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Lessons Every Freelancer Or Start-Up Should Know

Business Tips And Advice

Very rarely am I asked how I started Hale Associations or what drove me to that decision. I was actually asked that today in an interview, so I thought I would write an article on it. When I started thinking, starting a new business is a big deal. Of course it is, but when I first started, I never knew how far it would go. I always hope for the best, but until you hit the ground running, you just never know.

Like many people who build start-ups or make money online, I started out as a freelancer. I started out as a writer, over 16 years ago. At this time in my life, I had no idea what I wanted to be. I took my Business Management courses online and that is when I began to become interested in Web Development.

When I started working online as a freelancer, I was working two other jobs. Not to save money up to start a business, rather I was doing this to pay the bills. I was tired of working for small wages, so I started researching Web Development and SEO. I wanted to be the boss, “don’t we all.” I wanted to make my own path in life and I’ve been blessed to do so.

Making Time For Your Freelance Business

I learned a lot of valuable lessons in the past decade or so. At some point and time, you’re going to come to the point when your start-up business needs your full attention. This is going to be a big decision. Leaving a steady job that pays is never easy, but the time will come for some of you. Scary actually. It was for me. I had thought about it for more then a month, but I could no longer be in three places at once. If I wanted my business to be successful, I had to give it my full attention.

Keep A Healthy Schedule

When I first started out, I wasn’t prepared as I should have been. If you’re starting a business or starting out as a freelancer, you need to have a game plan. It doesn’t have to be a detailed 50 page report but you need some of the basics covered. I was committing 16 hours a day, seven days a week to my business at first. Sure, you can get a lot done, but you’ll eventually wear out. I would suggest that you treat your job as a real job, make a schedule and stick to it. Get up at 7 in the morning and make sure you call it quits at 5 or 7 in the evening. Any schedule that you want, as long as you make an effort to follow it.

Invest In Software And Tools

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Web Developer, Programmer, SEO, Social Marketer, make sure you invest in the proper tools and software. Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are great, but you need to be able to track everything for your clients. Make an effort to do all you can for your clients. I know you only get budgeted for so many hours, but going that extra mile for a client can pay for itself. Starting out, the last thing you need is a bad client review or bad viral social signals, anything negative with your name attached to it. You should try to avoid that if possible. You can’t block every bad review or outcome, it happens and it’s part of the process. If you follow these steps though, you’ll see less bad and more good.

Continue To Learn And Prosper

Hale Associations is a few years old now, I now have over 16 years under my belt and I’m still learning. I started out as a freelance writer, spent years writing before I began to work in SEO and marketing. When you’re in web development, marketing, SEO and other online niches, the environment is always changing. You have to make a great effort to stay on top, to continue to provide premium services. The point, “never stop learning” and “never quit improving.” Keep this attitude in everything you do. Practice makes perfect, the more you do it, the better you’ll become. You should want to be the best. Learn from the best, learn the tricks of the trade and become dedicated to being better. If you read this article and leave with anything, let it be that.

Testing And Case Studies

Testing is critical in everything. Test, test and test again. You need to understand code if you’re a developer, you need to understand analytics and data if you’re a SEO or marketer. Case studies are worth every second you invest in it. You have to make your time count. I use to waste a lot of time in my early career. Again, I wish I had followed a schedule earlier in my career. Knowing how your changes will affect any given element is important. Keep all your case studies, even if you don’t publish them for others.

Revenue And Investments

Every business has to make money and invest if you want to grow and be successful. If you’re a freelancer or start-up business, you can only work so much. At some point, you’re going to need to hire help. This can be a critical junction in your business. Once you start building clients and business, reinvest that money back into your business. Upgrade your software, automate your business or hire help. Anything that can make your job easier or more efficient.

Some of you may be running online stores. You may want to take your revenue and invest in PPC advertising or you may want to add more inventory. It all depends on the nature of your business. We’re discussing web freelancers, but you my have an ecommerce platform that you depend on. Just wanted to throw that in there.

The Path To Success

The path to success can take you on a wild journey. This is how you learn though. If you put the hard work in, you can prosper and your life as a freelancer can lead you to big opportunities. Same to you all that own your business. Never stop improving, don’t be afraid to take risk, it can lead to great rewards. Make sure you always keep business funds and personal funds separated.

I’ve seen a lot in the last 16 years. I started out as a freelance writer. Today, I own a business, have stakes in other businesses, have multiple partnerships with other companies and I’ve worked for Fortune 500 companies. I’m a proud father and business owner. I’ve been dedicated to learning and I still learn today. You can go as far as you’re willing to go. These are the same steps that led me to where I am today. Stay focused, put in the work and you’ll reap the benefits later. It will likely take years to get there, some of you may get there in a few months. No matter what, learn as much as you can. The opportunities will be there for you to grasp.


Richard Hale is the Founder of Hale Associations, a company that provides Web Development, SEO and Marketing services globally.