Developing your freelance business
So by now, you’ve probably got a few customers and have started to get a name for yourself. You’re at a crossroads – you can either continue to stay on a consistent level of business and income or decide to develop your freelance business.
If you work part time, the former option might be better suited. If you’re working full time, you’ll probably be looking to develop your business further, increase your income and increase your client base.
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First thing to consider is finding more freelance work. If you’ve not already got a website, it’s certainly worth setting one up. Potential clients can search for your contact details and, as well as this, if your site is search engine optimised, people that search for certain terms will come across your website. For more information on Search Engine optimisation, have a look at our market yourself online pages.
Other ways to find freelance work require a bit of imagination and initiative. To make yourself stand out from the competition you’re going to have to offer something unique. For instance, if you’re a physiotherapist, run taster sessions at local businesses. Get in touch with someone you know locally who works in an office, get them to send an email round saying you’re running a free physiotherapy clinic. Do small taster sessions and offer free advice – most who need physio will become clients straight away. Those that don’t will be sure to remember you for when they do need a physiotherapist. Think outside the box and don’t be scared to approach potential customers – confidence is the key!
By this point you’ve probably contacted all of your family, friends and previous business associates (if not, this is the first thing you should do to develop your business). To further network, start going to breakfast meetings – there you can introduce your business and connect with other local businesses. You could also use Linkedin (a social networking tool for business professionals) and forums to contact more potential customers.
Marketing aside, there’s other organisational issues you need to consider if you want to grow your business. If you’re starting to earn over £60,000 a year you should start to consider whether you want to change from a sole trader to Limited Company. We’ve put together a list of pros and cons here but it’s certainly worth speaking to your accountant to find out which business structure is most tax efficient for you.
If your business is really growing fast, it might be worth employing staff. This can take administrative pressure off of you meaning you can take on more customers and provide a higher level of service. You may only need one member of staff at first, but even so, you’ll need to set up a payroll system. You can do this whether you’re a sole trader or Limited Company however you will need to consult an accountant.
Finally, if you haven’t yet appointed an accountant, it’s worth doing so now. Running your accounts alone can be time consuming and complicated – accountants can take care of all your finances leaving you free to grow and develop your business.