Many of us dream of going freelance with the hope it will give us the freedom to call the shots. However, breaking away from a lot of the certainty that can come from full-time employment and finding our own clients can be daunting. Starting out on your own means finding clients all on your own and being able to manage your time effectively. Although it can be a struggle at first, it can be possible to get on your feet and make a solid income for yourself relatively quickly. Here we will look at some of the best steps to take for success as a freelance developer.
Build a List of Leads
Before you decide to go out on your own, it’s important to build a list of leads from which you can work. This can be done by networking at events, word of mouth or by reaching out via phone or email; one way to start is to build a list of contacts at the companies you wish to work for and then put together a document tracking who you’ve contacted and their replies. Before you reach out to any potential clients you will want to decide on your rate and the minimum you will be willing to accept.
Have A Contract in Place
A common mistake made when starting out as a freelancer is not making any deals official with a contract. A contract doesn’t need to be overly complicated, but it’s best to have any deal and agreement in writing and signed by both parties should any issues arise later. You will want to include in the contract the payment terms such as how much you will be paid and when along with the right to terminate the contract and how that will happen. Make sure that any agreement or changes you make with a client are in writing. If you are struggling, there are freelance contract templates you can find online to help you get started.
Be Smart with Your Accounts
When working freelance it can be easy to get so caught up in managing client relationships and finding work that you fail to keep accurate accounts. However, keeping accurate and regular accounts will save you a huge headache when it comes to filling out your tax self-assessment.
Before you start taking on work, you will need to register as a sole trader or as a company; if you are only just starting out, it will probably suit you better to register as a sole trader unless you expect your profits to exceed £35,000 in the tax year. Unless you are starting out with lots of clients, it’s probably easier to keep accounts yourself – there’s a lot of online bookkeeping software out there to keep you on the right track. There are a number of taxable expenses which will help reduce your tax bill so ensure to research these before filing your accounts.
Backing Up Your Data
Backing up all your files, accounts and work will make sure your business isn’t affected too negatively by a computer malfunction or malware. Investing in cloud computing is one of the best and most affordable ways to back up your data as a freelancer. Cloud computing also makes it easy to expand your business without needing to invest in expensive IT infrastructure.
Have a Focus
Working as a freelance dev you will have an idea of the kind of projects you enjoy and the ones you don’t. Having a focus for the kind of work you take on and want to do will not only help you when marketing yourself but will also help you establish yourself as the kind of developer you want to be. Create a portfolio of the kind of work you wish to become an expert in and know that you can say no to projects which you have no interest in.