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This is Day 1 of 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Business (Or Make Yours A Better One). Every day, we will focus on a specific task you should carry out in order to start a profitable freelancing business. Even though this series lasts 31 days, feel free to go at your own pace. And if you’re already freelancing, it still helps to go through these tasks again. You’ll find ways to improve and make your existing freelancing business even more profitable and more enjoyable than it is. I’ll be doing it with you!
So you’ve decided to start freelancing. Congratulations! It’s a leap of faith, whether you were thrust into it by a lay-off, or it’s a dream you’ve had for years.
Either way, it pays to start right. And let’s begin with YOU.
What Can You Do, Exactly?
Begin by making a list of all your skills. Grab a big, blank sheet of paper and a pen or pencil and just list down each and every thing you can do.
Don’t think about this too much. This is similar to a brainstorming exercise where you don’t edit, evaluate or judge any of your ideas yet. The only criterion is that everything you write should be something you can do – a skill you already have in your field. So please don’t include your hobbies here, unless you want to freelance in that area!
Don’t think about whether you’re good at it, enjoy doing it, or think there’s a demand for it.
Think of skills you picked up while you were employed. Things you have formally studied or trained for. And don’t forget skills in your field that you learned on your own.
Write until you can’t think of anything more. And then ask your friends and family what they think you can do (again, not what you’re good at but what you can already do). Stop only when you’re sure you’ve exhausted all the possibilities.
Should you write on paper or the computer? Use what works for you best. Personally, I brainstorm much more effectively with paper and pen, preferably a very large and very blank sheet of paper. Otherwise, it feels like the lines on the paper constrain my thoughts.
But that might not be the case for you. Maybe your brain gets cranked up when you’re in front of your computer screen. If that’s the case, then type your list onto your computer.
Now We Analyze
After completing your list, you may want to take a break before moving into the next part of today’s task: analyzing your skills.
Now is the time to look at your skills and decide:
- which skills are you really good at?
- which skills do you enjoy doing most?
- which skills are in high demand?
Ideally, you’ll identify a few skills that fit all three descriptions, as represented by the middle portion of the graphic below, where all three circles overlap.
Don’t worry too much about the third item yet (demand). You’ll be going back to that on a later date, when you find out what your target clients want.
I suggest you transfer your list of skills into a matrix like this:
Again, don’t over-think this exercise. The important thing is to be both thorough and honest.
Today’s exercise will be one of your bases for putting together your service packages. But don’t get ahead of yourself. We’ll be taking things one step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Relax and enjoy the exercises. Because if you’re not having fun, then what’s freelancing for?
PS: If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below.
photo credit: Crystl