A lot of us have the dream of going independent. Not only will it give us the flexibility and freedom to do as we please, but we’ll also have the ability to grow our income at whatever pace we’d like. However, getting yourself into a position to start freelancing can be tough, which is why I’m offering a few helpful tips on how to get started. Check them out below:

Get Your Contracts In Place

Ask anyone you know that’s currently freelancing and they’ll most likely tell you that one of the most important things you can do is protect yourself. After all, this can be a rough business and one where people are going to try and take advantage of you. For example, as noted by Business News Daily, a freelancer on average earns $21 per hour, which for someone companies can add up quick. And in order to protect your rate, you need to have the proper tools in place.

Depending on the type of freelancing you’re looking to do, take a glance at what you’re currently trying to offer people. Aaron Kelly on hg.org has a great automatic contract system you can use, especially if you know the exact pricing you’re seeking. For example, if I’m a designer that has a flat rate for a logo design, or being a writer that charges by the word count. All-in-all, the pricing mechanisms you implement will most likely change via your skills or gig, but it’s imperative to have the tools in place that help execute when needed.

Know Where Your Skill Set Lies

Another aspect to consider when freelancing is where exactly your skill set lies, as well as how you can maximize off of it to increase your earnings. Although this is an activity you’ll most likely develop through time, it’s also an item that can be crucial to be mindful of in the development of your freelancing business. And while this might sound overwhelming, the actual execution can be incredibly simple if you plan it right.

An excellent example of this is something like photography. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average photographer makes around $16.38 per hour, but that rate can fluctuate greatly depending on equipment as well as how long you’ve been taking photos. However, that also gives you a baseline where if you wanted to add photography services to your design or writing, could be advantageous to look at. Try checking out some courses for the skills you want to pick up, as this could be one avenue that’ll earn you extra income in no time.

See Who You Can Reach Out To For Contract Work

As it goes with starting any business, having people you can reach out to begin contracting is a given if you want to be a successful freelancer. While this might be tough at first, it’s also the skill that’s going to keep a steady stream of revenue in your pocket. Because as noted by the State of Digital, with the average freelancer having around nine clients per person, building up to that level is going to take some patience and solid networking.

In looking outside your immediate network, it’s good to consider how you’ll approach cold calling. Whether it be helping market the best hot chocolate K cups or designing logos for your local eateries, make your pitch centric to what the company’s ethos or mission is. Granted, you won’t always get it on the mark every time, but getting in the habit of using some passion with your cold calls can go a long way (especially in showing how much you know about their business). Overall, getting yourself moving on outreach isn’t easy, but something that you’ll get used to as time moves on.

Stay Consistent

Finally, once you’ve gotten the hang of who you’re going to reach out to for freelance contracts, the biggest thing you need in establishing a foundation is staying consistent with your outreach. As noted by The Brevet Group, 80 percent of sales require at least five follow-ups, and while some people think that only rings true for products, the same goes for your independent service. Make it a habit to follow-up as a part of your process (no matter how uncomfortable it feels at first), as this is going to be one key step to being a success.

As freelancing can be scary, but it’s an exciting leap from the 9 to 5. What excites you the most about possibly going independent? Comment with your answers below!

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