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By JOE MAILLET 3,043 views

The 411 for Sole Traders: 15 Things All First Time Freelancers Need to Know

You can participate in webinars, read lots of books, and talk with Freelancers entrepreneurs about starting a new business, but nothing truly prepares you to jump into a new venture. If you’re waiting around for the “perfect time” to start your new business, you may be waiting for a very long time. That’s because there will never be a perfect time to begin selling your products or services. There’s no such thing! You just must make up your mind to do it. You’ll need to get down into the trenches, dig deep, and try your best to make your new business a success.

We have plenty of suggestions on how best to prepare for your new life as a sole trader/self-employed business owner. Good luck!

1. Buy Public Liability Insurance

Buying the proper business insurance is important. You may need certain types of business coverage to secure new projects or clients. Plus, you’ll want really good business insurance, like public liability coverage, to protect you and your business.

You can do some comparison shopping by checking out Public Liability to Australia’s website. Take a few minutes to get a public liability insurance online quote and coverage details sent right to your inbox. Or call a Public Liability Australia agent today to get your new public liability policy set up right away.

2. It’s flexible but unpredictable.

You may be looking forward to the flexibility having your own business will bring into your life. You’ll get to pick your projects and set your own schedule. Thrilling! However, you also must be aware that being a sole trader also brings an element of surprise as well. Your support staff may not always be available when you need them, your clients might demand extra time or work that you didn’t anticipate, or your customers may not always pay on time which leaves your bank account empty.

There are many unpredictable events that can pop up from day to day, so you must be prepared to handle it all with a smile.

3. Your life will be way busier.

Working a 9-to-5 job where you have little responsibility means you can leave the office on time. You can get to the gym, meet friends for cocktails, and let your boss worry about all the big stuff. Now that you’re becoming a freelancer, you are the boss that has to worry about all the big stuff. That means you may not always have an 8-hour work schedule. You may lose sleep over business finances or customer matters. You may not always have time to see your loved ones or finish a workout. Many self-employed people find it difficult to balance life and work when the business is their passion project.

4. Sleepless nights happen.

Many freelancers lose lots of sleep because they’re worried about clients, finances, products, services, competition, and other factors. Or many sole traders have sleepless nights because they are up working while the rest of the world is fast asleep. If you have deadlines to meet and projects to complete, there may be times you tuck the kids into bed and get back on your laptop.

Be prepared that you will have days like this and it’s not unusual for the self-employed!

5. Planning makes things run smoother.

You may be the type of person that does things full force and in a hurry. It’s wonderful that you know how to hustle since these qualities can definitely help your business. However, you’ve got to also slow down and sometimes plan ahead. Setting goals and developing timelines will make your work life easier. You may also find that more can be accomplished when you set a clear plan with realistic deadlines.

6. Be creative and stay focused.

The public wants to buy services and products that solve a problem. If you’re able to offer potential customers a way to make their lives better, then your business will be golden. Be creative as you market, problem solve, and manage your business. At the same time, remain focused on your anticipated outcomes as you work towards those goals which includes being focused on offering your clientele the solutions they need.

7. Don’t be afraid to delegate.

You can get really bogged down in the tiny details of your company’s administration, marketing, sales, etc. Days can easily fly by only to leave you frustrated that not enough has been accomplished. Don’t be afraid to delegate your “to do” list. Even if you need to outsource some of the work or hire staff to help you, it may be worth the financial investment. How valuable is your time?

8. Streamline your business wherever possible.

Over time you’ll find that systems you had in place no longer serve you. That’s when it’s time to switch things up or perhaps streamline altogether. Always keep an eye out for opportunities to make processes simpler. If necessary, purchase software, equipment, or other tools needed to run your business more efficiently.

9. Build a support system.

As a sole trader, you might feel very much alone sometimes. That’s why it’s key to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs, friends, family, neighbors, and others that can offer you support. There will be times you’ll need to talk through issues or share the excitement of a big sale. That’s when your support system will come in handy. Everyone needs a fan to cheer them on!

10. Self-care is a necessity.

Over time some sole traders begin to become overwhelmed by their work. Often freelancers don’t have time for basic things like visiting friends or exercising. Many entrepreneurs are busy running errands, talking with customers, and tracking their finances but don’t have “extra time” to do the basics like sleeping, relaxing, eating, or even showering. Don’t lose focus of your self-care because you’ll eventually burn out. You can only do your best when you take care of yourself.

11. Summarize your services.

Always memorize your 30-second pitch and have it ready . You always want to be ready to talk with a potential client or business partner about what you do and how you can help them.

12. Get familiar with your stats.

If you notice things aren’t selling quickly, your website isn’t getting enough traffic, your customers aren’t paying timely, then keep pushing forward. Push for what your business needs to be successful! You can’t be too patient when things aren’t going the way they should. Be aware of your statistics, your financials, your analytics, whatever measurements you can review for your business type. If you notice something odd, then investigate the reasons and find a solution.

13. Build an online buzz.

Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations are great. They can keep your business afloat. If you aren’t active online and creating a buzz through your website, blogs, and social media then you’re missing out on free, easy marketing. It’s recommended you publish new content three times per week to create momentum and build a good following. Why not maximise your opportunities by building an online audience?

14. No two days are the same.

You may be surprised by the unique events, people, and places your business will take you. Most sole traders say they never live the same day twice. Each workday is unique and can lead to growth. As an entrepreneur, you never know what may happen on any given day.

15. What if your wildest dreams come true?

You may be nervous about leaving behind your cubicle and steady employment. What if your freelance dream doesn’t work out? What if you fail? Well, that’s always a possibility but have you considered what might happen if you succeed. What if your wildest dreams came true and you were a total success?

You may find that you really enjoy being a freelancer despite some of the challenges you’ll face.

Joe Maillet

Joe Maillet is an avid reader and a writer by heart. He is an author, freelance writer and a contributor writer, who write articles and blogs for various leading online media publications and for CEO and entrepreneurs from across the world. He keeps himself updated with the latest marketing trends and always recognized in the industry for providing solutions to B2B and B2C businesses.