4 Important Goals for Your Freelance Company
Did you know that 90% of startups fail in the first year?
That’s right – and it’s a pretty scary statistic for anyone who’s branching out on their own for the first time.
Luckily, setting some smart goals will help you get on the right track from the start – and identify where you might be going wrong. No matter what kind of business you’re running, achieving the following four goals during your first year in business is a really good sign.
Want to find out more?
Keep reading for details on these all-important benchmarks.
1. Build a Strong Customer Base for Sustainable Income
There’s no point in running your own business if you’re going to earn $10,000 one month, and $50 dollars the next.
It’s unsustainable, unreliable, and will cause you a ton of stress.
That’s why building a strong customer base that provides you with a sustainable income is absolutely crucial during your first year in business.
Depending on the industry you work in, you might have one or two regular monthly clients, and then a range of one-off clients who supplement your base income.
A strategy like this can work well for new startups, as it gives you time to go out and look for new, high-paying clients while holding onto a few safe options for reliable cash flow.
If you tend to turn down lower-paying clients with regular work, ask yourself if doing so is smart. As a startup, regular income is more important than high income – at least in the beginning.
Once you’ve been earning a stable amount for a year or two, you can look at losing some of the lower-paying clients in favour of big earners.
2. Develop a Long-Term Marketing Plan
What will your business look like five years from now? How do you want it to be viewed by the world?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re in trouble.
Once you’ve got your first few clients, it can be really easy to start neglecting your marketing efforts.
A solid marketing strategy is what will keep your company doing well for years to come, and it’s an essential part of finding new clients and retaining your existing ones.
Your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be anything complex or fancy. It could be as simple as some brand guidelines and a few simple marketing strategies like, ‘Place ads in local paper’, or ‘Maintain social media page.’
However, the more you put into your marketing strategy, the more you’re likely to get out.
Look into creating a website to make use of content marketing, SEO, landing pages, online advertising, and more.
Plan your marketing now, and your future self will thank you.
3. Start Working on Your Own Terms
Are your currently turning a blind eye to a few client issues because you’re so desperate for work?
Maybe that contract isn’t as watertight as you’d like it to be? Perhaps there’s a certain picky client who always seems to call outside business hours?
Whatever it is, by the end of your first year, you should be starting to deal with it.
Going freelance is meant to be about earning more and having more freedom. If you feel like you’re a slave to your clients, something isn’t right.
Try making a list of all the ways you’re currently deferring to your clients, and make a plan to be more assertive in the future.
That could mean creating a new contract that all your clients must sign, charging for additional pieces of work you’ve completed for free in the past, or setting firmer boundaries around client communication.
For example, you could say, “I’m now only available for phone calls between 9 and 11 am”, or, “All article revisions will now be charged at my usual per word rate.”
Don’t stress about losing clients.
Most won’t have any issue with treating your fairly – and the hassle of finding a new provider probably won’t be worth it for those that do.
When you value your own time and demand to be treated with respect, clients will take you more seriously – so being more assertive is a win-win.
By the end of your first year in business, your company should be operating on your terms.
4. Earn More Than You Did at Your Last Job
Did you quit your full-time job so that you could live off peanuts?
No. You certainly didn’t.
You should have a clear idea of where you want your income to be at the end of your first year in business, and set a plan to get you there.
Will you charge more to make up for the lack of benefits, like holidays and sick pay?
Will you go after higher-quality clients than you worked with at your old job?
Questions like this are instrumental in setting the right rates, finding suitable clients, and getting the income you deserve. Don’t sell yourself short just because you’re a freelancer now.
How to Succeed During Your First Year in Business
Finding success in your first year of business is all about planning, analyzing your results, and being willing to make changes.
You might find that you need to make some pretty big alterations to your original business plan as you figure out what works and what doesn’t, and that’s okay.
A willingness to be flexible will serve you well for the rest of your career and should prevent you from wasting time and money on failed strategies. Having clear goals for your first year helps you to ensure that you’re on the right track, and highlights any red flags that need addressing.
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