Look Before You Leap
Here are several things that will help you as you get started with your freelancing or consulting business.
- Test your idea. Are you going to be a consultant or entrepreneur? A consultant gets paid to work. Entrepreneurs makes money while they sleep. Is your product or service remarkable, and significantly better than the giants who offer the same thing? Don’t compete with the giants; set yourself apart. Pick a niche where you excel.
- Test your passion. Do you really love what you’re about to do? Or, are you doing it because you might make money? Can you do both? Passion is a natural and powerful motivator. Get together with others who are doing the same thing, and learn from them.
- Develop a business plan. Do you have the assets, tools and technology you need to get started? Can you cover the cash flow needed in the beginning? What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)? How does your SWOT compare to competitors – do you stand out? Keep your business plan simple and short.
- Choose your structure. Are you going to be a sole proprietor, or limit your liability through an LLC or corporation? You tax preparer can probably give you good advice.
- Pick a business name. Start with a domain name so that there’s a direct connection between your business and your domain. Get a dot com and avoid all the other extensions.
- Get a business bank account. Keep your finances separate from your personal account.
- Get health insurance. For many, this is the hardest and most-expensive part. If you are leaving a full-time job, COBRA can provide a soft landing for insurance for 18 months. To check out the possibilities in your state, click here.
- Establish your value proposition and price. Compare your value proposition and price to your competitors. Can you offer more for the same price? If so, you’ve got a powerful selling point.
- Use your down-time effectively. Starting up a new business typically requires lots of hard work in the beginning that does not bring in income. Whenever you have down time, work on your website, value proposition, breakthroughs, etc. Keep ahead of everyone else.
- Getting paid. Are you going to chase your accounts receivable? Or, will you get paid up front? Be ready to explain to your customer how your services work in detail.
- Manage your finances and taxes. There are plenty of software programs available to help you do both of these. Or, get an accountant to do them for you.
Source: Mark Hovind, JobBait