Pricing is often the final factor that determines if a client you are pursuing will hire your freelance services.
When it comes time to pricing your services, how do you put together a package that provides your client with an accurate projected budget?
Too low a price won’t win everyone over necessarily (realistic, savvy clients are looking for value for their money, not simply the cheapest provider). In fact, many clients might perceive a low price as signal about quality and will walk the other way if they think you are over-promising or cutting corners on your services.
Budgets you propose for clients are the product of several factors: your labor rate, the effort that will be expended to provide the services for a project, and a variety of client indicators, such as the client’s experience with businesses like yours, his reaction to your portfolio, how “big” the client is, and if working with them is also a professional networking opportunity that may pay dividends later on. Continue Reading
Even in the best of economic times, freelancers often walk a tight financial edge—some months you may be flush with money, while other months will leave you searching under the couch cushions just to make sure you have food in the house.
Here’s are some frugal tips to help you save money—and your sanity—while you are building your freelance business.
- Have an emergency fund. Unfortunately, it isn’t if but when an emergency will come up. With a financial cushion you will be able to meet most emergencies without incurring exorbitant interest fees or loan costs.
- Don’t quit your day job…yet. Launching yourself full time into your freelance business sounds like a great idea but if you have bills to pay, don’t give up your day job just yet. Don’t quit your regular job until you have a consistent freelance income (or a very big emergency fund) that can easily cover your living expenses.
Be debt free. There is nothing that will sink a new business faster than a massive amount of debt (credit card payments, loan payments, etc) that needs to be paid each month.
Go all “gazelle intense” on paying off your debts before you launch into your freelance career (or, as stated above, keep your day job while starting your freelance career and don’t quit that steady income until you are debt free).
The difference between disarray and efficiency can be compared to having a Mac truck tread on your forehead or having yourself a weekly afternoon massage.
Okay, so maybe this is a bit of a stretch, but you get the picture. Most small business owners have been there at some point or another. And some muddle around in a sort of chaotic-like business environment for the majority of their years as business owners. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. You can have a balanced, successful, and growing business.
You can choose to transform that awesome vision into the reality of a living, breathing, growing, “smooth like butter” business. The following tips should help you get started creating a strategic alignment for your freelance business. In other words, you will learn how to streamline your business into something that is manageable and relatively pain free.
In The Beginning There Was… A Map!
So, what strategies can be implemented to streamline your freelance business and make it run most adequately? Efficiency in your business begins with a framework, a guide — a MAP.
You need to map out where you are and where you want to go, and connect those two essential areas with the smoothest, quickest routes. Here are six tips on creating a map for a smooth, well-run small business.
I’ve been spending a lot of time working out of coworking spaces lately. I’m a big fan of having a place I can just drop into and work from, especially if I’m going to be away from my home office anyhow.
I’ve noticed a trend: many coworking spaces are launched by freelancers. Often, there’s a freelancer who wants to work anywhere but in her own home, so she gets a couple of other people together and rents a space. I’ve seen both incredibly successful versions of this model and some dismal failures.
Coworking Spaces are Businesses, Too
There’s a common complaint among the freelancers who also operate coworking spaces: “I didn’t realize it was going to be so much work!” It’s not an uncommon thought for a freelancer in general — considering many of us start out as some sort of creative professional without as much business training as we’d like. Opening a coworking space is just as much a business as freelancing, even if you operate as a non-profit.
Opening a coworking space is just as much a business as freelancing, even if you operate as a non-profit.
There are considerations far beyond a freelance business, too: rent, physical location and insurance all play major roles. It’s these details that can trip up someone not used to renting out office space. They take time to sort out and time is a precious commodity for many freelancers.
Unless we’re getting paid for our time, it can be tough to dedicate so much effort to building a coworking space, rather than spending those same hours on client work.
But there are payoffs to taking the lead on creating a coworking space. Continue Reading
Freelancers have to step outside their comfort zone for a number of reasons. You might be offered a collaborative project with a larger team than you are used to working with, or asked to take on a far bigger project than you would usually, or you want to create a side project, such as writing a book or launching a new enterprise.
Although you are excited about the new opportunity, it can be stressful, even scary, thinking about the implications if something goes wrong, but that shouldn’t put you off taking the plunge.
So what can you do to get a handle on problems that could derail your project, while keeping the risks in perspective?
How will you not let fear get in the way of enjoying your new challenge? How will you plan ahead before you go charging in, full of enthusiasm, only to get tripped up by something unforeseen?
