Quitting Your Day Job? 5 Things You Need as a Freelancer or Consultant
Beginning a new job can be difficult but starting an entirely new profession as a consultant or a freelancer can feel especially challenging. Getting started on the right path is the hardest part
but surviving after you’ve gotten your business off the ground depends on more than just your expertise and work ethic. Taking care of your personal life, building your business, and investing in yourself will be the best ways that you can set yourself up for success.
5 Things to Help your New Consulting Business Succeed
1. Manage Your Physical and Mental Health
When you begin working for yourself it can be easy to get lost in the constant demand of building your business. Since you must rely on yourself for your new venture to be successful and the paychecks are variable, it’s important that you take care of your body and learn to set healthy boundaries for when you will and will not be working. Eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and moving your body regularly will help you maintain a clear mind and reduce some of the stress that goes along with entrepreneurial endeavors.
Freelancing and consulting can make these things difficult to achieve, but in order to see positive results professionally, you must keep yourself on track personally. Your days may vary, and flexible worktime is one of the obvious perks of going out on your own but implementing a routine can help you maintain balance. The stress that comes from a new profession can cause unexpected speed bumps, so it’s important to find ways to cope with daily stressors, such as walking, meditating, or making time to practice a beloved hobby.
2. Build Time Management Skills
Time management skills are undoubtedly a crucial tool for success. And without a boss checking in, some people struggle to set and meet self-imposed deadlines. Professionals who cannot make or meet deadlines will not be trusted with projects in the future, effectively stalling the growth of your new business. When it comes to big projects, one trick is to prioritize getting started on the hardest tasks first in case they take more time than anticipated.
As you gain more experience you will learn which tasks are the most time-consuming and you will be able to accurately predict, for yourself and your client, how long a project will take. Consider building a routine for yourself wherein you decide what type of tasks can be completed during certain times of the day and write down a list to complete those tasks in that order. There are a plethora of time management tools available to help get your to do list under control and plan for long term projects.
3. Establish Good Business Habits
Consultants and freelancers who do not create good business habits will struggle to survive their first few years on their own. Charge clients what you are worth, track your spending, exceed your client’s expectations, learn how to confidently market yourself, and cover yourself legally, like with adding copyright to your original documents and investing in liability insurance.
Finding a balance between selling yourself through authenticity and coming off as very “salesy” to people can be very challenging to new entrepreneurs. You want people to know you’d love their business, but don’t want to be pushy. Remember that every interaction you have with a client and every comment you make on your social media platforms and website will help others form an opinion of you and your work. Marketing is about building a rapport with future clientele so that they will think of you the next time they are in need of a service in your industry.
4. Separate the Business and Personal
Working for yourself can blur the line between your personal and professional life and building a business can become all-consuming. Dedicating separate time to your job and your personal life can be a challenge but will benefit you in the long run. But even more so, separating your personal and professional finances will help things run much smoother. Set up a separate bank account that can have all of your business transactions run through it, and keep those expenses separate.
If you have a particularly useful skill, it’s not uncommon for friends, family and former colleagues to come calling and “just want a little help” on a project and expect free work or free consultation from you. Some may genuinely want to give you their business in order to help you, but still expect a discounted rate. These situations can become awkward, so it’s important to set clear boundaries on what you’re willing to do for friends and family. Will you offer discounts? What tasks will you do for free and for whom? It’s imperative to define the scope of work at the outset or it could set both of you up for disappoint and potentially ruin a relationship.
5. Invest in Freelance Insurance or Consultant Insurance
Becoming self-employed has its freedoms as well as risks. Investing in professional liability insurance can protect your new business, regardless of your profession. When you work as an employee for someone else, you are likely protected under your employer’s business insurance, but once you strike out on your own, you become your own boss, and legally responsible for yourself, your business practices and your mistakes. Without insurance, your business could go under before it even really gets off the ground.
Protecting yourself and your consulting or freelancing business is imperative so that you are not on the hook in the case of property damage, injury, or other losses to a client or third party. Regardless of your industry, when you are in business for yourself, you need to be protected outside of your own personal insurance policies.
At NOW Insurance we provide policies that are simple, fast and affordable. Our consultant insurance packages are tailored to your business, so you are fully covered but not paying for any extras you don’t need. Get a quote today in under 3 minutes from our online application.
Many people who strike out on their own miss the consistency and stability of a regular paycheck, but find that setting their own hours and choosing their own projects can be a breath of fresh air. Learn more about professional and general liability.
Contact Us with any questions about coverage.