Updated: Jan 5
Tips and tricks to aspiring freelancers, from a fellow freelancer.
I must admit, having a freelance business, keeping strong relationships with my family, friends, and husband, keeping my dog happy and healthy, and working a 9-5 job can be well, exhausting. After ending my time as a news journalist and working in media full time, I felt that my passion and need to tell people's stories wasn't being met. After consideration and prayer, I decided to dip my toe into doing some freelance work on the side. At first, I'd get a little project here and there, and I realized, it invigorated me. I needed to chase this passion. Over time, however, my clientele began to grow, and I knew I needed to establish this little gig, and make it a business. With the help of my agent/husband, I created a brand, a voice, and a mission. To tell people's stories. A bonus? I'd make some side money to use to better my equipment and in turn, make my content better. Looking back now, I've watched countless YouTube videos, tried and failed at building a social media platform, and given up time with friends to work on a project, but I am proud of what AQ Media has become because of it. In the remainder of this article, I'd love to share some tips I have found while working with clients and building my small business.
Tip #1 - Establish your passion
Taking on a freelance business is a lot of work. What makes your sacrifice worth it? What do you want to create/do in order to help make this world a better place? Every time you make a sacrifice, you'll go back to your passion and use it as fuel to move forward. Once you establish your passion, you'll use this wording to form your voice, mission, and vision.
AQ Media's passion: Telling stories
Tip #2 - Create a branding kit that you and your potential clients love
It took me forever to decide the colors, and look for my new brand, and I'm glad I didn't rush this transition. I took polls on my social media channels, and asked for opinions from friends I trusted, all because I need my audience to be able to understand and relate to my kit.
Click the image below to access a free branding kit template:
Tip #3 - Develop templates for invoices and project agreements
When you begin to build your clientele, it's important to communicate your understanding of the project they requested. That way, there is no room for miscommunication. In addition to detailing all that was discussed in your planning meeting, there should be a second page of the agreement regarding ownership rights to your content.
Tip about invoices: it is important to disclose a "pay by" date for your client if you choose to be strict about that. Invoice/Project Agreement Bonus: they add a professional touch and show your clients that you care about the project as much as they do.
Tip #4 - Don't underestimate the power of social media
On top of keeping your friends and family up to date, it can be daunting to imagine juggling a professional social media platform. However, in today's society, social media is the biggest opportunity to grow your business. According to an article by CNBC, there are now over 2 billion monthly users of Instagram. That's over 2 billion potential clients, and you have the chance for them to see your content, for free! If I still haven't convinced you, just remember, you can use scheduling tools that are built right into Facebook/Instagram to schedule out content and create reusable templates that fit your niche in Canva. Don't underestimate the power of social media friends.
Follow me on social media!
Tip #5 - Don't be afraid to set boundaries with your clients
The last tip I have for you is what I believe is most important if you are going to succeed in your 5-9 after your 9-5 gig. If you aren't able to detect red flags in a project, stand up for the importance of your non-working hours, and the rights to your own material, you will never feel joy in what you do. From the first initial conversation with a client, it is important to lay out your boundaries and tell them what to expect as a client. If problems arise throughout the project, don't be afraid to draw the line. It may be difficult (trust me, I hate conflict,) but it's necessary for you and your heart and mind.
At the end of the day...
If you have a passion for something and want to use it to build a business, go for it. You can do it. It may feel like slow progress at first, but the wait is worth it. You will reap the benefits if you take the time to create a business and brand that you can be proud of, and that others want to support. If you would like to learn more about creating templates, or want to tell a story of your own but don't know where to start, I'd love to partner with you. Click here to tell me a little more about your story. Already know the service you'd like to book? Click here.