Being a freelancer can be great – no office, no boss, just working for yourself to get the job done. However, working in an office provides structure and resources that can be difficult to mimic as a freelancer. Furthermore, most offices have a lot of tools that come in handy (like copy machines and scanners) which can be expensive for freelancers just starting out. Here are some ways to watch your expenses as you get started freelancing.
The first area of new expenses is the office. A regular office has a lot of equipment that you probably took for granted before you started freelancing. However, you can create a virtual office with free tools to help you online. For example, instead of paying for expensive software, you can look for free options like Google Docs or other similar programs. These programs do all the same things as their expensive counter-parts, but they’re free.
As far as where to place your office, it can be set up in a spare room or you could even use your kitchen table if you lack space. Some people find that they really need an environment that feels like work rather than home and choose to use serviced offices.
For additional savings, you could use a service like Skype instead of paying for expensive long distance phone service or a teleconference service. Keep your office supplies to a minimum and use back to school sales as a way to stockpile the essentials at a very inexpensive price.
Marketing and Customers
Another area that you need to watch out for is what you spend on marketing and capturing customers. If you’re trying to get your name out there, it can be expensive if nobody knows who you are. However, you can watch your costs by utilizing the power of the internet and social media. In fact, having a good website and maybe using a little advertising for it can be very valuable. More and more people are turning to the internet to search for companies, and read reviews on them before they buy. Therefore, your online reputation can really help (or hinder) your freelancing career.
As for customers, it can be expensive to acquire them. You sometimes have to wine and dine, and spend time writing proposals for nothing. Make sure that you have a good rewards credit card that gives you cash back for dining expenses and other incidentals that you may incur while trying to win over a customer.
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