Going Full-Time Freelance, Are You Ready? | Lindsay Marsh | Skillshare

Going Full-Time Freelance, Are You Ready?

Lindsay Marsh, Teacher & Freelance Designer 14+ Years ✅

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9 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Class Preview

      0:49
    • 2. Are You Ready?

      1:23
    • 3. What is Full-Time Freelancing?

      3:20
    • 4. Cash Flow Basics For Freelancers

      4:19
    • 5. Personal Branding

      4:19
    • 6. Shoestring Freelance - Finding ways to cut costs

      4:20
    • 7. Finding Clients - Offline and On

      6:57
    • 8. Contracts - How to protect yourself

      2:29
    • 9. Other Freelance Classes

      1:11

About This Class

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Are you ready to go full-time freelance? This class will motivate, educate and get you ready to conquer full-time freelancing. I have been a full-time freelance graphic designer, marketing consultant and web developer for over 12+ years and have extensive experience and knowledge that can make you feel more comfortable making the plunge.

Are you freelancing part-time? Are you still at a full time salaried job and wanting to make the switch? Are you just wanting to see what full-time freelancing is all about?  Do you need that extra kick in the pants to get started? Do you want to explore all the nuances of freelancing like accounting, invoices, personal branding, If you answered yes, to any of those questions, this class is for you. 

Class Topics:

Are you Ready?

What is full-time Freelancing?

Cash Flow Basics

Personal Branding

Shoestring Freelance - How to keep costs low

Finding Clients - Offline and Online

Contact Sample Snippets - A few Phrases to help protect yourself from common mishaps

