Freelance Start-up Guide
With all the recent economic doom and gloom you may have decided to take matters into your own hands and go freelance. There are several hurdles you must overcome to be a successful freelancer, but here are some tips to get you started:
So you’ve decided to go freelance and you’re now out in the world on your own. This clean slate gives you a chance to create a whole new identity for your business, whether you go for your own name (Joe Bloggs Design) or something a bit more grandiose (Phoenix Design Solutions Ltd.)
Remember to choose a domain name for your website that is relatively short and easy to spell, otherwise people won’t be able to find you. 123-Reg offer .co.uk domains for only £3.49 per year.
Make sure your website helps, and doesn’t hinder.
As a web designer you’ll know the importance of good design. Keep it clean, simple and easy to read, and showcase what you’re capable of. An ‘About Me’ type section can help give people a taste of what you’re like as a person.
Outline what you do (your services) in plain English. You can write all the technical jargon in the world, but if people don’t know what it means it may as well be written in an alien language. Examples of previous work can help you get your point across.
Contact details are vital because if they’re not there, how are people going to contact you?
Referrals will always be an important source of work for the budding freelancer. Tell your friends, relatives, past colleagues and even strangers you might happen to strike up a conversation with on the train or at a wedding.
Get creative. Why should people hire you? If you do the same things as every other person out there, then you’re not giving people a reason to call you. Make some creative business cards with Moo.com and leave them in random locations for example, and you never know who could pick them up.
Even though you’re a one-man band, you still need to cover yourself. First of all, it’s vital to set yourself up as a sole trader within three months of starting. Failure to do so can lead to a fine of up to £100. Next you’ll need professional indemnity insurance. PI Insurance covers legal costs and expenses when a claim is made against you, and any compensation or costs that may subsequently be awarded following professional negligence, unintentional breach of confidentiality and/or copyright, defamation and libel, loss of documents or data or loss of money or goods (for which you are responsible). It’s easy to search for companies which offer this sort of protection for business; visit Markel Direct for more information – they offer cover with limits from £50,000 up to £5 million.