Do you want to make the leap into freelancing but are not sure what you need to consider beforehand to ensure a smooth transition?
Here are 4 practical things you can do while still employed before launching your freelance career.
Get a buffer fund
When you go freelance, you are responsible for all your expenses. And this is not just things such as computer hardware and software and general running costs, but travel to and from meetings, the cost of materials you need to perform your role and many other ad hoc expenses.
While most of these might be written off against tax (depending on the tax regulations in your jurisdiction), they will impact your initial cash flow.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have as much in savings as possible to cover the day-to-day costs of running a freelance business and fund your cost of living (i.e. rents, subscriptions, food, utility bills, etc.) – in short, the more of a buffer fund you have, the better.
So, while you still have a salaried position, now is the time to start building up a buffer fund (and if you can, pay off as many of your personal debts as possible, too), so when you launch your freelance business, lack of money is not the first thing you are firefighting.
Take note of internal processes
Depending on the type and size of business you currently work for (and your position in it), there will be differing internal processes in place to help the business function.
Now is the time to take note of these processes so you can use them to good effect in your freelance business (or at least know how they work when you are on the other side of the equation). For example, what is the business procurement process, what do they look for when they hire freelancers or is their policy to only use agencies – or maybe they don’t have any external help – then your job is to find out why.
It’s an excellent time to act like a super sleuth and figure out what policies, processes, and procedures might help you in your freelance business. For example, do they have a client onboarding process? Maybe you can scale these down (or up), or you could even spot a gap that needs filling (with your freelance help, of course).
You already work within a business that provides a framework for your own freelance success, so take advantage of low-hanging fruit.
Learn how to provide estimates and create invoices
Providing estimates, quotes, and invoicing clients is most likely a foreign task to you unless you happen to work in accounts or finance.
Now the time is ripe to visit your accounts department to see how they invoice and what software they use. And also, if possible, swing by procurement to see some of the estimates and bids for business they receive.
Well-written proposals and estimates are key to successful client acquisition, and providing a professional, accurate and branded invoice will build trust, help you win more clients and keep them coming back for more.
These are crucial tasks for any freelancer but are not something people new to freelancing first think of as they are busy marketing their specific freelance skills to potential clients and not necessarily thinking about the business skills (and invoice software) they need to actually run the business.
Invoice Ninja is a leading free invoicing software for small business invoicing, online payments, tracking expenses and billable tasks. It also includes attractive, professional invoice template designs you can customize with your logo and brand colors. What’s more, when you email quotations to your clients, they can “Click to Approve” the quote, which converts it into a payable invoice!
Invoice Ninja helps make the complex simple so you can focus on doing what you love.
Get the training and skills you need
While you are still in salaried employment, it’s a good idea to identify any training you need or skills that would be handy to have. For example, do you need to attend a business seminar or brush up on any hard or soft skills? This might be by investing in courses or attending networking events in your soon-to-be industry.
It’s likely that when you launch your freelance career, you won’t have the time, energy, and bandwidth (or possibly the budget) to undertake courses or learn new billable skills. Freelancing is a high learning curve in itself.
There may be courses (or even access to professional qualifications) your current employer offers that will potentially help you in your freelance career, too. This is especially true if you remain in the same industry or niche.
So, although there is a saying about jumping off a cliff and building your wings on the way down – when you voluntarily leave your 9 to 5 to pursue a freelance career, it pays to be as prepared as possible.
Enjoy this post? If you know anyone else who might benefit please share it with them.