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Back to Basics: How to set up your freelance business

You’ve got big goals for your freelance business.

But before you can land your dream clients, build a team, or reach a six-figure income, you need to make sure your independent business is set up properly. 

So, let’s get back to basics and focus on the essentials you need to set up your freelance business for success.

Establish your business entity

First and foremost, you can’t overlook the “business” part of your freelance business. 

One of the first things on your list of to-dos when forming your business should be to establish which business entity you want to operate as. Depending on which entity you choose to go with, your business formation is meant to protect you and your independent business both legally and financially.

From an LLC to S Corp to sole proprietor, there are several options for freelancers to explore and each come with their own pros and cons. Consider speaking to a financial or legal professional to determine which one is best for your freelance business.

Open a business bank account

Another essential item to check off early on in your process of setting up a freelance business is a business bank account. 

Whether you’ve been freelancing on the side or you’re new to being a full-time independent, it doesn’t take long to realize the importance of having a separate account for your work-related money. 

Not only does having a business bank account make it easier to track and manage your monthly income and expenses, but it can also help you make more money.

Create contracts

Running an independent business comes with a lot of responsibility — make sure you and your business are protected by creating contracts before you get involved with new clients. 

Your contracts will evolve as your business grows and you learn more about how you want to operate, so don’t feel like whatever you create right now is set in stone. But having a baseline contract that outlines general terms you want to build your business around is a great place to start. 

With solid contracts in place, you’ll feel much more confident and protected in your client relationships or if you decide to build a team down the line. 

As always, consult with a professional or an online service for help creating contracts that are legally sound!

Set up an accounting system

Whether you work with an accountant, use a bookkeeping software, or take the DIY approach, it’s wise to have a reliable way to stay on top of your finances *before* you get started.

A bookkeeping system not only helps you stay organized when it comes to managing your cash flow, but it (along with a business bank account) can help you better plan and save for your quarterly estimated taxes.

Set up a website

Now that you’ve checked off the legal and financial essentials of running your freelance business, the final step is to create a website so you can land new clients and projects.

Whether you choose to create a full website or a smaller portfolio-type website, potential clients need some place to visit to learn more about your services and experience (even if you don’t have a freelance portfolio yet). At the bare minimum, your website should make it easy to learn what you do, check out past work, and get in contact with you. 

Show off your work, highlight your offerings, and get ready to secure clients for your newly launched freelance business.


Ready to set up your freelance business?