There are several people in my life recently who have taken the plunge into being a full-time freelancer. While they love experiencing more freedom, the reality that they are now responsible for everything is starting to set in.
The first year as a full-time freelancer can be rough. Even if you saved money and already had clients coming in when you quit your job. The reality is the first year will likely be full of surprises.
That being said, here is how you will thrive your first year as a full-time freelancer. These are the lessons I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.
Find a mentor.
Mentorship is paramount if you plan on surviving as a full-time freelancer. The reason is simple: they can help you avoid mistakes. Not only that, but they can make connections, teach you how to perfect sales and provide encouragement.
Upon quitting my job, one of the first things I did was rehire my business coach to help me through the transition. While it’s easy to say you don’t have the money, the reality is you can’t afford not to have mentorship.
Get an accountant.
An accountant is also a key player if you want to be a successful full time freelance. While you may not need them right away, by the end of your first year you’ll likely need their help.
The last thing you want as a full time freelancer is to get a surprise tax bill. At the very least, hiring an accountant can give you peace of mind as it pertains to Uncle Sam.
Never stop pitching.
I’ve coached several freelancers who thought they didn’t have to actually find clients. Much to their dismay, they were barely making it.
In the beginning of your freelancing career, you will have to be aggressive in looking for clients. This will be the case until you’ve built enough of a name for yourself where they start coming to you.
This actually brings me to my next point…
Start building a personal brand.
If you want clients to eventually come to you, you’re going to need one heck of a brand associated with your name. This is why I always tell beginning freelancers that they need to grow the business and build a brand at the same time.
A personal brand is really the only thing that will allow you to stand out. It’s also what helps clients come to you and paves the way for multiple streams of income.
The truth is anyone can have a skill, but not everyone has made a name for themselves.
Invest in sales training.
Since you’ll likely have to be aggressive in looking for clients, it’s in your best interest to invest in sales training. This could look like investing time and money in webinars, classes and coaches.
The fact of the matter is this: If you want to make money as a full time freelancer, you’re going to have to know how to sell. Sales is what leads to money in the bank. Period.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to survive your first year as a full time freelancer. That way, you won’t be desperate looking for a desk job in twelve months.