No matter how the economy is, there is always a reason to consider a freelance career. Starting a freelance technology business is something to consider if you have great IT skills.
Most business start-ups need a start-up finance or investors before getting started, but there are a few things that a tech guy with skills can put in place and start immediately without any financial constraints. The most important investment needed is knowledge.
In this post, I’m going to share with you my experience on how I started my freelance tech business without any financial constraints and still keep my full-time teaching job. Some points in this post might also be helpful to anyone who wants to start any form of freelance business.
Who is a Freelancer?
According to Wikipedia, A freelancer or freelance worker is a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term.
A Freelancer is someone who offers services for a fee without being committed to a single client for a long-term. They are sometimes called “Independent contractors“. It’s a form of self-employment.
Why Become a Freelancer?
Freelancing is one way to make your own path despite the tide job market. People with great tech skills are one of the most sought after in the job market. With the right tech skills, you could have an incredible opportunity by starting a freelance tech business in this digital age. This could eventually grow into a sustainable self-employed career.
Becoming a freelancer is an excellent idea for anyone who likes working for themselves. A freelancer works for multiple employers or clients. You’re able to work in your own environment, setting your own work hours. Isn’t that awesome?
You can become a freelancer even if you have a full-time job, that’s exactly what I’ve done by starting up a freelance tech business while I still keep my full-time teaching job. Well, I believe choosing to start a freelance business is one of the most secure, realistic, and attainable side business you can start if you have a day job. It may be tough at the beginning but just remember that all big things have small beginnings.
- It’s a way to make extra income.
- Affordable to start if you have the right skills and equipment.
- You can start as soon as possible when you find a client.
- Getting clients to pay good money could take time.
- If you’re working alone, you’ll be doing the sales, the marketing and building the brand alone.
- It may take time to build a full-time income.
Why Did I Decide To Become a Freelancer and Still Keep My Job?
I never wanted to go and ask for a loan to start my freelance tech business, which will definitely make me liable. I chose to start freelancing while keeping my day job to get extra cash. I do my side work during my personal time before or after work and on my day off.
It might be difficult to keep up with your performance at your current day job, and still find the time to put in meaningful work on your freelance projects, but if you have a good Time Management Skill you can carry out a lot. If you’re unemployed, you’ve all the time you need.
Work harder when you’re young and capable so that you could retire early and enjoy your handwork.
How to Start a Freelance Tech Business
Now let’s get into the process of starting a freelance tech business and start building up a fruitful career as a tech entrepreneur.
1.Getting The Right Tech Skills
Whether you’re a computer programmer, a graphic designer, a web developer, or a network engineer, you’ll need to brush up your skills to become ready. Like I said earlier, your first investment is to get knowledge, which will be your engine to power up your freelance tech business.
2.Brand Yourself and Your Freelance Tech Business
The next step is to create a strong brand for yourself and the freelance business you’re about to start. Let people know who you are, your skills and ability, your personality and goals. Give your new business idea a name, a slogan and a meaningful logo. With the perfect brand, you may not be looking for jobs, instead; jobs will be looking for you.
I have published an article about Personal Branding, you may also need to read that later to have an insight on how to brand yourself.
People need to know whether you’re trustworthy, reliable and sustainable first before you’re contracted. So your personal brand should speak for you and it should be a replica of yourself. So work very hard to build a strong brand and maintain it, because it will pay off in the future.
3.Create a Business Plan
Every business start-up needs a plan, a mission and a vision. Set your business goals and make sure you work harder to achieve them along the way. It may take some time but it will surely come. You’ll need to have a written business plan that should guide you. Most of us don’t actually have or use a business plan or we just have it in our heads, but it’s definitely necessary to have it written.
If you don’t know how to write a business plan, go online and search for templates and articles on how to create a professional business plan or better still you may join organizations that provide business training skills.
4. Identify Your Target Clients
You’ll need to identify your target clients to know what clients are looking for and how you can help them achieve it.
5. Do You Need an Office Space?
As a tech freelancer, depending on what type of tech job you’re planning on doing, you don’t necessarily need an office space to start, that could come later. You can work right from your room, for example, a web developer or a computer programmer may not need an office to be able to do their work, all they need is a computer with the right tools and Internet connection. And usually, you already have these things in place.
