Do you want to start a freelance business, sell your skills and make money online?
You’re not alone. The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed a lot of people out of business.
Many have also lost their jobs due to cash crunch and the widespread impact of the lockdown on businesses… But, that’s not all.
Just like the lockdown has brought a lot negative events, on the digital side, the pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to embrace outsourcing and online services…
And for this reason, there’s a surge in demand for freelancers across the globe and more freelancers are getting hired by businesses.
With this in mind, a lot of entrepreneurs have positioned themselves as freelancers, selling their skills and providing digital solutions to businesses within and outside their localities.
From Africa to Europe, Asia to America, many entrepreneurs have decided to embrace freelancing as an avenue to make money and sustain their families during the new normal.
Right now, from Africa to Europe, Asia to America, millions of entrepreneurs have embraced freelancing as a means to make money and sustain their families.
So, if you’re one of the people interested in starting a freelancing business then this tutorial is for you.
In the following paragraphs, you’ll learn about what it takes to start a freelance business in Africa. And how to position and grow your freelancing business.
Alright let’s get started.
Set out your goal
Starting any business and growing it into a thriving self employed career starts with having a specific goal you want to achieve with the business. Freelancing is not excluded.
So, before you get started with your freelance business, you need to have a specific goal you want to achieve in mind.
The primary reason you need this is so that your goal can help you to shape your business model, pricing etc.
Having clear goals for your business will help you to identify your priorities, create strategies you need to use to achieve these priorities and then give you the right KPIs to measure your success correctly.
Without this in place, it might get really difficult to attain any measurable success.
Identify your skills
So, now that you have set out your freelance business goals, the next thing you’ll need is to identify your skill set.
To get started, you want to analyze your current skills, experience or special abilities…
Get two different plain sheets of paper. On each paper, rule a straight vertical line from the top to the bottom of the sheet.
On one side of the sheet, list out each of the skills and abilities you have, based on your level of expertise, experience or exposure.
On the opposite side, write down your estimated level of exposure, expertise and or experience with the skills within the range of 1-100, with 100 being the highest level.
Now for the next step…
Begin to think about the list you have before you critically. Looking at your list, alongside your laid down goals, which of the skills you listed down can really get you to achieve the goals you’ve laid out in step one above?
Find out the exact skills and begin to list them down in a separate sheet.
Find a need
Now that you have listed out your top skills, the next stage on your freelancing journey is to find a need.
A need is a problem that people are currently looking for a solution which you can provide and get paid for it.
To some people and depending on your skill set, this need may revolve around services like Content Writing, Graphics Design, Search Engine Optimization etc.
You need to find out the exact need of which you can provide solutions that will get you paid.
Tools like Google Search, Google Keyword tool etc can give you a clear idea on services that people are actively searching online.
To get this done, right, you need to research this need then line up each of them in a list against your level of expertise.
Before settling for any of them, find out your level of competence, the level of competition in that niche and the number of people actively searching for those services.
Doing this will give you great ideas in choosing the right services for your freelancing business.
Identify a target Audience
So, who’s your target audience? Who are the people actively searching for this solution you want to offer?
This is one of the important questions you need to ask at this stage if you want to start your freelancing business on the right footing.
You need to have a good knowledge of your target audience, know who they are, where they are, what they want and how best to serve them.
A tool like Google analytics, Facebook page analytics etc. can get you started on this.
Also at this stage, you need to conduct a decent market research to find out how other people offering their services are charging or offering those services.
Here’s a complete guide on how to price your freelance business. This guide will be very helpful in that aspect.
Create a solution
After identifying your target audience and their specific needs, you want to create a solution that will work for them.
Perhaps your target audience are businesses in need of graphics design, your solution has to revolve around creating a graphics design services that will work for them.
Now, considering you already have the data on your target audience based on your research in step four above, you want to use this data to create a solution that will be custom fit for this audience.
Considering their geographic location and other factors, you want to set up your solution and come up with a pricing that will work for them.
PS: keep in mind that whatever result you have from your market research will definitely affect the outcome of your solution.
As a freelance business, it doesn’t matter whether you’re running your business as a solopreneur or not, you need to create a brand for your self.
This is very important because a lot of potential clients will want to understand your brand before getting to do business with you.
So, this step is where you go about creating your freelancing business brand.
Starting from your social media, choose your brand colors, choose a professional picture to represent your brand, set up your bio and put together a list of your existing portfolio.
Also, ensure you have a website for your freelancing business. This is very important in terms of branding.
It sets you apart, giving prospective clients a place to look through what you’re doing. And have an idea about your past works. We can help you get started with this…
Here’s a complete guide on how to set up your brand as a freelancer.
Create a Plan
At this stage you’re ready to get your freelancing business on the move. The thing you need to do at this stage is to create a business plan.
Now don’t get startled yet. Your business plan doesn’t have to be something elaborate.
All you need do here is to write down the most important steps you need to take to get your freelance business started.
So, to get on with this, you want to map out your strategy.
Are you launching on your social media or your website?
How do you want to promote the business?
How do you get your first few clients and how do you intend to make them come back to do business with you?
These are some of the questions that your business plan should answer.
This guide here will give you a more detailed clue on how to set up your freelance business plan.
Promote your services
After setting up your freelancing business, to get people to patronize you, you need to get them to know about what you do.
This is where promotion comes in.
There are many ways you can go about to promote your freelancing business.
One of the primary ways to do this can be through the use of paid or organic promotion.
Paid promotion involves the use of paid ads either on social media, search engine like Google, popular websites etc.
Organic promotion involves the use of other strategies like content marketing, social media marketing, guest posting, SEO, link building etc.
Depending on affordability and your goal, you can choose to use either of these avenues to promote your freelance business.
Just like any other business, starting a freelance business may not be all beds of roses but as someone that’s been there for over 4 years, I can assure you, it’s doable.
With dedication to your business and a commitment to learn and relearn as you keep evolving there’s room for an all round growth.
As you set out to get started with your freelancing business, you want to always remember that you’re here to provide a solution for your target clients. Focus on this.
Always remember to analyze the effectiveness of each strategic step you take.
To really understand if what you do is working or not, always find time to measure your outcome against your goals. This is very important.
To avoid repetition of mundane tasks, create systems that works. Repeat them where they work and drop the ones that don’t.
So, there you have the strategic steps on how to start your freelancing business in Africa or anywhere around the world.
Need further help on how to go about starting this? Let’s help you.
That said, I’d like to know, what’s the greatest challenge you’ve ever faced while trying to set up your freelance business?