Transcripts

1. Class Preview: Are you ready to go full time? Freelance. This class will motivate, educate and get you ready to comparable time Free. May have been a full time freelance for 12 years and have extensive experience and knowledge Could make you feel more comfortable making this plunge. Are you freelancing part time? Are you still in a full time salary job and want to make the switch? Are you just wanting to see what full time everything is all about? Do you need that extra kick in the pants to get started? Do you want to explore all the nuances of freelancing like cash and voices, personal branding and where to find clients? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you're gonna really enjoy this class. So let's learn together. 2. Are You Ready?: full time Freelancing is defined by receiving the majority, but not all of your income. Through freelancing. You may still have a side job or a side hustle. The helps close the pay gap, but the goal would be to be able to live off your freelancing income. Another side incomes without the need of a full time, salary based job. That means if you want to totally replace your income that you had with your salary job with benefits, we need to make your current salary, plus more to make up for the loss of benefits, including health insurance, gasps, reimbursement, holiday bonuses and vacation days. When you go full time free and you take a day off, remember that you don't get paid for your days off. There is no one that will do the work for you in your place for free. Also, you're responsible for your own health insurance. If you live in the US, that is, if you live elsewhere, you might be in love with basic government benefits. Being must also take care of all medical insurance in the US that could be up to $12,000 benefit for family coverage that will now be your responsibility. Pay. So all this put together increases the amount of money you have to make the cover the same amount of salary of your old job. We'll cover this in this class. Ways to reduce costs of starting and operating your feelings business. So the sin come goal is not so achievable or you can live on less. 3. What is Full-Time Freelancing?: Some of you are already three Lansing part time. Some of you have not taken the plunge It written to go all in up doing full time freelance For over 12 years, I forgot what it was like to have a boss forgot what it was like to get dressed for work. With the exception of an in person. Fine, Worst forgot. Where was that morning commute was like. I forgot what it was like to pack a lunch. Find a place to eat our lunch time. There's so many reasons why corn, Full time freelance. So rewarding. But there are so many reasons what going full time Freelance is not for everyone. The positives are always fun to talk about. Being your own boss is in power until you realize instead of having one boss to report to, I now have eight clients report. It sounds like nothing's changed and you're right. You still have bosses to report to, but you could fire them that inning that and have other clients to help support your income . This is the reason why freely right there I have the power and the choice to let a client go. There are some bad apples out there and they could take advantage and put the pressure on you to meet impossible deadlines and make you feel like you have to charge less than you deserve. So that's why my favorite thing about going full time freelance is the power to let go. You're fired. Those two words are strong and words I did not use enough. In the 1st 5 years I left one client drag me through years of torment, and I got underpaid and underappreciated, gained a few new clients, and I was able to let her go. And that felt so good. One of the biggest benefits freelancing its flexibility. I work really efficiently. So that means, as a freelancer, I am rewarded. I can sit down in my desk in my room with my music on and crank out eight hours worth of work in only three. By lunchtime. I'm done for the day. Yes, I'm done. I could turn off my computer, meet my friends for lunch because I'm a dedicated worker who takes pride in their work. I continue to do side hustles and side projects in the afternoon to help support my income . Uh, freedom, Freedom to work harder so you don't have to work to work more efficiently and to make double your old hourly rate. No more wasteful office meetings, just good old productivity on your own accord. Of course, we have to go over the negative parts of freelancing because if you want to jump all in with class, gotta know the negatives ahead of time. Freelancing can be very isolating. You wake up in the morning to your cup of coffee. In my case, I see my kids off to school and you sit down in your home office with coffee in hand and you switch on that computer. There's something very isolating about this. After 12 years, I've learned to live with it. But being and working with other people in person, something I still crave today. That's the reason why a lot of co working spaces air so popular now you could spend $300 Rudy A shared CO between space and feel like you're still part of an office environment. But you're the boss, so there's ways to mediate this feeling as you'll see in the next lesson. Freelancing comes with some possible financial hiccups. Sometimes cash flow is not even and you have a low paying month. This is why we save extra money from good months. But even that might not be. There are a waste of stabilizer income, which is what the next lesson is all about, but it takes a little bit of time and hard work to get their full time. Freelancing is not with vain apart, but the rewards are worth the hard work. 4. Cash Flow Basics For Freelancers : as you probably heard, cash flow is kid cash flow in this case is defined by the not total income received in a given month. When you receive 100% of your cash for from freelance services, you find huge peaks and valleys in your cash flow. This all depends on how many climbs you have, how often they pay you. And if they're regular clients, regular clients are fantastic and provide stability in your cash flow in income. A few of my clients for this way, and I'd prefer them over the higher paying one time jobs because of the stability. If I have three clients that give me around 500 to $1000 of work for a month, I can count on at least 1000 to $2000 per month of income. That's on top of in the extra one time projects applying what I do. This provides a nice cash flow stability. I can at least pay basic bills, and they weren't available to take extra risk and pitch myself for those larger, high paid client work. There's one time higher paying client jobs always have the potential to convert toe recover paying client so constantly searching for those one time high paying freelance opportunities essential for going both sides of your business. For short term and long term clients, these higher paying, one type clients adds a nice boost to cash flow and maybe a Web development project at last four weeks, and you receive a one time payout of $5000 for that given month. Add that to your regular clients you are also working for. You could have a nice $13,000 cash flow for that month or higher. Balance is what we truly strike born freelancing, having a balance between those two client types as essential for evening