Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Building a Freelance Career on a Budget

If you’ve just started out your freelancing career and making a pittance, the one thing you don’t want to do is give up your regular job. But how about if you’ve been laid off and are trying to make ends meet? You’ll have no extra money to spend on your freelancing career, and here’s where learning to cut costs helps. The following are five areas you can try and reduce your spending budget in:

1. Phone and net bills: Do you really need to have a landline, work phone and cell phone? Can you make do with one? If so, then give up the remaining connections, and check with your service providers to see which one will offer you the best deal. Bundling a phone and Internet connection can prove cheaper, but surprisingly, not always so. So double check to see how you can get the lowest rates possible.

2. Web hosting: You will eventually need a website to showcase your portfolio and direct clients to. Be sure to check around for some good webhosting deals before you make a decision. One such webhosting site is Bluehost, where for as little as USD 6.75 per month, you can setup and start your own site. There are no hidden fees, and a free domain is included. I’ve used them for over 2 years, and highly recommend them. If you do plan to sign on, I appreciate you going through my affiliate link here.

3. Software: You do need basic software and I use Mozilla which works really well. I also have Microsoft outlook, but you don’t need to have more than one software to begin with. MS Word is a popular choice, but it does cost a pretty package to buy and install the software. An option to consider is jarte , which is a free word processing software based on the Microsoft WordPad word processing engine.

4. Hardware: You can pick up refurbished computers, printers and even phones for a fraction of the price of a new one. Laptops especially lose value very quickly, so scout around before you rush to buy a new one.

5. Marketing: And finally, you do need to market yourself, but you don’t have to do so on a big budget. Consider setting up a free blog using Blogger or WordPress. I started my blog on Blogger, and it’s a really easy site to use. But if I had to do it again, I would use WordPress, because it’s more professional and has a lot more options. Once you’ve done this, tap into social networking sites like twitter and Facebook and use them to promote yourself. You can also design and print inexpensive business cards at VistaPrint and give them out whenever you meet someone new (even if they don’t immediately come across as being potential clients).

So there you have it- 5 great ways in which to save money and promote yourself as a freelancer.

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