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3 Steps to Planning your Freelance Startup | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

3 Steps to Planning your Freelance Startup

Date March 18, 2008


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It can seem overwhelming when you’re trying to figure out what business is right for you. The great thing about starting a new freelance venture is that you don’t have to know every step you’ll take before you launch.

Each new decision point brings with it new choices. Thinking about those choices now won’t necessarily help you out in the beginning. What you really need is a starting point and a general plan to get you from idea to startup.

There are 3 steps you can take right now which will give you clear direction and motivation to continue.

What’s your current situation?

Where are you in your current work/job situation? Are you in a position where you can at least tolerate full-time employment while you get your fledgling business off the ground?

Your situation now will determine what type of business you can start and how much time you can devote to it. But, if you can pay the bills while you’re getting started you’ll be better off. Why? Because you won’t be thinking about how you’re going to pay your bills.

But, if you’ve recently quit or been laid off, your choice may be very clear—or it may be more complicated.

About two years ago, Google had a big shake up in their search engine rankings which scared people away from search engine consultants. I was one of those consultants. My income literally dried up overnight. To make matters worse, clients I had booked a month in advance wanted their intitial deposits back.

My choice was to either go back to full-time employment or try to get something going—which had to happen fast. Since I don’t always perform well under financial pressure, I took a contract position with a local government contractor.

You may feel motivated to get the money rolling no matter what. I understood myself well enough to know that I probably would have folded. But, it worked out in the long run and I was able to walk away from my contract position after six months.

What are your interests, talents, and experience?

Before I started freelancing, I made one rule. If I can’t have fun, I won’t do it. I witnessed too many people make a lot of money and wax on about how miserable they were. Not me.

But, fun for me is probably not the same for you. That’s where a good inspection of your desires along with your talents and skills should come in.

If you can figure out the one thing that would make you excited to get out of bed every morning (and there is such a thing), then you’re probably very close to finding your ideal business.

 Any interest, skill, talent, or experience is open season. There are too many opportunities today. Don’t rush into something because you think someone else will be happier. Which leads me to the third planning question.

What does your heart desire?

I think the biggest obstacle most people face when starting a freelance career is their current job. Maybe you make good money. You’ve got benefits and a nice 401k. The thought of having to find your own health insurance scares you.

If you can’t be compelled to stay in your current job. If the nag of freelancing won’t let you go. Then you might as well start a business that fulfills your deepest desires.

If you don’t know what those desires are. Ask yourself probing questions to smoke them out.

What do you spend most of your time doing? At work, yes, but also at home in your own personal time.

Do you want to work at home or at a local office?

Do you want to travel?

Do you want to be able to downsize and spend more time with family, friends, or taking care of someone else?

There are desires that drive what you do at work and home. Start focusing on what motivates you and you’ll start seeing your true desires.

One last point I recommend is to write all this down. I’ve been amazed at things I’ve written down when I go back over my notes. As you start getting what’s in your head on paper, you’ll see the trends that will help you move forward in your freelance business planning.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Live with Freelance Success
  2. Why aren’t you freelancing yet?
  3. Freelance Idea Roundup Monday - Local Freelancing Opportunities

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