How To Write A Freelance Business Plan
Define Your Business Goals
Defining your business goals will guide the development of your freelance business plan as well as give direction to your daily practice as an entrepreneur.
Have clear answers to the following questions:
- Identify your business strengths
- What areas require expansion or upskilling?
- Why is your niche valuable?
- What is your specific value proposition?
- What do you admire about your competition?
Think of this as the About page on a website; next to the Home page they are the most visited.
Identify Your Clients
Clients are not jobs. They are people who will be interacting with you and paying you money, so treat them respectfully (yes, even if…) However, attracting clients is one of the most difficult aspects of building your freelancing career. We know this is hard.
Use freelance job sites as a way to get started. Their infrastructure is already in place, they are designed to find you a job and it’s a great way to bring in the necessary coins while learning some valuable lessons. Once you get a few clients of your own, make sure you have a proper client onboarding process.
Make sure your website is professional, engaging, and dynamic. This is your digital business card. You will need to market yourself and promote your services to potential clients, so it’s important that you have a well-designed website showcasing your portfolio and contact information.
Social media is the perfect way to get in the mix and casually engage with prospects. At a minimum, you should have a LinkedIn Profile. Potential clients want to be able to search (stalk 😉) you. You cannot be a ghost in the digital age.
Post updates about what projects you’re working on and include links to samples of work if appropriate (don’t overdo it though.) This will help build trust with potential clients looking for freelancers online by providing some insight into who they might be hiring (and why) if they decided to hire someone like you in the future.
Also, network with other freelancers in order to find both work opportunities as well as mentorship opportunities within the industry itself. You never know when someone else might need help with something you excel at.
Your freelance business plan should be a reflection of your worth. It’s not just a list of skills, it’s a list of strengths. There are many ways you can approach this task, but our recommendation is to keep it simple.
Rate yourself on each skill from 1-5 (1 being very weak, 5 being very strong.) If there are any skills that have an average below 3-4, think about how you can improve them over time or whether they’re worth keeping in your toolbox.
Build A Quality Portfolio
You’ve got to show people what you can do. If you don’t have any work samples yet, it will be hard to convince clients to hire you. That said, building a quality portfolio is not as easy as it sounds; there are a lot of factors at play here and if done wrong, your efforts could backfire.
- Create good work samples
- Curate a classic cross-section of your skillset
- Set up social media platforms so clients can find them easily (COMPLETE those profiles!)
- Be present on sites where your prospects hang out
Perfect Your Freelance Pitch
Now that you have a solid business strategy in place, it’s time to make sure that your pitch is just as strong. You’ll need to present yourself as a credible and trustworthy professional.
To pitch a client successfully, you must first grab their attention, communicate your unique value, and convince them that you can satisfy their requirements. Good pitching requires confidence without being cocky, and it requires communicating a lot of information in a clear, concise, and quick manner. If you drone on – you’re done!
Routines and Boundaries of a Successful Freelancer
You better believe we have them and stick to them! The whole idea of freelancing is to free ourselves from the rat race.
You need to define the hours you will be available to work. This is important because it will help you schedule your time and clients. If you want to work from 9am – 5pm Monday through Friday, that would be a good starting point. Once your business has grown and established itself, you can flex or relax your hours as needed.
Networking is a great way to get your name out there, meet new people, and learn from others. There are networking opportunities everywhere (it’s actually just conversation!)
- Attend events in your area
- Sign up for a webinar
- Reach out directly via email or social media platforms
- Buy your coffee in a target-rich environment
- Join freelance communities and resources
- Identify a mentor
The Only Way Through Is Through
One of the great things about writing a freelance business plan is that it gives you a structure to help you think through all the details of your business. You’ll be able to make the most of your skills and interests, lay out a realistic timeline for achieving your goals, and write down important information about your customers.
Having a written plan will also allow you to see any gaps in your business or in its marketing efforts. The ability to identify these gaps will give you an idea as to where improvements can be made as well as provide insight into new ways of reaching more customers.
Finally, this is not a static document. It evolves with your business.