1. Incorporate. You don’t need to hire anyone or pay legal zoom. I live in Massachusetts so I had to get an Employee Identification Number first. Get your EIN for free at:
Now you need to incorporate. You can do it here. It cost me $500. Again, no need to pay a lawyer, legal zoom, or anyone else. The people who work in the building in Boston where this happens are really nice and helpful.
2. Start a checking account for your business. You’re going to have to do this twice, once while you’re waiting for your LLC to be formed, then again afterward once the paperwork goes through.
3. Interview 10 people you know who are successful freelancers and find out what works for them and what doesn’t. Most successful freelancers want to help those starting out and most of them have some time. Expect that you will have to go to them. Some freelancers are now on staff, and they will want to talk to you because they have happy memories of freelancing.
4. Meet with your accountant. Review your assets, your obligations, and figure out how many days a year you have to work at your day rate. Then figure out how many days a month that equals. Then factor in that your first month is going to be slow. Don’t panic. You will get work.
5. Set up your book keeping on quickbooks.com. When you get work, send the invoice the day you finish. People take a long time to pay you, 30 days is fast, so there is no sense giving them a reason to delay another day or two. If you don’t want to use an online bookkeeping package, set up two folders on your desk top. One is invoices, the other is paid invoices. When you get paid, move the invoice from one folder to the other. It’s simple but it works.