If, like many people right now, you’re thinking of ways to make money online, freelancing might seem like a logical step. You can do it safely from home, it will generate income, and so on. But there are a few things to consider before diving headfirst into freelancing, even if only temporarily.
Do you have a niche which people still need?
In the current coronavirus-stricken environment, your ability to succeed as a freelancer very much depends on the services that you can offer.
For instance, while travel writers and planners are struggling for work right now, couriers, healthcare workers and government contractors are less likely to be affected by job loss at the moment.
During a crisis, bigger companies are usually a bit safer, because they’re more likely to have emergency funds if they need your help on a one-off basis, and quickly.
That said, some online businesses are seeing a huge boost at the moment. Entertainment, tech, gaming, and health and fitness websites are finding that lots of people stuck at home are looking for things to do, and are buying gadgets and equipment to cure their boredom. It could be a good idea to target those with freelancing pitches.
Keep your overheads very low
The great thing about freelancing is that it’s generally one of the cheapest business types to set up. As finances are a bit tough for most of us all at the moment, it’s wise to try and limit how much you’re investing in any freelancing venture.
If you’re really stumped for cash, then you might want to set up a free WordPress website and perhaps just buy a domain to make it look a bit more professional.
If you do have some money to invest, it’s best to go for a self-hosted website, domain and theme to make your website more effective. The good thing about this, is that it doesn’t cost a fortune.
To save yourself from a large initial investment, you might also want to opt for a hosting package that allows monthly payments. Generally, hosting companies want at least a year upfront. Many hosting plans also offer a free domain too.
Try a generous marketing approach
There are lots of businesses who are trying to capitalise on the crisis to a very mixed response, so it’s best to be cautious when marketing. Perhaps offer something, like a free consultation, to encourage interest and give potential clients a taste of what you can offer.
While offering free work is always a bit risky, getting new business is tricky right now and an incentive might be needed to get new clients. Plus, it’s also a nice way to give back and help support other small businesses.
Don’t get into trouble with HMRC!
OK, we’re an online accountancy, so obviously we’re going to very strongly advise any newbie freelancers to keep everything above board! This means registering as self-employed, and submitting Self Assessment tax returns so that you pay the right amount of tax.
We know that this can sound incredibly daunting, and likely pretty off-putting. Before you click away, check out our guide on starting your own business.
About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.