The year was 2004, and I had just graduated from college...
I had the skills, a brand new computer, and a plan to be my own boss. Basically, be a superstar freelance graphic and web designer.
Easy enough, right?
At the time I thought so.
I had no idea...
I was missing the crucial key to being a successful freelancer. That was, I knew nothing about business.
I didn’t know how to find clients or market myself. I didn’t know if I should be registered as a sole proprietor or a corporation. I didn’t know if I needed to collect tax. I didn’t even know how to create a proper business proposal or if I needed a contract.
There was no shortage of things I did not know.
After 5-6 months of making peanuts, I packed it in and found my first design job working for someone else.
I’ve learned a lot since then.
Now in my thirties it’s easy to see all the things I should have done. Unfortunately at the time it wasn’t so obvious.
If you’re just starting out - or thinking about making the move to start working for yourself - here are four things to help you get started.
1. Find a Mentor
Having someone that has walked the path already (and can give you good advice) can be key for advancing by leaps and bounds.
(Note: Choose wisely. The wrong person can have the reverse affect.)
2. Read the book 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad'
Seriously, read it. No other book has had the impact on me that this book did. It completely changed my perspective on money, how it works, and how little I actually knew about it.
3. Subscribe to business and industry-related Podcasts
During the past few years I’ve learned a ton about business, marketing, new technology/techniques and more, from Podcasts. The best part is I can put my headphones on and take it all in while I work.
(Note: This wasn’t really an option back in 2004 - but it is now and that’s what counts)
4. Get out and talk to people
Again, this may seem obvious… but I didn’t do it. I’m far more of an introvert than an extrovert so I naturally avoided networking. I spent too much time thinking people would just find me instead of getting off my butt. Join your local chamber of commerce or start knocking on doors. The more you talk, the more opportunity you create for yourself.
But wait… there’s more.
This is really just scratching the surface. Even today, not a day goes by where I don’t learn something new.
If you’re looking to start a business or are struggling to get make things work, take action on these four steps and I guarantee you’ll get on track.
PS. If you know someone with a Delorean be sure to let me know… my younger self needs to know this.