This is guest post by Shannon Norman of 1st Contacting Accounting.
There’s an endless list of emotions you may experience when first starting out as a freelancer. Panic, stress, happiness, sadness, frustration, annoyance, and the list goes on. However, with plenty of help out there – you shouldn’t worry.
Take a look at the below tips to make sure you get started off on the right foot.
1. Have an emergency stash
This is a must-have. No matter how optimistic you are, anything can happen. Prevention is better than cure, and the money you put aside for emergencies, can really help you out if the worst happen.
That being said, try not to use this money for anything but an emergency. Make sure that when you do use this money, and it’s not that much of an emergency, that there’s logic and understanding behind your actions.
2. Make sure you have a contract
Contracts are there to protect you and your clients, because it’s a solid agreement to fall back on. Freelancing without a contract is just another way of inviting bad situations, so it’s important that the contract is signed by you and your client first.
Make sure that your clients acknowledge that they’ve received the signed contract. There’s nothing worse than sending off a signed contract and finding out after the job that the client never received it. Remember, it’s there to protect both of you, so use it wisely.
3. Don’t buy new gear or equipment (unless it’s completely necessary)
It’s absolutely natural to want to buy the latest laptop or cellphone when starting out as a new freelancer. However, you need to keep in mind that cutting down as much costs as you can is key.
When you’ve established yourself in your field of work and generated enough money for “extra” things, you’ll be able to splurge a bit and buy a few new things. Remember, it’s not what you have that counts, it’s how you use what you have.
4. Indulge in great customer service
This goes without saying, but it’s important to constantly bear in mind. Customer service should be as essential to you that it is to big companies.
By making sure you practice good customer service, you’re able to build long-term relationships and make your clients feel special, which means that they will want to use you again and again. By having great customer service you’re essentially always available – another bonus your clients will love.
5. Determine an appropriate rate for your services
This can be tricky. Naturally, you may feel that you have to set a lower rate just because you’re new, but this doesn’t have to necessarily be the case. Whether you charge hourly or by the project, it’s still a big decision to make.
Therefore, consider things like your costs, your skills and experience, the sort of profit you would like, the market etc. You could also use freelancing calculators and apps, look at freelance industry reports to get an idea of the average hourly rate others charge, or look at current job ads. Every freelancer’s situation will differ, and at the end of the day, your work rate may just be a trial-and-error process.
1st Contact Accounting are experts at taking care of contractors’ specific accounting needs and gives forward-thinking individuals the tools to steer their business affairs forward.