Many freelancers start their business on a shoestring budget. For many, a simple spreadsheet is their only accounting tool because that is all that they can really afford at first.
For the freelancer who understands basic accounting and bookkeeping principles, a spreadsheet may actually be sufficient — at least initially. For the freelancer who has no background in accounting and no interest in learning, however, handling the accounting side of the business with nothing more than a spreadsheet can be frustrating.
We rarely like to admit our mistakes, but if we fail to admit them and learn from them then they’re likely to be repeated. In this article I want to admit some of my mistakes to you, and share my experience so that you can avoid making them.
My journey has taken me from the highs of doing what I love every day to the lows of chasing monthly payments and then back again. To say that my journey has followed the typical freelance rollercoaster would be an understatement.
Making mistakes along the way is a big part of freelancing, though, and I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that these failures and mistakes help to make your business successful and teach you a lot along the way.
Today I want to share four that I’ve personally had to learn to avoid, and it is my hope that in sharing these you can avoid them yourself without having to go through them first.
The very word can strike fear and excitement into the heart of even the seasoned entrepreneur.
“What is the competition doing?”
“How competitive are we?”
“How can we beat the competition?”
These are all questions that every businessperson wonders at one time or another. There’s no doubt that a freelancing business must be competitive in order to survive.
But, what does being competitive really mean?
In these open threads on FreelanceFolder we like to discuss some of the very basic areas of freelancing that matter to you guys on a daily basis.
Take, for example, answering the phone.
What seems like a simple part of every freelancer’s day can actually be quite complex in practice. Do you use a cell phone or a land line? Do you have a number dedicated to business, or just a catch-all line? Do you use call forwarding? How about an 800 number? How do you deal with voicemail?
Figuring out how to handle the phone is not only daunting for a new freelancer, but it can also have a significant impact on the way more experienced freelancers do business. A good telephone strategy combined with the right technology can offer huge time savings and other benefits for the freelancer, whereas a bad setup can hold your business back.
So let’s compare notes and figure out the best way to do things. Share your answers to the following questions:
- What’s your overall system for handling the phone?
- Do you use any special software or tools?
- Cell phone or land line? Is it dedicated to your business?
- Do you use call-forwarding or an 800 number?
- What tips or tricks have you learned for managing the phone?
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