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Getting Started as a Freelance Social Media Manager

Hello Queen! Are you thinking about branching out and offering freelance social media services? If so, keep reading! Throughout this blog, I'm going to provide you with a list of EVERYTHING you need to get started.

Step 1: Be SUPER clear about the services you plan to provide

Don't rush through this step. It's ultra important to have a clear outline of what services you plan to provide. Do you plan on offering Social Media Management? If so, what do those packages look like? Is content creation included? Will you outsource photography and videography? Should they expect messages and comments to be responded to over the weekend?

Get super micro thinking about every single detail of your packages, list it all out, and have the list ready to go when needed. Then create a summarized, easy-to-digest version that you can share with prospective clients or under your list of services on your website.

If your offerings are too broad it will only create confusion for both you and your client. You'll find yourself doing extra work, or your client may feel like you're not doing enough work... It's important to be transparent to avoid any friction down the road. Trust me, I've been there!

Step 2: Create your proposal template

Canva is a great place to build out your proposal templates! When putting together a proposal you'll want to include:

  • Intro - where you list the date, client name, and your name

  • About - a brief about you, services, and background. This is a great place to let your personality shine!

  • A brief outline of services - introduce and summarize all of the services you offer and their prospective slide numbers. Most viewers will scan and already have an idea of what they're looking for so make it easy for them!

  • Testimonials and/or case studies - this is huge in building trust with a prospective client from the beginning!

  • "Your approach" - this section is a great place to show how you put together content calendars, what reports look like, etc.

  • Detailed slides of each of your different services - get more detailed about each of your services, what you do and don't offer in each, etc. Again, be transparent yet use nice visuals and bullets to avoid overwhelm.

  • "What you suggest" - finally, put together a slide base on what services you suggest for the prospective client based on previous conversation (intro meetings are a good first step!) and the pricing.

  • Next steps - finish off with a nice visual of what the next steps look like, and of course, a 'Thank you'!

Keep in mind, that the viewer is likely not going to read the whole thing! Consider "scanability" and know that chances are they will skip to the "What you suggest" and "Next steps" portion of the presentation first. After that, they may skip to the slide where you detail that specific service you suggested. That intro meeting before your send the proposal is crucial! They have likely already made a decision as to whether or not they want to work with you after that meeting, after that it just comes down to cost.

Step 3: "As a social media freelancer, do I need a business license?"

The answer is 'No'. As a freelancer, you do not need a business license. However, you will need to provide each of your clients with a W-9 form and, when tax season hits, you will need to request 1099 forms from all the clients (who paid over $600) you worked with. Keep in mind, that you will likely owe a good chunk of money to the IRS so do plan accordingly! You can also break this up quarterly so it doesn't feel like a huge hit.

Step 4: The contract

1000% YES, you do need to provide a contract. No matter how much 'trust' the person you're doing business with, a contract protects BOTH you and the client.

A contract not only proves you mean "business" and handle your work professionally but it also:

  • shows a mutual understanding and agreement between you, the freelancer, and your client

  • becomes a great reference if any questions or concerns come up regarded your services and how they are being performed

  • ensures you get paid properly (don't forget to outline how late payments will be handled, and what compensation looks like for any additional work)

There are plenty of awesome contract templates available online with a quick Google search! If you have any lawyer friends or know anyone else working in your industry, you may be able to ask them for a template as well. A contract or agreement is a crucial piece you don't want to leave out!

Step 5: Business tools

Outside of setting up a website, your socials, and email, here are some other tools to help you stay organized and help you manage the "business" side of your business. You're going to want to get set up with these helpful tools to make running your business easier so you can focus on the work for your clients!

Bookkeeping and invoicing

Quickbooks is my go-to for bookkeeping. It's super easy to use and they make it super easy to collect those much-need documents when tax season comes around. You can also organize and collect payments for invoices here and track customers and leads.

I personally only use Quickbook for bookkeeping and Honeybook for invoicing and project management.

Project management

While Quickbooks offers some great project management features, I use Honeybook (yes, the name got me! lol). All inquiries through my website automatically get added to my pipeline in Honeybook and from there I can easily track when proposals were sent, contracts signed, invoices paid, etc. My clients can also access their projects where I upload any important documents like our agreements, project details, and all past invoices.

Honeybook also has a templates feature where you can save proposals, invoices, agreement templates, and more so they're easy to access and send when needed. Overall, super easy to use and stay organized!

Filing system

Where will you store all of the work you do for each client? This is important to think about! Again, you'll want to keep everything nice and organized for each client. This is where shared folders come in handy! We create and share folders for each of our clients using Google Drive. We organize everything from photos we've captured and content calendars to social strategies and reports under these folders. Our clients have complete access to these folders while working together and for up to a year if we choose to go our separate ways.

I also love to use Google Sheets for anything that needs to be tracked using a spreadsheet (such as tracking influencers) and Google Docs to share and collaborate with other people within my team or clients (such as shot lists for upcoming content shoots).

Task management

Using Asana for day-to-day task management has been a LIFE SAVER! It's the first thing I look at when I open my laptop and I'm constantly checking it throughout the day to check off new tasks and add new tasks. I include everything from content calendar due dates, follow-up reminders with clients, graphic design due dates, notes for monthly reviews, and the list goes on! ANY reminder goes here, no matter how small.

I hope you found the information in this article helpful for getting started on your new journey as a freelance social media manager! Like anything, be patient and don't be too hard on yourself. You're going to make mistakes and find yourself pivoting pretty often in the beginning and that's OK! It's all a part of the learning process.

If you find you need some additional guidance, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm working on a new consulting program for new social media managers and I'd love to help you!

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