A comprehensive guide to starting a freelance tech business from scratch
In recent years, the tech industry in the UK reached a milestone value of $1 trillion. As the sector booms and the world continues to propel itself towards ever-increasingly digital societies, it’s no surprise that more entrepreneurs are jumping on the bandwagon.
If you’ve got a passion for tech and a thirst for self-made success, learn how to create your own freelance tech business with these tips.
Become an expert
Whether you’re fresh out of education, an old-school industry expert, or a passionate tech newbie, every entrepreneur has to be open to a lot of learning. The more you educate yourself, the higher your chance of creating a product or service that truly resonates with your audience.
This includes your technology niche. If you haven’t already, learn everything there is to know about the technology you’re interested in until you’re an expert in the field. Stay on top of all the latest relevant news and read around your industry, too, ensuring you’re always clued up on what’s happening.
It’s also wise to get to grips with all things business, as well. Read up on everything from creating and managing invoices (using accounting software such as Xero or FreeAgent can help with this), how to handle late payments, and how to accept card payments from your clients (e.g. using Stripe or Sumup card readers), to what your audience expects from your services or products as a company, creating a marketing strategy, winning new clients, and making sure you’re prepared to build a brand.
The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be.
Understand markets and trends
No matter how good your idea, if you’re not clued up on trends and markets it’s going to be a whole lot harder to get your freelancing business off the ground.
When looking into your market and defining your proposition, some key questions to think about include:
● Who is your audience
● What are the needs and pain points of your market
● Who are your competitors
● Where are the gaps in the market
● Is there any oversaturation in your market to avoid
Consider the difference between trends and disruption, too. Trends can come and go, but a product that truly disrupts the industry is set to stick around.
To learn more about markets, you can make a start by listening to tech and business podcasts, watching reputable YouTube videos, and keeping on top of industry news. There’s also plenty of published market research available on the internet, so do some digging to see what you can find out about your audience.
Grow your network
As a freelance tech company, you’re going to need a network. Your connections will spread the word about your business, offer you advice when you need it, and perhaps even become your first clients. You never know who knows who, either, and one network connection could lead to a whole host of other useful people for you to get to know.
To grow your network, try:
● Networking events
● Connecting with people in your field using LinkedIn
● Attending industry events
● Attending training programmes and seminars
As a freelancer, networking is incredibly important to find clients. Read up on tips to improve your skills and ensure your business is always booming.
Create a business plan
Start developing your business plan. Remember, you can work on this document as you go, adjusting it and fleshing out ideas, but creating the bare bones of a plan early on will help hone your focus.
A business plan should detail everything anyone interested in investing or partnering with your brand needs to know. If you take on employees or contractors to help with freelance work, they can read your business plan and gain a good understanding of your business model, too.
Your plan should include:
● An executive summary and business description
● Market and trend research
● Your business model
● Marketing strategies
● Financial information
Look into funding options
Although it isn’t always too expensive to start a freelance business, in the tech world the costs can be high. Once you’ve developed your business model, it’s smart to look into funding options if you want to take your brand further.
There are a number of options for generating funds from investors, including seeking out angel investors, crowdfunding, and asking friends and family if they’d like to invest. Look into government grants, too, which can help your freelance business get off the ground without having to give away a percentage of your profits.
Develop an MVP
Get your idea up and running with a minimum viable product (MVP). If you’re starting a tech freelance company that fixes computers, for example, your MVP could be a website that allows clients to book from an initial offering of limited services. For tech products, your MVP will be the basic features and minimum development it takes to get the item or software up and running.
Your MVP should solve your audience’s needs in the simplest way possible. Once it’s developed and deployed, ensure you ask for customer feedback (and opinions from your trusted network) to continue building your brand based on what your audience wants.
Once you’ve created your business product/service and developed your ideas, it’s time to start marketing your freelance brand.
Start with creating a website either by learning how to code, using a website builder, or hiring a developer to do the job for you. Be sure to set yourself up on Google My Business and implement SEO best practices to ensure your website sits at the top of the search results pages.
You should also start social media marketing. This is particularly good for startup freelancers as it can be done on a shoestring budget. Look into which platforms are the best to reach your market and invest some time into getting to grips with how to market yourself well on these.
Other marketing techniques to look into include:
● Blogging (and other forms of content marketing)
● Email marketing
● PPC and Paid Ad Campaigns
● Print media
Starting your journey as a freelancer is always exciting! Hopefully, these tips have given you plenty of inspiration for your tech startup and a clearer idea of what you need to get started. Be sure to check out more on Free-Work for useful guides, blogs, and resources to ensure your tech business is a roaring success.