After starting a freelancing business myself, I felt that most of the advice out there was overly positive/unrealistic.
The YouTube Gurus
Before I even started my business, I watched so many YouTube tutorials of people on private jets. These guys were explaining how easy it was to create a multimillionaire online business within months or even days!!!
Obviously, I wasn’t buying all of these BS, but I think it was a nice motivational point to start with.
Honestly, I don’t want to throw excrements over all of the youtube freelancers, as I think there are many that preach reality and try to help humbly.
In case you don’t know any of them, I will list a few that I like down here:
- RealToughCandy -(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC54NcJvLCvM2CNaBjd5j6HA)
- BrettDev -(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNgicP9xbky0geQV7xLH_QA)
- TravisMedia –https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGPGirOab9EGy7VH4IwmWVQ
These are just three that I follow, and their primary focus is on software development ,which is what I do, but I am sure that there are people on your niche preaching realistic freelancing and business approaches.
So let’s talk about starting out, shall we?
The Starting Point
At the beginning, freelancing or starting a business is not easy. The reason being, is mainly, because you have 0 prove of your business. So, who would take a chance on trusting a new business with no record or feedback yet?
The answer is , preferably no one. That is why is so difficult to start, nobody knows you, and the ones that do know you, don’t even know if you are any good at what you are doing.
So, do not expect to get paid right away or to make a huge amount of money from the start. I am not saying it can not happen, I wish it will happen to you, but it certainly didn’t happen to me or to most business owners that I know.
How to approach the start
To start, it will be quite tough to get paid a lot for your service/product, so my approach is simple, offer it for free or in a really reduced price.
Of course, there will be people taking advantage of you. Check my article about UpWork, so you get a feel of what can happen and which clients to avoid. =>(https://pcgwebdev.com/2020/01/02/upwork-my-story/).
But, that being said, most people will be more than happy to try your product or service for free, or even for really cheap. Remember, this is just the starting phase, once people recognise your value or product, (if it has any) they will be happy to spend the money.
Therefore, I think the mindset you need to start business has to change from the one of a full-time job. You need to build reputation in your area of expertise first, and then, the money will come.
Your product may be good for you, but not for others
This is a big topic that, even though is simple, it took me years to realise.
If you want to receive money from others, they have to value what you do and offer.
For example, I love heavy metal and really strong music, do most people normally like this kind of music? The short answer is NO. Do most people, instead, love indie and pop music styles, that I terribly despise? Yes, so what do you think it would be the easiest approach to make your fictional record label profitable? Obviously, giving people what they want, which is Pop and Indie.
I am not saying that you should not follow your passion at all, but I think eating and sleeping under a roof is more important. So, you always have to put yourself in other people’s perspective and think in what they would be interested in. If it’s something you like, great, if it is not, you can try to convince them or create a niche, but It would be more challenging to start seeing results.
From my pragmatic perspective, I would approach the start of a business offering people something that they could actually value from the start. You can always specialise it later once you have more people on board. If you can make it so it is related to you deepest passion, that would perfect.
A really small niche can be extremely successful, I am not saying you should not focus on it, but if you want to scale quicker (and also pay the bills), make sure you listen to people’s needs and once you have your basics covered up, focus on what you like the most.
Discipline and the grind
Little story about myself, I wasn’t the most stupid kid of my class in school, so I needed to do pretty little effort in order to pass, sometimes, even with good grades.
But there were a few kids, that I knew for a fact and with all due respect, weren’t really bright, and they still managed to have better results on exams and projects.
Back then, I was wondering, how is this possible? Am I dumb? No mate, you are just as lazy as a french bulldog in the middle of the summer. I was preparing my exams a day before, and you know, reading the subjects while I was watching videos or who knows what.
So, how was I expecting to get any good grades? Luckily, when I got older I finally learnt how important it was to stick with things and not to give up, but it took me long, and I nearly lost one whole year of my life because of this.
The lesson to take from my laziness is simple, put hours focusing on your business, daily. You will eventually see results, don’t skip things because “you don’t feel like doing them”.
To sum everything up
These would be the most critical steps that I would follow in order to start a business and see money coming in, as soon as possible. Some of the steps may sound a bit obvious for you, but they weren’t for me that long ago.
I hope this helps,