I finally have a website for my editing business. I’ve been working through a freelance jobs site and have gotten quite a bit of work and been connected with some amazing clients. I’ve enjoyed building the business so far, and now it’s time to start branching out on my own.
I’m really excited about the site and how it turned out. I’m likely still going to tweak the design a bit and I’m still working on the references section, as I won’t post a name or excerpt without permission of the author, but it’s getting there and it’s up and running. I’ve added links in the sidebar and in other locations here on the Living with Linguaphilia site.
I’m also starting to work on more local marketing – advertising with flyers or posters at local colleges and libraries, for a start. I’ve created a Facebook page for the business and I’m working on adding content, and I’m compiling a list of conventions that I’d like to attend and considering my options for booths. It’s a lot to think about and a lot to do, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
To help out anyone who’s trying to get their own business going, here’s a list of the tools I’ve found helpful for running this type of business online.
Wave: Wave is a free online app for managing your business’s finances. You can create estimates and invoices, which can be customized for your brand, send them electronically, and accept payments. I also offer PayPal as an option, but I like the one-stop aspect of this site. The fees for accepting payments are very reasonable. It can also do payroll, though I have not used that function.
HelloSign: Contracts are important for managing client expectations and making sure you get paid. HelloSign lets you upload your own contracts and request electronic signatures, which are fully legally binding these days. You can send up to three a month for free, and more with the paid service. As I have largely been operating on a freelance site with its own rules, I have not had to send more than that so far, but the monthly fees for when I need to are an entirely reasonable $15 a month ($13 if paid annually).
Insightly: I’m new to marketing and leads, so I wanted software that can help me manage my contacts and projects. I like Insightly because it’s insanely customizable and, again, free. There are paid options for more features, but for the most part the free service is all I need. It doesn’t do everything I want, though, so I am on the lookout for a better option.
MailChimp: I haven’t used MailChimp for my freelance business yet, but I use it for the theatre. It lets you have up to 1200 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails per month for free. In the future, I hope to create a monthly or quarterly newsletter with helpful tips for my clients as a reminder that my services are available. You can create attractive emails with graphics, save templates, and manage email lists. It’s pretty thorough.
Freelancers Union: The Freelancers Union is a growing platform created to help freelancers get paid and deal with legalities. They have sample clauses and information on how to deal with contracts and non-paying clients. It’s currently free to join, and members have access to insurance, discounts, and other benefits.
Fiverr: I’m currently doing freelance work through Fiverr. It’s not bad, and I’ve gotten a lot of clients through it. There are issues, though, the first being that they take a 20% commission. Pricing tends to be on the low side, and you have to kind of work with that, too. It helped me get started, and I’m still using it, but it’s definitely time to transition to my own site.
I’m still looking for a scheduling app or calendar app that lets me add multi-day projects and keeps track of the details. Google calendar is decent, but I’m looking for a little more.
I’m loving having my own business, and I hope that some of these services help you, too. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about my experiences up to this point, and I’d love to hear about your experiences and suggestions. See you in the comments!