out your cash flow . The last thing you need is a super low paying month. Let's say $1000 but $2200 in expenses for your family. There are times where this will happen. That $5000.1 time project will not help you hear if you will not get paid for that project into invoice and they sent the money. There's always a delayed getting paid that those air not time perfectly a cash flow problem will happen. That is why when there's higher paying months, any money that is above your average monthly income is stashed away for those front sport, and voices are not paid on your desire. Timing, I can guarantee. After 12 years of studying I cash flow. Even now, after having five stable clients and lots of extra work there months that could be on the lower side. That is why, with my regular stable, I sent out my invoice monthly and on the same date you could pick any date. Whatever works out best for you and your client. But after a few months or years of this regular clockwork invoicing pattern, they tend to pick quicker as they know when they're going to receive that invoice, it becomes a regular bill to them, and you no longer have to fight. Three imports to be paid on time within that 30 day period, go over this and more detail later classed. But charging an outfront for new or higher pain clients is essential if you want to protect yourself from slow or no paying clients. Contracts are key here, too, but asking a 25 to 50% upfront fees for that first project guarantees you will receive prompt payment and helps that new client taking more seriously as they have some money invested. Two Already I have made this mistake many times. When I first started out, I thought that charging 50% upfront fee for my first project would intimidate them too much and they would move on. In some cases, it's true, but having a phone call or personal connection with them can help make this process feel less intimidating for the client. But I would highly recommend this method. There are too many people out there wanting to take advantage of new freelancers, not pay them on time, are not even pay them at all. This is very important. It is better to scare off potential clients by protecting yourself with the sub front that it is to get clients that low quality and not willing to take a risk on. Like I said before, having that personal phone call with applying goes a long way in establishing a good first communication and reducing the possibility that requesting an up front fee will intimidator scare them off. Now that you know how to kind of even out your cash you a little bit, let's go and talk about our personal brand and how to present yourself to potential clients 5. Personal Branding: have you developed a personal brand Yet? When the freelance, Your marketing, your services, Sure, but really you're marketing yourself. Personal branding is critical in landing this wonderful long term, high paying clients that help increase and stabilize that cash flow. Just talked about clients. Worry about potential freelancers flaking out and not committing to the working deadlines. Anything that can prove. Show them your attention to detail. Professionalism goes a long way. There are many people I do not hire based on the sloppy, deceptive presentation. An elevator pitch in the digital age. This is less of a verbal statement and normal cover letter light state. This will be a one paragraph except sell yourself. Can you selling Point basically, and the question why you on free land sites like up working eats? It must be brief. Short into the point. I love to highlight high points in a bullet point like fashion. For example, I want top awards or developed a successful associate meet social media ad campaign for a client that received a 22% conversion rate with a low cost per click, the use of actual numbers is encouraged for social proof headshots go a long way and instilling trust. A special with clients who will not get a chance to call or read in person. This needs to be as professionals possible. Outside Shot seems to work better than inside shots. Spend money on them to get them professionally done. I'll go over several freelancing sites to join and be a part of in the head. Shot is everything. Your portfolio is the crown jewels of your branding assets, depending on what industry you are in. How it looks visually will be very important. Clean, simple portfolios are very effective sure portfolios or sometimes preferred over long. In my years of hiring freelance positions for my clients, you don't want to overwhelm a potential client with an overly long portfolio. Pick your top three projects. Highlight them well, and that's it. Do not feel like you need to put every project you've done on your portfolio. There is a website called Canberra C A N B A. Even if you're not in the creative design industry, creating a portfolio and Campbell is really easy and actually teach a glass office. That's a great question. Do you brand your name or do you create a company name My personal opinion that's branding your name instead of creating a company name is really good for those wanting to work by themselves on projects or if you want to build a freelance career where you are recognized by your name reputation. Also, this is good. If you want to remain independent and not grow your feelings gig into a larger company. Using a created company name is a great idea you decide to join up with. Other freelancers are small businesses to create more of a company or entity. That way it is more than just you, but it's a bigger team with a wider skill set. Thing is a big one. If you decide to use your personal name or company, this is the chance we can shine with your head shot. This needs to be the most professional piece developed. If you're not a designer than please spend the money to hire a good one. Your headshot and logos. The first impressions. You make up a potential client. Your logo will be at the top of your invoices, letterhead and website. This is it. Make it great, make it clean and simple and have the sub line of sorts. That explains briefly what you do. For example, here's my name, which I think is in the style that best represents. My work is a designer. Here's a sub liner byline, which easily explains to the viewer what I do in simple terms. The color I picked a color palette that best risk represents my style. Overall, the design and simple, clean and professional. I now have a greater chance of a potential client contacting me. We will go over invoicing software, but allow them give you the chance to customize the design in the chance you have to extend your logo and colors and brand toe other documents. Please do so. Clients actually take notice of this. Trust me. So display lands have to cost a arm and a leg to get started. Absolutely not. The next video we'll go over shoestring freelancing 6. Shoestring Freelance - Finding ways to cut costs: How do you reduce the cost of running or freelance business as much as possible? When you're switching to full time, you need as much cost savings as possible so you can pocket as much of that cash flow. It's possible here are a few tricks, programs and methods I used to reduce my overall costs. Do not spend the time on Web hosting. Squarespace is cheap, affordable and has a built in Web builder with pretty decent templates. I've done Web designer cask