How to Begin Freelance or Consulting Work

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My last article talked a little about the differences between freelance and consulting work. You can read about the differences here.

But how might you BEGIN a career in freelance or consulting? Let’s cover some basic steps.

The most important step is to begin getting freelance or consulting work while you are already working. Maybe you already own another creative business and it is your main source of income but you’d like to tap into your other talents for more income sources? Maybe you have a feeling that your current company is in trouble, you’ve been disappointed with some of the companies actions or you’d like to leave your “regular” job? The key is to start promoting yourself while you are already working.

After all, that is the best advice for anyone who wishes to start their own business, isn’t it?

The key to being successful as a freelancer or consultant is to market yourself and gain new work while you are already working. Don’t wait until one job ends to look for more work.

That is a recipe for a few sleepless nights.

Make a list. List all of the top people in your chosen industry. Who are the key people? The decision makers, trend setters, celebrities? This can be the hardest part as you will need a very long list. Don’t just consult your own address book. Look to LinkedIn, industry or trade magazines, general business newsletters, your well-connected friends and any other resources that come to mind.

Set your rates. Do research in your field on the going rates or join a networking group for professionals in your market. You may start out with a lower fee and then move up once you get more clients and experience under your belt.

Create a brochure. Create a brochure, both paper and electronic, that explains who you are and the services you offer. List all of your biggest achievements both as a business person and in your last job. Think of this as your elevator pitch in printed form. Ideally you’ll want to send this out to all of the people on the list you made above.

Share information. Giving presentations or teaching classes, while giving away a small bit of information for free, can set you up as an expert to a group of new people. If you give away some useful information your audience may be inclined to seek you out for more. Be sure to take your brochures and business cards to any and all engagements.

Start a blog. Start a blog that specializes in the field you wish to freelance or consult in. While you may be giving some basic information away you are also setting yourself up as an expert in your field. Having a blog is also a great, cheap way to promote your services. Be sure to have a section of your blog that promotes and explains your services.

Be generous. Be generous with your time by answering emails, questions and voice mails. Be generous with information. Don’t offer your coaching or consulting services for free but be generous with basic information.

What other things would you add to this list?

By: Vicki O’Dell , The Creative Goddess

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