Taking a Freelance Career and Transforming it into a Business
Life as a freelancer offers you a great degree of flexibility, allowing you to work on what you want, when you want. As your freelance career grows, you may consider eventually transforming it into a full-fledged business. While this can sound intimidating, it offers plenty of benefits, such as simplifying your bookkeeping and offering tax perks. Here are some pointers to help you take your freelancer life to the next level.
Define your direction
Before expanding, make sure you know what direction you want to take your freelancing career. For example, consider whether you want to remain a one-person operation or are open to hiring people. You also want to consider technicalities, like what kind of business structure is right for your purposes. A career and life coach like Ed Lawrence can help you determine your goals and help you chart out the steps for achieving them.
Ramp up your client base
There are a few simple tricks you can use to grow your client list. First, gather feedback from your existing customers, including asking for reviews. This will help you improve your offering and can lead to valuable word-of-mouth marketing. Second, consider offering a free newsletter to help engage new customers. Finally, ensure your website is always up-to-date and explore ways to reach a wider audience, for instance through social media.
Invest in marketing
A way to further grow your client base is by investing in marketing tools like blogs and SEO. Whatever marketing methods you use, make sure they are branded with your unique company name and logo. A well-designed logo boosts brand awareness and creates a strong first impression. Instead of paying a graphic designer, make a custom logo using a free online tool. Just select the icon, style, and text, and personalize details like fonts and colors as needed.
Consider outsourcing work as you grow
As your client base grows, you may have trouble keeping up with the demand. At this point, it's smart to outsource certain duties. You can use work-for-hire platforms, such as Upwork, to find people who can handle everything from accounting to marketing. While you probably want to maintain control of your business' core tasks, outsourcing the administrative burden can save you time and reduce your stress.
Invest in time-management tools and other helpful technology
Efficiency is critical to any small business' success, especially as you start to scale up. You can stay on top of your tasks and work more quickly with time-management technologies. Benchmark One lists some useful tools, like Wunderlist for creating to-do lists, and Harvest for time tracking. You can also explore other helpful technologies, like project management software, chat apps, or calendar tools to simplify meeting scheduling.
Consider gaining additional credentials
If you're going to try to establish yourself as a business owner, it's critical to showcase your expertise. Being able to present people with credentials like degrees or certificates can be useful. An online program allows you to earn a bachelor's or master's degree while still working and growing your business, and attending to social obligations like family and friends. You can find a list of accredited online colleges and universities via Online U.
Grow your network
Networking is important for many reasons. Of course it's a great way to meet potential new customers, however, it's also an opportunity to meet new collaborators who could become business partners or even employees. Expanding your network also allows you to connect with entrepreneurs who can empathize with the trials and tribulations of the startup journey. You may even be able to connect with a mentor.
Transitioning from freelancer to entrepreneur can be daunting at first. Don't let fear hold you back. As we’ve shown, there are many resources available to help.