Freelancing is generally a cheap business venture. You can start it at home, in your spare time and can technically do it for free, depending on what services you offer.
However, as any expanding business, you’re probably going to have to invest money in it at some point. Investing will help you in many ways, your services might be improved with better software or your web presence will look more professional and trustworthy.
You might also find yourself in the position where you want to hire someone to help you out and save you time in your business.
Whether you’re considering outsourcing or thinking of spending a bit of money on your website, here are a few ways you can keep costs down:
Setting up and maintaining your website is probably where a lot of your costs are going to go. While you can set up a free website, if you’re serious about freelancing it’s definitely worth investing. Your website is your shop front, you want it to look as professional and trustworthy as possible.
There are plenty of cheap options for hosting your website. If you sign up to a longer plan, you’ll get a better deal and have to spend less on your website in the long run. It also saves you the worry of having to renew your hosting plan. Some plans also come with a free domain for a year so you can save here also.
Themes and plugins
You could always use a free theme through WordPress, Weebly or Squarespace. However, it’s worth buying a theme or a subscription because you’re more able to customise, get a more mobile friendly website and also get regular updates. However, if you’re just starting out then a free theme is fine to use.
If you’re willing to spend some money, then Elegant Themes is a popular option. You can either pay a yearly fee or a one-off fee. With both you’ll get access to all their themes and plugins which you can use across multiple websites. Even if you cancel the subscription you can still use the themes, you just won’t get the updates, which might cause your site to malfunction.
The free option
If you really don’t want to spend anything, you can always set up a free blog with WordPress which is one of the most common platforms. This is popular for people starting out and eventually many people prefer to have their own domain, hosting and control over their website, particularly when they plan to sell things.
You can also just buy your domain and still use WordPress.com without the hassle of having to build your website if all you’re after is a blog and a place to put your contact details.
You might think, how will hiring people help keep your costs down? Well it frees you up to spend more time on the things that actually make you money, the client work. Instead of trying to work out your taxes, you could be designing a logo for a new client and actually getting paid for that time.
Hiring an accountant
If you decide to hire an accountant, find an online accountant. They’re generally cheaper and more time efficient for you because you usually don’t even have to go into their office. You can do it all online. As they’re based online, they don’t require big offices in every city like some of the bigger firms do. Therefore their costs are kept down and so are yours.
Check out our ‘Need an Accountant‘ section for further information.
Hiring a designer
You could find a freelance designer instead of using a company. You might be able to do a deal and do work in exchange for their work. You could also make a useful contact and recommend each other to clients in future.
Software and tools
For basic things like word processors, look at free options like Google Docs. For bookkeeping software, there are plenty of free options like Pandle. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on software. There are plenty of free options. There are often pro versions for you to buy once you’ve become comfortable with a free version and want to upgrade.
However, if software is an important part of your business you might have to just bite the bullet and pay it. Keeping costs down in other areas will help you afford things like Photoshop.
Social media management
Hootsuite is a popular choice and is easy to use. Best of all, it’s free with the option to upgrade to a pro version. If you want better analytics or extra features like the ability to schedule Pinterest posts, then Buffer might be a better option, but that’ll cost you.
What’s your biggest expense? Have you got any tips for keeping the costs down? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!