Start Fast, with a Freelancing Mindset

Most of the problems with starting in freelancing are actually in your head.

If you don’t get your mindful state right, then you won’t be able to ‘start fast’ with a freelancing business. On the top, you need tools, methods, processes, and business strategy. But underneath, you can easily sabotage all you do if you don’t look after your mental health and body health.

The faster you can realise that everything is not freelancing and clients—more important is your whole life and positivity—the faster you can really get started. Having a calm mind, stretching your body regularly, controlled breathing, and time balance will help you deal with the stresses of pitching and client support… and deal with record keeping, CRMs, error-prone websites and more!

So, besides our mental state, what should you focus on when ready to start? First, a personal brand.

What is a Personal Brand?

You may be already at one with the brand you want—but personal brand is important.

“A brand is a reputation and a promise that sets expectations about a company and their offerings (factual and emotional)”

— Leoni Bolt, Personal Brand Expert & Photographer

Even though you may have selected a nice business name, you need to show yourself to the world through a ‘personal brand’. This is because in freelancing, the client is dealing with you directly and will only come to you once they trust you. They might even get to know you through networking, a hobby you pursue, old workplace, or alumni group.A simple personal brand comprises:
  • A colour or set of colours that run through your marketing material, clothing, and sometimes even hair colour!
  • A set of values you portray and live by
  • Your superpower front and centre: this is your best skill
  • Your authentic voice and spirit in your writing or other content (blog, videos, lives)

This is why an immodest look at your key strengths and values will help you in forming a cohesive look and voice in your business.

Practical Fast-Start Things

A practical look at your business foundations now… in Australia, you must have an ABN to invoice, but you only need a recorded business name if you have a non-surname business.

Invoicing and record-keeping is important right from the start.

While an Excel spreadsheet is fine for assessing costs and cashflow – after years of mucking about, I found there is a lot of benefit in setting up your books in a shareable system, like Quickbooks Simple Start (higher level needs, with accountant access) or Simple Invoices (lower level needs, with quotes and invoicing).

The cost is low; Simple Invoices is $7.50 a month and Quickbooks Simple Start is $10-$14.95 a month. (All prices are quoted in Australian dollars).

You should see Quickbooks ‘Management Reports’ – all done for the year in 10 seconds! It will make you wonder why you ever bothered doing it manually.

If your tax needs are higher level, like GST/BAS accounting, Government sometimes offer free tax webinars on record keeping, while your local accountant can usually give business structure and set-up advice at a reasonable fee. It could save a lot of money if you don’t need a company or trust at this stage.

Technology and Marketing

Struggle through if you want, but your freelancer peers may be able to help set up your web hosting, SSL, plugins, new brand logos and icons in several sizes, and more. This will really help you start fast… and not delay for months.

If you really hate technology and can’t see yourself getting regular support, consider straightforward website systems, like SquareSpace or Rocketspark. These types are really great for beginners because they offer managed website builders. Still a learning curve for building pages, but they both offer helpful video training or support.

There are freelancers who can help with web site design for these platforms too, as well as the popular WordPress.

A managed website means you don’t look after the core, the plugins, the theme updates. You simply choose a template you like and start modifying it with your own imagery, brand colours and words.

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