To begin a successful freelance business as an artist, you need confidence, talent and knowledge about what business practices will protect your reputation and help you turn a profit. If you're tired of the daily grind or find you need a more flexible routine, working on your own can be a common sense solution. Follow these suggestions to get a jumpstart on your start-up success.
1. Design Your Online Face
Freelancers aren't employees, but they're still professionals. Look the part by creating an online presence that speaks to your top skills. Have a logo that represents your brand and your values, design a website and blog where you can share new projects, and work with an email list building service to generate a pool of potential customers.
Take care to use social media to represent your business in its best light. This means keeping your personal comments to your personal pages, and ensuring that every professional post is helpful for your followers. If you aren't sure how to create viral posts that your followers will pass along to their friends, consider working with other freelancers to improve your online appeal.
2. Make Client Payments Easy
If you work online, there are a number of ways to make payments easier for your clientele. Using an online service like Paypal, you can process credit card payments, or use a service like Bill.com to have money sent straight to your bank. Set up an invoicing system, and spell your terms out on your website.
Let clients know that large projects may require milestone payments or a deposit upfront. Knowing their responsibilities can make people more likely to make those payments on time. Having a system will also streamline your tax issues, such as sending W-9s out to clients who pay you more than $600 a year or filing your quarterly taxes.
3. Network Online and In Person
Too many freelancers get tied to their computers, and wind up a slave to a different kind of daily grind. It's important to make sure you get out of the house. Even if building your business is your main focus right now, use it for motivation to get out and about. Check out local events for professionals, including chamber of commerce events. Take along business cards with your relevant contact information, so that when someone needs your skills it will be easy to get in touch.
4. Set a Sensible Schedule
To make sure work doesn't take over your life, set a schedule that works with your natural routine. If you're a morning person, get up a bit earlier. You could have your work done by the time the kids come home from school. Are you a night owl? Sleep in and stay up until the wee hours working on projects.
Living the freelancing life can be liberating, as long as you mind your Ps and Qs. Once you have your degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -- Online Division, you'll have both the knowledge and the credentials that can help you land jobs. Using these tips, you can put your education to work earning a living from home.
Read more: Forbes.Com: Nine Steps to Freelancing Success