The life of a freelancer may seem fantastic, with the ability to set your own schedule and determine your pay, but it comes with a lot of hard work. You have to find your own clients, balance their needs with your own, and ensure your own income rather than relying on a paycheck. Freelancing can be rewarding, as can owning a small business. Some people desire to one day turn their freelancing into a full-time business, but this too takes time and dedication to succeed.
There are several differences between freelancing as a job and building a business from a skill you can provide as a service. Being a freelancer implies that you look for work on your own and provide contracts for individuals or businesses. A small business owner markets their business to get customers to come to them, selling products and services for a set price. Other differences between a freelancer and small business owner include:
The freelancer must do all the work, while the business owner manages processes to create revenue streams even when they are not present.
Freelancers cater to individual client needs for each project, while business owners build products and services and sell them as is.
A freelancer’s personal reputation is most important, while a business owner builds a brand image.
A freelancer solves all of their own problems (even if they have employees or subcontractors) while a business owner allows employees to solve problems for them.
Freelancers deal directly with clients (giving them their cell phone number or email), while a business owner directs all contact through the company.
Building a business from the ground up is harder work in the beginning, but it allows more freedom than freelancing when your business becomes profitable. There are several steps you can take now to turn your freelance job into a business:
Hire a great team.
Effective teams separate small startups from successful businesses. Not only will employees help you scale your services, but they can solve the day-to-day problems while you focus on the bigger picture. You can build partnerships, manage a marketing campaign, and communicate the company vision while your employees solve customer problems, answer phones, design products or complete services, and do all the other things you would have to do yourself as a freelancer.
Turn your service into a repeatable process.
Freelancers have to perform services themselves, while a smart business owner creates processes that produce the product or service via employees, a software, a website, or another tool. Even services that require human finesse, such as custom web design, can be automated with a team of competent designers and customer service staff.
Separate yourself from your brand.
A freelancer solicits for business, while a business owner markets their company to attract clients. Instead of approaching clients and asking them what they need, build a brand and attract customers who need your set of products or services (this is the difference between business marketing and sales as a freelancer). Turn your personal brand into a business brand, so that people don’t approach you directly for your service.
If you’re ready to turn your side gig into a real business, contact me to learn about my coaching options. I can help you build your business from scratch, and avoid the mistakes most business owners make when they first start. Get ahead and start making more today!