How to start a freelance business

Lots of people have asked me how they can start a freelance business. I am amused by the question, especially when I hear it from people interested in things completely unrelated to the internet. For what it's worth (almost nothing) I'll share what I think is most important to starting a [fill in the blank] freelance business.

As I see it, there are a few key ingredients to achieving success in any endeavor, especially business. And without further ado, here is the orangeSPLoTCH secret recipe for success. Guaranteed to bring you loads of cash and restore hair loss!

  1. Love what you do.
  2. Have a goal/plan.
  3. Start small.
  4. Be determined.
  5. Get lucky.

Love what you do.

Loving what you do is the most important ingredient in my opinion. I've seen plenty of people pick something up because they think it's easy money. Nothing is easy if you hate what you are doing. However, if you get all fuzzy inside everytime you get started, then there is a good chance you are going to keep going through the good times and the bad.

So before you go jumping into the next million dollar deal, make sure you really enjoy it. If you just started doing it, you might want to wait a while before jumping in completely. The initial buzz may wear off after a few months and then what are you going to do?

One of the reasons I think this is so important, is because it motivates you to keep learning and growing at whatever IT may be. Continuing to be competent and competitive is essential in the freelance land. Especially in web developing, things change very quickly and staying stagnant is a quick path to failure.

Have a goal/plan

What I consider to be a success could be considered a dismal failure by someone else. Make sure you know what you want so you can enjoy it when you get there. Otherwise you'll find yourself playing a constant game of keepup with your competitors. And that only results in burnout.

Start small

It is very easy to overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all at once. Starting small is a good way to test the waters. It allows you to gain valuable experience while still being in a controlled environment. You can prevent a lot of fires in the future by testing and tweaking things on a small scale up front.

Be determined

Freelance isn't easy, as anyone will tell you. Working on your own can be very rewarding, but it is also a lot of pressure. Things tend to go up and down quite frequently. It takes a lot of guts and a little insanity to stick with it.

Get lucky

Great businesses fail everyday, while mediocre ones sometimes make it big time. There is always an element of luck required especially in the freelance biz. There are ways to increase your chances, but in the end it is still a gamble. Do you know someone who knows someone? Maybe you should pick up a lucky charm at Circle K. In the beginning you can use all the help you can get.

If you are interested in getting some actual business advice, I would recommend reading some material from a real expert on the subject, like Seth Godin. If you're too cheap to buy a book, at least start reading a blog or two.

This entry was posted in Freelance, Recommendations and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.