As the economy continues to present challenges to business owners and employees alike, more people are turning to freelancing as a way to pay the bills and more companies are turning to freelance workers to fill the holes left by layoffs. Everyone from small businesses to large corporations hires freelancers for a variety of projects, ranging from copywriting and web development to catalog design and consulting.
Working as a freelance employee means working your own hours on your own terms. But it also means finding your own work and managing all parts of the business yourself. To be successful, you need to be able to juggle day-to-day business operations while still finding time to do the freelance work you're being paid to do—and do it well.
If you're ready to start freelancing, these tips can help you get a head start.
In addition to a DBA, your state may have specific laws for individuals doing business. Research and obtain any state and local permits or licenses you'll need for your business. Or use a service like Business Licenses that does the research and prepares the applications for you for a small fee.
For maximum productivity, set up an in-home office, or find another place where you can focus and get work done. The absence of a boss down the hall may be a highlight; however, that just means you have to be the one to manage deadlines and productivity.
Spread the word to friends and family that you're venturing into freelancing and ask for referrals where appropriate.
Set up a blog. A blog can help you connect with other freelancers and bloggers as well as potential clients.
Being active on message boards and forums can help you stay abreast of news and trends in your field and in freelancing in general. Sites like FreelanceSwitch can help inform and improve your work.
Some popular sites for freelance job listings are Guru.com and Elance. There are lots of others out there depending on your industry; just be sure to do the research to avoid scams and fake freelancer postings.
It's unfortunate, but there are some companies with shady business practices. Do some research on a company before pitching your work or taking assignments.
Working for yourself can be incredibly rewarding, but doing business as a freelancer has its own challenges. The tips above can help you get the details out of the way so you can focus on doing great work and enjoying your newfound freedom.