lines so I can attest that they're templates. They act the user actually pretty decent. They're not as customizable is. A WordPress site will be. But you're just starting out, and this could work out well. There's always Go Daddy, still one of the cheaper hosting plans. They're not known for amazing customer service, but they've always got the job done for me. In the end, you can purchase a domain name here, also hosting clean, and they even have the ability to automatically install WordPress for you if you're interested in going WordPress route for your website. Good old Google Gmail has worked out well for me for an email solution, although if you get an email service through yet Go Daddy or squarespace that uses your new main name in your email That goes a long way in professional if you're looking for a no cost solution. I've used a Gmail address for 12 years, and it's worked out great. Google also has some great business tools as well. I pay $2 a month for Google Drive, which gives me 100 gigabytes of online storage. I remember share files and folders with clients with ease, and it's cheaper than Dropbox for what I need. Backing up my files on cloud storage. It's so important. I had a hard drive crash one time where I lost $10,000 with the client work and I did not have it backed up. Lesson learned. So beware. I have used QuickBooks for 10 years. It's been great. I bought the physical software 10 years ago, and I was able to continue to use that version up until recently, for a software upgrade forced me to change. Now put books charges a monthly fee if you're looking for a free solution, instead of paying that monthly fee for just simple invoicing, I use a website called Zip books. Zipp Books is perfect. All you need to do is create simple invoices. But the great thing about QuickBooks is it keeps track of your accounting for tax time. It also helps you contract out freelancers as you keep track of their expenses. Zipp books is a little limited in this capacity. I do not hire other freelancers, so I'm able to get away with only using ZIP books, so I pay nothing. But that might not be the case for you. So check out QuickBooks as well and see if it fits your needs As you're freelancing, business evolves, and handing all of this off to a C P A would be great. If your income strewn allows for it, it can for you up to focus more on growing your freelance business. Unless I'm doing all the accounting yourself for designing graphics, I highly recommend a website called Camba. There's a free version out there where you can create business cards, local social media advertising, and it's fantastic if there's a free version and it's pretty easy to learn. If you're not a designer or creative type, you could still create your entire brand and candles and make it look professional. I teach a class on campus well, when you're trying to do shoestring freelancing or reduced cost freelancing, you could spend a lot of money on design and advertising. So this is a huge way to reduce your start up costs by hundreds of not thousands of dollars . For those of you who charge hourly for your services and need to keep track of those hours put into a project, there's a couple of cheap solutions to this. My very cheap solution, which is what I've been using for over 12 years, is just using a simple no pad application on my computer and dividing and having a great organizational system to break down different clients and different project work. For those looking to update and keep track of your hours anywhere, including your phone, there's a surface called toggle, which has a free basic version. I've heard so many great things about this app that could help boost your productivity and having a free basic version to test it out and never hurts 7. Finding Clients - Offline and On: how I got started in full time freelance with a combination of finding online and offline clients. My first clients were found online on community boards and forms, namely, a form dedicated the young entrepreneurs. Most of those clients visit out, but one ended up being a wonderful long term in your client. I just needed one great. And that was the client. They soon referred me to to other great contacts that they knew personally. Bam! You could see how focusing on game just a new client did not end up reaping huge rewards offline, I developed a connection small business at a local gathering of other small business owners . Once that relationship started to blossom, I get more and more work for them, and they referred me declined. But I still have today, 12 years later, if courses continue to keep referring me to other client work. So as you can see the hardest part of all this is finding the 1st 1 or two solid clients, then just go above and beyond to create solid work. And those referrals will be how your business grows, not by having to continually go out and find work. I cannot remember the last time I had to post on a forum or Facebook group for work because those client referrals just keep rolling in. I want your share what was like, personally for me because I'm going to suggest some online websites in the next section, and a lot of those could be frustrating for new freelancers. I have never found a permanent client on one of these major freelancing websites. It's not impossible, but it's a world a shock for you to try out all that to say, Do not feel discouraged. A great long term client does not come from one of these online websites. That's why offer a wide variety of places to find clients as my own personal journey of finding clients may be different than your own. For finding clients online up work is a great logical place to start. It is one of the bigger freelancing websites out there. I actually use up work to help me set hourly and project rates because I can look up people with similar work, experience and portfolios. I can compare my rate to theirs and adjust my hourly and project rates if they differ widely. This has helped me out when I tried to price myself for new client work. So even if I'm not able to find permanent client work on here, this website still very useful for me for pricing. When you're first starting out finding your clients, it's worth going ahead and giving it a try building a profile here once again. Since you're building a personal brand and we have a nice professional photo, it can really shine here and you have your elevator pitch language that you could put on as your profile opener. Do not sell yourself short here. Many people do. Your goal is to find fewer high quality clients, not mawr. Lower quality clients. You want those nice long term clients for stable cash flow? Right? But do not overcharge unless you have a killer portfolio or previous client work from your PP's career. The big trick on up work is getting that first client project. Many people glaze over your profile because you don't have a work history with them. As you could see, the amount of jobs you've had on the up work network is showed on your profile. This might be the one time you break the rule I described above. You need at least one complete job for social proof. Doing a lower price job once making sure you get a review in exchange might be worth pursuing. Once you get your job completed, you can update your price higher and higher each time. And you can continue to do this as you