about what you’re working on, it’s going to be difficult to stay motivated and on track when obstacles arise.
[Anna is a writer on sex and relationships from Oakland, California, USA.]
You don’t have to have an active presence on every single social media platform out there. Choose two or three that are relevant to you.
[Lia is a writer, editor, proofreader and social media manager. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.]
Once you’ve successfully completed a project, ask for recommendations to your client’s network. This allows you to quickly get access to many more potential clients with very little time and effort spend on your end.
[David is Product Manager at Beewits, an online project management software company.]
Don’t forget the power of in-person networking for freelancers. You never know where your next customer or business partner might come from.
[Alessandra is from Turin, Italy. She offers translation, copywriting and transcreation services.]
You can build a tribe of people who understand the unique struggles, and who can offer encouragement. You don’t want feel alone!
[As well as being a mum to seven kids, Lisa is a freelance writer and content creator in Valley, Washington, USA.]
Don’t disappear after you’ve done a job for someone […] You never know when someone from years ago might contact you again or direct a friend to your business.
[Alice is a photographer and visual artist based in Toronto, Canada.]
Complete your LinkedIn profile thoroughly and share information you have learned on LinkedIn Pulse and in several LinkedIn groups. You never know who is reading your posts.
[Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, USA, Wendy is a content writer and blogger.]
Make sure everyone you know, especially everyone you’ve worked with, knows that you’re in the market […] The more people who you’re in touch with about new business, the more chances you have to get it.
[Karen is a freelance copywriter in the SanFrancisco Bay area, USA.]
The foundation of your freelance business comes from two things that are non-negotiable: your website and your branding.
[Matthew is a blogger, content marketer and copywriter from Greater St Louis, Missouri, USA.]
Kindly saying no turns out much better than having a project fall flat.
[Janelle is a graphic designer, social media content creator and manager working in Seattle, Washington, USA.]
I’ve used Trello to work with other freelancers and clients. It works well with both. Notifications stay within Trello unless unread – then an email is sent. This means that nothing is missed.
[Yours truly! More about me.]
Shared workspaces offer the benefits of a working environment of without the inflexibility and stress of having to commute to a central office for a 9-5 day.
[Rachel co-runs a digital marketing consultancy offering SEO and content marketing services. She’s based in Rossendale, Lancashire, UK.]
Remember millions of people are competing for the same business online, using the same resources – so you need a well-defined goal to be able to outsell competitors and attract business to yourself.
[Olu runs a blog with advice for entrepreneurs.]
Watch out for scope creep. Clearly define what you will deliver ahead of time and politely tell the client that it will cost them extra if they request services above and beyond the original scope.
[Rob’s blog aims to inspire and educate those interested in making a living through freelancing, entrepreneurship, and remote work. He stays in Orlando, Florida, USA.]
The freelance life
This is an all or nothing game. You’re in or you’re out. Do it or don’t. But don’t pretend to do it.
[Ashley is a freelance writer and editor from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.]
You’ll quickly learn that being a freelancer means wearing a ton of hats, and rapidly switching between them all of the time.
[Shannon is a freelance web designer and developer in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.]
… It’s not so much about what job, but what characteristics of the job you want.
[Vivek is a new media designer and developer from Hong Kong.]
Know how to pitch and who you’re pitching to when you market your business. Who needs your services?
[Jan is an online marketer, copywriter and web designer from Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.]
Before investing time and effort in developing your product or service, familiarise yourself with the industry and market that you plan to serve.
[Matt, from Indiana, USA is the author of a book and blog on freelancing and outsourcing.]
Write down ALL of your skills… It’s important to put your skills on paper so you can see with your own eyes… Then write a separate list of skills you’d like to develop.
You also have to be comfortable with marketing yourself, and with rejection. I send out a lot of article pitches, and often don’t get a response.
[Tom is an editor, copywriter and content strategist from Watsonville, California, USA.]
Establish an agreed-upon payment structure and schedule with the client to make sure both sides know what is expected financially.
[Wendy works in Toronto, Canada as a graphic designer and illustrator.]
Know your bottom line. Add value. Don’t compromise so easily. Negotiate. Dare to say no to a bad deal. It’s part of being a pro.
[Paul is a voice over artist who speaks Dutch and English. He lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA.]
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Carrie Eddins says
So much value in this article. I particularly loved the importance of saying no and of taking breaks! Thanks Claire 🙂
Claire Brotherton says
Thanks Carrie – I agree wholeheartedly with both of those suggestions!
The best and the worst part of freelancing is that you are your own boss. It really can be hard sometimes to manage time but one of the most important parts (I think) is to not be greedy and just looking at the $$.
We need to take time for ourselves and be professional for both us, our family and our clients. Rejecting a project because you think it could be stressful or you will have to burn yourself is not a fail and not a bad choice even though you might reject some great $$. Health & Happiness will lead you to more income in the long run because you will still have fun even after 5-10 years of doing it 😀
Web Box says
I love this. I am planning to start my business soon. Wish me luck.
Claire Brotherton says
Thanks and good luck!