What you need is a bit of basic risk management. Continue Reading
As a freelancer, you are on your own when it comes to keeping track of your finances. And let’s face it, the financial side of things are generally the last thing we want to mess with at the end of a day. As painful as it might be to some, we all have to take our financial future into our own hands.
This doesn’t have to be as time-consuming or frustrating as you may expect, however. A little planning can go a long way. Let’s take a deep breath and look at sure-fire ways to get the most out of your finances. Continue Reading
There are a lot of last minutes when it comes to freelancers and taxes. If you freelance full-time in the U.S, you’re expected to send in quarterly estimated payments, in addition to doing your yearly routine.
Even though taxes can be fairly routine, it’s worth making sure that you’re doing everything you can to make sure all the details are taken care of. That helps to make sure there’s more money in your pockets, and it also means that you will limit your tangles with any tax agency you deal with. Continue Reading
I got a call from a friend a few days ago and it seems his small business is getting smaller by the minute. Not only is he on the brink of collapse financially, his one major customer looks like they will be folding up shop soon and that will leave my friend broke, bankrupt, and unemployed.
After a minute of doing the “oh you poor thing” thing (I’m not much for having a pity party over a business because a business is either viable or it isn’t) I asked him what he was doing for the sales end of his business. Turns out, not much.
This is a very common problem among freelancers and small business people. We love to do what we love to do–for me it is writing, for others it is photography, designing websites, coding a new video game, designing purses…whatever it is that made you want to go into business in the first place.
BUT, and this is huge, if you don’t spend as much time selling your product as you do making your product, you won’t have a way to make money and that is what we are in business for. This seems like a simple concept but for many people, being a salesperson, especially when they are selling themselves and their own product, is really difficult. After all, if we wanted to be salespeople we would be working elsewhere.
SO, here’s a few tips to help you sell your service or product. Continue Reading
Freelancers are often frustrated by fluctuating income. And when you don’t have the luxury of getting regular paychecks, there is the tendency to make money mistakes. But you can avoid overspending and make better use of your money by practicing good money management.
Reaching your financial goals doesn’t mean you have to be a financial wizard. Nor do you have to hire a money manager.
What could be valuable however, is a personal finance app that helps you keep abreast of your finances. Even if you have achieved freelance success, and don’t have money worries, you can still learn to sharpen your money management skills right in the palm of your hand.
Have a look at 10 apps that you perhaps didn’t know you needed, but you won’t be able to live without once you start using them.
iReconcile’s motto is ‘keep your finance in check.’ The easily customizable Android app helps you manage day-to-day financial transactions using a checkbook register. You don’t need to keep a list of all items you bought or all the money you spent. The app does everything for you; once you enter each transaction, your new balances appear automatically. It also comes with free updates and online backup. Continue Reading
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This week we look at Ep 20: Taxes, Accounting, and Business Structures for Freelancers by Freelance Jam. In this video the Freelance Jam duo look at: How do you run a freelance business that is compliant in the eyes of the IRS? What is your legal business structure: LLC, sole proprietorship, or corporation?
How do you handle paying taxes? Quarterly estimates… etc. Do you have a system for setting aside money for taxes? What types of expenses do you write off as tax deductions? How do you keep track of business expenses? Continue Reading
I had the chance to talk with another freelancer the other day: she’s been offered the opportunity to take on a six-month project where she’d essentially be working full-time for a single client. The money is good, but there’s a catch in the contract—a non-compete clause. Continue Reading
Here’s the deal. Sure, we love freelancing and what we do. But, we do this stuff for money. Dough. Moolah. We are authentic businesses after all.
We provide a valuable service and deserve to be paid for our labors. However, at some point in our freelance careers, usually early on, we learn that there can be a major difference between billing a client and actually getting paid.
Plus, billing can be a stumbling block for some freelancers. Many seem to put it off for any one of several reasons. For some, it’s because they’re busy and too focused on the project at hand. As a result, their billing gets put on the back burner. For others, it boils down to their relationship with money. This seems to be especially true for freelancers in the creative arena.
For the latter, even with great tools such as QuickBooks or Freshbooks, that make invoicing a snap, there can still be a lot of anxiety. They worry about the client balking at their fee, whether or not they got the invoice right or worry about whether they are worth the fee. If that sounds like you, I’d suggest picking up a copy of The Money Book for Freelancers, by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan or The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money by Ilise Benun. Both are excellent.
As freelancers it’s important to master the craft of billing and collecting. It’s easier than you might imagine and flourishes with a system in place. Continue Reading