6.Register Your Freelance Tech Business
You may need to register your business to become legit. If you’re in The Gambia you can register your start-up business at the Ministry of Justice. For more details, you can check their website for a complete guide on the registration requirements for sole proprietor business, partnership business or company.
7.Create an Online Presence
As a tech freelancer, the best starting point is to have a website and social media pages to showcase your work or update people about the services you offer. Build a website for your freelance business. If you can’t build your own website, we can help you get started.
We are providing a website package + hosting and domain for small business start-ups with a monthly payment plan so that you can focus more on implementing your business ideas than worry about paying a huge amount of money. For more info you can check our website pricing on our website at https://faalen.com/pricing and check what we can offer you.
If you’re planning to build the website for yourself and host it, I recommend hosting withiFastNet.com for beginners with low-budget. They offer affordable and reliable web hosting services with excellent support. I’m using their services for some of the websites I built.
As a Faal ICT Academy subscriber or visitor, you can use my referral link below to get the best offer in premium hosting for as low as $3.99/month.
The website doesn’t have to be complex, it could be a one-page style website showing basic information about the services you offer, contact, skills, portfolio and your team members if any.
Consider having these on your website:
1. Portfolio Section
Clients will want to see what you’ve accomplished, projects you’ve worked on, to give them the confidence to hire you. So it would be wise to create a portfolio section on your website and showcase earlier works. It’s better to show than tell.
Display written testimonials from previous clients. This could be an added confidence for the new client to see the satisfaction of your previous clients.
3. Contact Form
Make sure you have a working contact form that links to your email or give a phone number.
8. Do Social Media Marketing
Use social media wisely, it’s a good place to market your services. You can get a lot of clients from social media by just making some few posts of your business and accomplishments. Create profiles or pages on Facebook, Google +, Linkedin or WhatsApp and start advertising your services.
9.Set Strategic Prices for Your Services
Be very strategic in pricing your services, don’t charge too high, don’t charge too low. Low prices are usually considered by other clients as not good. Do some research on what competitors are charging for the services you’re about to offer. Don’t worry too much about money at the beginning, rather try to build a strong foundation and make valuable work for your clients. Remember, as you gain more experience and exposure, you will be able to raise your prices. Always compete on value; not price.
You’ll always get clients who will expect you to do a job very cheap with the promise of more and better-paying work in the future. This almost never works out, so be willing to decline jobs when the pay is not worth it. I’ll recommend you to create a pricing table for the services you offer, you can use my pricing table as an example.
10. Be Professional
Professionalism is vital in every business. Always try to work professionally, whether dealing with clients, content or communicating. Take responsibility, try by all means to always exceed your client’s expectation.
Communication is another vital aspect in business, whether it’s face-to-face, through phone or email; you should be very effective with it. Quickly respond to client emails, you can simply do this by setting up your email account on your smartphone or tablet. Always return missed calls from clients immediately you see them. You should make your clients feel that you’ll always be available when your help is needed.
12.Have Good Interpersonal Skills with Clients
Having good interpersonal skills towards your clients is another important step to take. It’s your ability to get along with clients while getting the job done. Interpersonal skill includes communication, listening skills, attitude and behaviour.
13. Get The Job Done on Time
Like it’s said “Time is Money“, always try to make sure you do tasks as expected and on time. If you promise to complete a task on a given date and time, try by all means to do it before the stated date. If you know that you can’t complete it on time maybe because of some issues, communicate with your client. Miscommunication and misunderstanding could cost you both.
14. Keep Learning New Skills and Keep Up-to-date
To build a sustainable freelance business, it’s always good to keep learning new skills and keep up-to-date with new technological advancements.
As you’re starting your freelance business, you may face some challenges at the beginning but never think of giving up if things aren’t working as expected. Keep trying and pushing, think out of the box and be strategic.
I hope this post was helpful, don’t forget to subscribe or leave a comment below. See you on the post.
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Ousman Faal [Digital Vigilante] is a Tech Entrepreneur & Digital Skills Trainer who teaches both in the classroom and online. He has experience in various technologies and likes sharing it with others. Ousman has published 144 articles on this blog. He is the CEO of Faalen Technologies and Skills.gm.