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Starting your own business is exciting but is going to be a lot more work than you may have first considered. As a web designer, you have an advantage, because your start up costs and overheads are pretty low. Plus there are many occasions where you can run the entire business on your own. As you become more successful, you can hire other freelance agents to help you web design and develop. You can also hire other freelance workers to do your book keeping, accounting, tax returns, legal, promotional, account management, etc. On the downside you are not able to produce work as fast as the bigger companies, or charge a very high fee since competition from other freelancers will force you to bid lower prices.
Continue to work full time to start with
You should not just straight into working freelance. You should keep your job and work during your spare time. You should then wean yourself off of your day job and onto your freelance business.
Reduce your hours to part time working
As your freelance business grows, you can start to cut back your day job working hours.
Do not rely on your freelance business in the early stages
You cannot expect work to turn up. Just because you have a lot of requests for work one week does not mean you will have the same amount of requests through the month. You cannot afford to become dependent on your freelance work until you have been in business a few years.
Cultivate a client list
This is the best way of staying in business, as most other methods cannot guarantee you a regular income.
Learn how to advertise successfully
Advertising is all up to you in the early stages, so you need to get good at it and fast.
Invest in better technology and advertising
You must do this as you become more successful and start earning a regular wage.
Budget your time, money and workloads
If you do not do this you will miss deadlines for both work and bills.
Save money to become a freelance designer
Before you quit your day job (which by now you have moved into part time hours) you need a contingency fund. You should have already purchased all the things you need to be a freelance agent, so now you need a contingency fund. This is going to protect you from the unexpected, or will simply pay your bills if you find yourself without freelance work to complete.
Try to hold onto your contingency fund
When you move away from full time work, to part time work, to becoming fully self employed, you need a contingency fund. This is the amount you saved up to start your business (as per the previous paragraph). This is your little nest egg that is going to act as a buffer to compensate for the turbulent time you are going to have during the first year. Try to hold onto this money as long as you can, so that you have a contingency fund for three or four years.
Self-insure by growing your contingency fund
Invest a certain amount of money into a savings account each month. This money should not be spent and you are not investing it. This is money to cover any emergencies or cover any circumstances that may halt your productivity or earning potential.
Set out regular working hours
As you become more and more experienced you will find that you work faster and should be able to work to a schedule. You need to take this a step further and create regular working hours that you (mostly) stick to. If you do not then you will end up working all hours and your productivity will take a nosedive.
Start to brand your freelance business
In the final stages of your business startup, you should be able to start moving away from the heavily personal side and start branding your business. Your face and your talent may still feature widely in your advertising and interpersonal client communication, but you need to start branding. Your freelance company needs to come up with brand principals, and you must start to impress them upon your customers. People need to start recognizing your brand principals when they see your company name, logo and tagline. If you do not start to move away from the one-person army approach then you will always be scratching around the floor looking for the scraps of work that bigger companies have thrown away or missed.
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