Freelancers: Turn Your Work Into a Successful Small Business Using These Helpful Tips
By Lisa Walker
The Chronicle News-Stock Photo
In 2019, Fast Company reported that freelancers made up 35% of the U.S. workforce. The continued expansion of the gig economy — as well as work-from-home opportunities — has likely increased this figure even further.
While the pandemic has brought added work to some freelancers, many who work with small business owners still face losing clients due to financial hardship. Additionally, opportunities to find new clients through networking are few and far between.
One solution to this problem is to transition from freelancer to small business owner. As a business owner, it is easier to reach a wider audience and to promote one’s services online. It is also an excellent way to boost credibility and to further expand service offerings.
If you are a freelancer who has been considering opening a small business, we offer the following tips to help you achieve success as soon as possible.
Start with a brainstorming session
Before making the leap from freelancer to business owner, you need to establish the basics. To facilitate this process, schedule an in-depth brainstorming session.
At this stage, you’ll need to decide what services you want to offer, the name of your business, service pricing, and so on. According to Inc. Magazine, it is also beneficial to create short and long-term business goals. Depending on how much you’ve thought about opening a business to this point, you may need to schedule additional brainstorming sessions to clarify all of the important points.
When brainstorming, don’t limit your ideas. Write down everything, and let the creativity flow. One of the best aspects of being a freelancer-turned-business owner is that you get to make all of the decisions. There is no one who will be judging your ideas, or who will get the final say. Get all of your ideas out of your head and on to paper, and make changes later on.
Expand your business knowledge
You’re an expert in your industry, but you likely have little (or no) formal business education/experience — which is totally ok!
Consider enrolling in an online MBA program to learn more about how to thrive in the business world. These programs are flexible enough to fit any schedule and will build your knowledge of leadership, business strategy, management theory, and self-awareness. The best part is that you don’t have to wait until you graduate from the program to start your new business endeavor. Taking classes concurrently will give you the ability to build your firsthand experience alongside your education.
Enlist the help of other freelancers and local business owners
Arguably, the most exciting part of building your business is the creative work. This is the stage where you’ll begin to see your vision take on a tangible form. While you will be able to handle some elements on your own (depending on your skillset), you will need the help of others to create a professional and credible image.
Enlist the help of fellow freelancers and small business owners to create various pieces of your brand. Hire experts to build your website, design your logo, take all needed pictures, and write your website/social media content. Utilizing the skills of other freelancers and business owners will not only support local creatives and the local economy, but it will also give you a more custom experience.
Set a launch date and start promoting
Once you have all elements in place, it’s time to choose a launch date. Consider what commitments you currently have while selecting your grand opening. After settling these details, it is time to promote your business. Create social media pages (such as a Facebook and Instagram business page), change your work details on LinkedIn, run ads, and begin networking with local professionals. Getting the word out before you launch will increase your chances of signing new clients from day one.
The decision to open a business can be a challenging one. With so much to do and learn, the thought alone can be intimidating. But for freelancers who are looking to grow and expand their client base, starting a business can be one of the best career decisions they will ever make.