The era of freelancing is here!

The sharing economy. Gigs. Freelancing. Each of these are terms for a new way to earn income in today’s fast-paced and technologically enabled world.  Once a seemingly too-good-to-be-true concept, working from home is now a reality for millions of people. And more and more entrepreneurial-minded individuals are turning to self-directed, at-home jobs.

The opportunities are real, all you have to do is look. If you’ve ever had the slightest dream of owning your own business, now entrepreneurship is in much closer reach.

Starting a home-based business is one way to take advantage of the available opportunities. Essentially, any freelance, remote job is a home-based business. You become your own boss, responsible for all aspects of your business. These can include:

– Marketing. This is crucially important as clients and workload pipelines are the lifeblood of your business. When you are an employee, you are often given clients or client leads. As a self-employed business owner, client development falls solely on your lap. Many new business owners find marketing themselves a daunting proposition. But if you want to be successful, you have to get over your fears and step out of your comfort zone.

Administration. There is a lot involved in running a business besides the day-to-day activities that promote or provide your product or service. Everything from file management, compliance paperwork, and accounting and payroll functions are your responsibility. You are also responsible for keeping yourself productive; when you’re in an office with other people, there are lots of eyes around and you feel obligated to stick to the grind. When you’re alone at home, however, distractions abound and it’s very easy to get sidetracked doing laundry or catching up morning news. Which leads us to..

– Process management. Although there may be industry standard workflows, how you schedule your business is up to you. For free thinkers, this liberty to create your own work process can result in productivity, while others may need the structure that comes from being managed.

Planning your small business

One of the benefits of the freelancing economy is the ability to start small without a large financial commitment. In the past, people were dissuaded from following their entrepreneurial dreams because doing so meant leaving the stability of full-time employment. For those looking to test the waters, gig opportunities allow people to begin planning their small business a little bit at a time. By taking small steps, you have a chance to test the waters and make adjustments to your business model before going all in.

During this initial planning stage, you can identify potential clients and networking opportunities. Whether it is through word of mouth, online advertising, buying leads through a service, or a combination of these tactics, you need to find a way to maintain your ideal flow of new business. This client funnel will fuel your business for the future. It’s important to note here that customer service is one of your main priorities when you work for yourself. After all, you are both the face and function of your business and even losing one client can negatively impact your bottom line.

If you’re having trouble planning out your business, don’t be ashamed to ask for a little help. In fact, you can find business plan writing services through online job boards that can help you put your ideas and inspirations into action. All you need to do is reach out!

Setting up a home office

A home office is an essential component of freelancing success. Once you have planned your client funnel, you need to establish a daily routine at home. Having a separate space for your office is one way to create a sustainable routine. Although freelancing may bring to mind the image of working from anywhere – your living room, the beach, the park – in reality, a successful gig-based business requires much more stability.

When setting up your home office, certain business tools are indispensable. These include:

– Technology. Most freelance work can be done with an inexpensive laptop, especially if it is cloud-enabled, with tools such as Google Drive. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you work in graphic design or IT, you’ll need a computer that can handle a heavier load.

– A whiteboard. This can be used to list tasks, or plot out your week or month. If you don’t have room for a whiteboard, a notebook next to your keyboard will suffice.

– A timer. Use a timer app to keep track of your tasks, and to make sure you do not get lost in your work. It’s important to take frequent breaks.

– A door. As simple as it sounds, being able to close off your home life can help you stick to a productive schedule.

Types of freelance work

There are numerous types of gig work. They include anything from freelance writing to dog walking. Dog walking or pet sitting has many advantages such as setting your own schedule and price-point for your services. You can also tailor your client base by specializing in certain breeds, sizes or ages of pets.

You also may want to consider setting up a website to help advertise what you do to potential clients. Although you can certainly use an online website template to put up something basic, this can often give people the wrong impression of your services. If you want a site that truly stands out, contact us at Designworks NW LLC to get a top-notch, professional website.

The sharing economy connects individuals with opportunity. With some planning and a few useful tools, anyone with the right mindset and work ethic can succeed.