Running your freelance professional service business requires a great deal of time and energy to make it successful.
When you make the decision to strike out on your own you will need to follow some basic steps and guidelines to be successful.
Running your own business starts and ends with self-discipline.
It is easy to give in to all the temptations that freedom brings when you are your own boss.
When there is no-one else watching you work it is tempting to stay in bed longer on a cold morning.
Will it really be so bad if you take the afternoon off?
Maybe, but if you do not fully commit yourself to your new enterprise, it will fail before it begins.
Lack of self-discipline is one reason that over 80% of home-based businesses fail within the first few months.
Self-discipline also applies to the basic day to day operation of your startup business.
When you are a solopreneur, there is no-one else to take care of the record keeping, book keeping, marketing and other duties.
Unless you are doing them your business will eventually fail.
Another thing that can either make or break your home business is your attitude.
Treat your own business like a business.
This is critical whether you are working part-time or full-time.
Always have a full-time attitude even when you are working part-time.
Do not treat your business like a hobby.
Hobby attitude will produce hobby income.
Have a business attitude and you will earn business income.
Some people who decide to become a freelance worker end up working in their “spare time”.
Their business fails within few months if not days.
Create an Organised Workspace
When operating your own business, especially from home, make sure to create a space that you call your own.
This space should be free from distractions for your scheduled time.
Make sure to have a comfortable chair, an organised desk, and stationary supplies (pens, highlighters, stapler, hole punch, sticky tape, note book(s), a simple filing system, manilla folders, etc…..).
You will also need a dedicated computer – not the family PC which is also used by your kids to play games.
Your time is valuable and so a high-quality broadband connection is vital to get more done in a given time frame.
Be a Good Timekeeper
Good scheduling is the backbone of a freelance service business.
Turning up late for a meeting with clients is unprofessional.
Develop a schedule that works for you, your family and clients.
Then be strict with your time in accordance to your schedule.
Only work for your freelance business during the time you have set aside for it.
Don’t do business during time you have allocated to other activities (family time, reading, exercise, leisure time, etc.)
Your schedule is your “boss.”
Are you committed to your freelance business success?
What will be your choice when these situations happen during your business day?
- Friends calling you on the phone.
- People dropping around unexpectedly.
- Out-of-town visitors wanting to catch up with you?
You are the person who decides what is important to you.
Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
Confidently and concisely describing your business in a few sentences is extremely powerful.
It’s called an ‘elevator pitch’ because communicating what you do should take less than the time needed to travel between two floors in an elevator.
Work on creating a short description which is easily remembered by others.
When they remember it they can also tell their family, friends and colleagues about it.
Remember word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool.
Master Your Craft
Know your product or service “like the back of your hand” before you decide to market or sell it.
Clients want to buy a quality product or service.
So, give quality information about your product or service.
The product or service that you are marketing or selling may not be something you use yourself.
But it does need to be something you believe in and know intimately.
For example, women may choose to sell men’s products (and vice versa) and still know the benefits and features which satisfy customers.
Keep Effective Records
Get in the habit of good record keeping right from the start of your business.
As you go about your day, make notes which are factual, consistent and accurate.
Complete and file your documents as soon as possible after any recordable event.
As a business owner you must keep business records and documents for tax purposes.
Keeping an accurate record of all transactions and tax invoices, helps you monitor the financial performance of your business.
Good financial records also help you comply with your tax obligations.
Backup Your Business
Don’t forget to keep a regular and secure backup of your computer.
You can do this using a removable disk drive, but to be completely secure use on of the many online services which will create and hold a backup of your computer in the cloud.
Your Broadband Internet service provider may have a backup service included in your package, but also check out iDrive, Backblaze, Carbonite and SpiderOak ONE.
You will be glad in the long run and you will sleep better too.
Seek Professional Accounting Advice
You may need an accountant or tax advisor to consult about the best way to set up your financial records.
Your advisor can also point out what records are important to keep.
They will also know which reports need to be sent to the tax authorities – and when.
Always create a separate bank account for your home business.
A good accountant will give advice on the best arrangement for your business bank accounts.
Along with working hard it is important to work smart.
Follow the advice above and you increase your chances of success.
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”