Freelancing used to be a bit taboo, and people mostly considered it code for “unemployed.” Today, however, around 35% of the workforce is made up of freelancers. If you fall into this category but would like to turn your side gigs into a full-time business, you’re not alone. Many small business owners started as freelancers and are now enjoying the success they deserve. Here are ten quick tips to help you transition from a part-time freelancer to a full-time business owner.
10 Ways to Turn Your Freelance Efforts Into an Enterprise
1. Outline your goals
First and perhaps most importantly, know your goals. Write down what you want. For example, do you need to earn X amount of dollars to replace a full-time income? Or, do you want to turn your freelance skills into a business for more time off with your family?
2. Define your niche
Many of the most successful businesses have a niche. This means that your core function caters to a specific need. For example, if you are an artist, you’ll want to describe what that means for your business. Do you want to paint murals? Are you more interested in high-end commissions? It is not simply enough to say what you do; you have to be very specific.
3. Know your target clients
Creating your niche also means being able to define your target clients. Even companies as large as Amazon know their audience. The IO Technologies blog explains that audience segmentation separates people by tiny details. One example the blog uses is football fans that watch live updates and want to be notified about tickets and events. That seems pretty specific, but it makes marketing much easier.
4. Gather your equipment
As a freelancer, you likely already had most of what you needed to at least get your projects completed. When you are ready to launch as a business, it might be time to upgrade. A few things to consider — particularly if you plan to run your business from home — include an additional monitor (the larger, the better) and a headset so that you can either control your computer with your voice or take phone calls and Zoom meetings with the best possible audio.
5. Launch a website
All businesses these days need a website to be relevant. If you don’t already have one, buy and register your domain name, and then find a web development company that can get you up and running. While you don’t necessarily have to have an online shopping cart, do (at minimum) have a portfolio to showcase to potential clients.
6. Figure out your funding
If you need money to get your business up and running, start researching available lending options now. While you can certainly use your savings, you do not want to put your family in dire economic straits. Remember, chances are good that you won’t turn a profit right away — MasterCard Biz explains this can take up to four years.
7. Legally incorporate your business
Register your company as an LLC or other type of business structure before you get started. Not only will this help legitimize your business, but forming an LLC can also safeguard your personal assets.
8. Hire the right team
Many businesses these days operate on a remote work platform. This is great because it lowers overhead and can give you access to the right people for your business who may not live locally. Don’t just hire the first applicants for each position. Make sure to read each resume thoroughly. Hire individuals that complement one another and who bring both experience and enthusiasm to your organization.
9. Stay consistent
Consistency is crucial in all business endeavors. Imagine if Amazon routinely missed its two-day delivery promise. People would complain and may start using other services that offered the same. Stay consistent as you grow so that your customers know they can always count on you for quality service.
10. Know the competition
No matter what you do, there is always competition. Get to know them by performing a competitive market analysis. Campaign Creators explains that you need to start by gathering information, such as what products and services they offer and how they compare to you in terms of price, value, and customer service.
It would be almost impossible to list all of the nuances of starting a business on a single blog post. But the tips above are a few things many business owners forget. Keep these tips in mind as you move from freelancer to entrepreneur, and you’ll be that much closer to reaching your professional goals.
About the Author: Lance Cody-Valdez, free-lance-now.com