complete more jobs. This is this is the sacrifice freelancing you're selling yourself, and sometimes you have to give a few services away to build social crew social proof of those things, like positive reviews. I know many people who have refused to do free working in exchange for abuser social proof , and I admire you as bad as you is a student taking this class. Stick with your gut if we have significant experience in your previous career, and you cannot stomach giving away your very valuable skills for exchange for three review that make sure you sell yourself hard and well on your portfolio and on your profile because you will be at a slight disadvantage to others who have proven work on this particular network. Freelancer dot com is another website option, but it's not as large as the up work network. But it's another way to connect with freelancing jobs. I will talk about one to avoid. Do not try fiber. You're going full time freelance, and you want to elevate the value of your services. Fibres for those who want to do high volume of sales work, do not do five. It can work for a very small percentage of people, but mostly a side hustle. So enough said Facebook is a great way to connect with potential clients, but not through ads but through the group sections. The trick here is to find the right groups. There are so many niche groups and other freelancing groups, but there's one I belong to, a cult freelancing females. I constantly see other freelancers post work for jobs and some of these air successful finally connections. If you're freelance writer Recon joined other writing groups, But you may find more success joining a group that focuses on publication created magazines and self publishers who might be looking for people who are editors or writers. You'll find more work being a part of groups that needs your services instead of being part of groups that already do it. That's great for finding business and and improving your business. But being able to find new work go where they are seeking your type of work. As a graphic designer, I joined small business groups. That's a great network full of people who did what branding and advertising. And I'm there and I'm available, although I need to actively give feedback and be health well before I'm able to just join in an advertisement services. That's a surefire way to get kicked off by the group and by the group administrator. He could read countless reviews for these online Friedland's websites and see tons of disappointments. You have a killer portfolio in a great work history. You should not have any problems. But what if you're still in the business of building that work? HISTORY of portfolio? What if you switch career so that you're doing something totally different than what your old salary job? Waas. This is where searching for offline clients is necessary for boosting your work history and portfolio. Most of my early clients came from offline connections, some personal and some friends of friends. A lot of them came through networking, local business groups and organizations as I've mentioned before. Local nonprofits always need freelance type work. A great way to get a client referral and a portfolio bills is to volunteer your service for local charity and non profits. Bust me working for nonprofits, and you do a great job. They love to refer you, and a lot of times I can refer you to for profit clients that pay even more for your work. Meet Up is a great website to find local business groups and connections that are meaning locally in your city. I believe their global. So you're not in the United States who still should be able to go online, find groups that are in your niche, or find groups that may need your services and start to participate locally in person and some of these groups. 8. Contracts - How to protect yourself: contract writing is not for the faint apart. That's why I suggest getting a jumpstart by sourcing several sample contracts online and putting them together to create your own custom contract. A lot of items in your contract will be industry specific. So do some research online to find out industry specific requirements to put in your contract. Make sure to spell everything out in a clear manner. You can never be too detailed when it comes to contracts. You do not want to leave holes that could go against you in the court of law. Notice how I made sure there was an up front payment. I also make sure to detail how much and when the remaining money will be paid. It is good to set up a payment milestone for longer projects of a project stalls, and it's not any fault of your own. You're still guaranteed little payments along the way to keep your cash flow more even. And to keep your payments up to date, you can even mention how you can stop the work of the milestone. Payment is not completed. This is important for photographers and illustrators. Some clients will not sign a contract unless they own 100% of the copyrights for the project upon completion of payment. Likewise, you may want credit each time your workers used by the client, so make sure you spell that out in your contract and that they need to properly credit you each time, if required. And how do they credit you? Make sure longer projects stay on track. Putting timelines into contracts are great for both you and the client. Trust me, clients contract their feet, so showing them this part of the contract after a long pause on the project moving board is a great motivator to keep them going. It really protects yourself. Make sure you include a penalty for late payments. I have had late payments go unpunished, and the client continued to take advantage of me not charging a late B, and they were always late. Put this in your contract to make sure you have legal backing to charge them if it were ever to come up. These are just a few simple examples of items to include in your contract to protect yourself from things I had to deal with over the years. I found a lot of these great sample contract snippets from a website called bonzai dot com , so feel free to check it out. 9. Other Freelance Classes : I hope you enjoyed the short class. I would love her review. I also would love to know additional lessons you may want added to this class. To make it better, I teach ashore price and class that goes into war Detail on how high price client projects , including how to find your hourly rate, as well as helping you decide whether an hourly or a fixed rate pricing model works better for you or your client. I also have a fun freelance disasters class that goes over my biggest freelance failures and how you can prevent those failures from happening to you. Do you want to know what goes into an effective ad? As a freelancer, this quick class could be helpful in knowing how to present yourself and the best way possible when it comes to advertising. Do you want to build that portfolio his classes? For anyone interested in using camba to create your portfolio, we also go over a few do's and don't support fully a presentation. If you're wanting to explore the personal branding side of things a little bit, I have a class called branding Inspirations where we develop a color board and move on to looking at logos that are really inspirational. Take a look of my skill share profile to see a list of all classes I hope you enjoyed.