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Freelance business: Most important things learnt from setting up a freelance business

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Alison Proofreader

Freelance business: Most important things learnt from setting up a freelance business

I established my freelance proofreading business nearly 5 years ago, and I have learnt a lot along the way. Businesses evolve as you decide what is important to the business and what works well. These are the most important things I learnt during the process.

Be professional

The first thing I started with when setting up my own business was a website and a consistent brand (logo, colour, theme) across all of my online presence. So my business came across as professional and built trust in my clients that I am a real company. If people are to take you seriously, you must come across as professional. Think about when you are buying something online and what you look out for.

Ask for support

When starting a new business, you can't be expected to know everything so make sure to ask for support. As I was starting my business, there was a support program for new businesses in Greater Manchester called Enterprising You. I had one-to-one coaching and access to custom-made training to suit my business. It really helped and I wouldn't be where I am now without it.

So is there a support program or group in your area to help your business grow?

Put in the hard work

At the very beginning, I worked ridiculously hard to get my business established. But it was worth all the extra hours marketing my business and having a presence online. Now I am established, I can reap the benefits of all that hard work.

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." Pelé

So put the hard work into your business and see the benefits.

Track your hours

Business hours on a door

In the beginning, I was working a lot of hours, and I found it beneficial to track my hours. Then I could ensure they balanced out over the month/year. It is easy to just keep going especially being your own boss and working from home. Ensure you take time off. If one week is particularly busy with deadlines, have some time off the week after to balance it out.

Have a business plan

This is the support I received from my one-to-one coaching. I had never owned a business before or written a business plan. But my business definitely benefitted from having goals and targets to work towards no matter how small.

"Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. You need to have goals, create milestones and have a strategy in place to set yourself up for success." Yogi Berra

Contact who you would like to work with

My most successful marketing technique was to actually find online who you would like to work for and contact them directly either by email or on LinkedIn. I sent them my CV and a link to my website to advertise my services. It really worked.

Meet with fellow business owners

Business meeting

Moving to work freelance can be lonely so make sure you make connections with other business owners in a similar field then you have someone to talk to about your business. I joined an accountability group with fellow proofreaders and editors. We set targets every month with our business goals and meet regularly for a catch-up either online or in person.

Hopefully, my tips have been helpful. All the best for your freelance business!

I am a freelance proofreader and a qualified teacher with a maths degree and a love of learning. Thank you for reading 'Freelance business: Most important things learnt from setting up a freelance business'. Want to find out about the day in the life of a freelance proofreader?

Check out my blog "Freelance proofreader: A day in the life of a freelance proofreader" on my website, or say hello on Twitter at @alisonproofread, or Instagram at @alisonproofreader, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.

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