You’ve been freelancing for a long time, perhaps many years, and now you’re asking yourself the same question that every freelancer asks at some point: can I turn this into a business and make it my full-time job?
You’re not alone in wondering this. In America, there are more than 31 million entrepreneurs running their own unique businesses. So now you may be wondering how you can do the same thing.
Are you ready to turn your freelancing gig into a full-time business? Then here are some business start-up tips to help you get going.
It all starts with you
The first step to turning your freelancing gig into a full-time job is to make sure you’re ready. Is this something you really want to do? Can you devote the time, energy, and resources necessary to do it? Is this something you can sustain long-term? If your answer to these questions is yes, then read on for more business start-up tips.
On top of knowing that you want to do it, you need to know why you want to do it. Working for money is a good reason, but in terms of sustainability, you’re going to need another reason to keep you going. This is especially true for times when the money may not be coming in.
Is it something you love to do? Are you helping people in a way that you care about deeply? Any freelancer, from writers to graphic designers, needs to have a mission that keeps them going.
Once you have these things in mind, you need to solidify your business idea. If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you probably already have one. But if you don’t, or if you want to tweak yours, there are a couple of things to consider.
First, you need to play to your strengths. If you’re really good at working with children, then do something involving kids. Second, find a market before making a decision. You want to make sure that there is a demand for your product or service, and that it will be profitable.
There are many ways to find a market. You can ask around your social circles. You can put out a survey. You could create a temporary landing page on your website, teasing what’s to come, and measure the response. You could even start an email list and see how many people sign up. All of these are business start-up tips that will help you find out if there is a profitable market for your idea.
After you’ve got your idea ready and your mission in your heart, you’re ready to move on to the next steps.
Make a plan
This is, perhaps, the most crucial of the business start-up tips. Without a plan, your idea likely will not make it far. A business plan doesn’t have to be overly complex or intimidating, but having at least a rough idea will help you greatly.
To get started, think about the essentials. Spend maybe 30 minutes sitting down and writing out ideas. What is your product or service? Who is the intended market? How will you reach these people? What kind of resources do you need?
Some of these questions will be addressed in the business start-up tips later on. But these are examples of the essential types of things you need to ask yourself.
Once you have that in place, you can spend as much time as necessary fleshing out the details. This could take a day or three weeks. It’s all up to you and how in-depth you want to get with your plan.
One of the biggest things to consider here is how you will market your business. Marketing is the key to growing your customer base and your success. For this, you could consider paying for brand marketing consulting, which would help you figure out how best to market your specific brand.
This is also the time to start thinking about money. How exactly will you make money? How can you keep it sustainable over a long period of time? You should also think about invoicing, debt collections, and how you might handle clients or consumers who don’t want to pay.
Lastly, give yourself measurable goals. If you have something concrete to work towards, you will have a better sense of what you need to do.
Location, location, location
Now, it’s time to ask yourself one of the biggest questions: do you need a physical location for your business? If you work from home and won’t need one, like if you’re a writer, for example, then you can skip this section. But if you think you might need a physical office or warehouse, here are some business start-up tips for that.
If you sell any type of physical product and you want to turn this into a full-time job, you’re likely going to need warehouse services. Having one place to store all your products will help ensure that you never run out and that everything stays organized.
You should also consider whether you need an office. Do you need a place to see clients regularly? Will you have employees who would benefit from being in the same place? Do you need a place to work that’s not your home? If you answer yes to any of these, you probably need a physical office.
In this stage, you also need to worry about two things: building inspection and space management systems. A building inspection is vital to making sure that you operate within the law, and that you and your potential workers stay safe.
Having a space management system will ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Consider these things: who will clean your building? How many people will work there? What kind of accommodations are there? How will the space be divided?
These are just a few more of the business start-up tips that will help your business be the best it can be.
Making it legal
This is probably the part you’re dreading the most: making your business legal. Business law may seem daunting and confusing, but don’t worry. There are some easy business start-up tips to help you out.
Firstly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Going to a law firm or some other type of consulting service can eliminate a lot of your stress. These people are professionals who know what they are doing, and they can help make sure that everything is in order.
Even with the help of a law firm, though, there are still a few things you need to consider.
Firstly, what type of business do you want to have? Doing research, and asking your consultant, can help with this. Many freelancers function perfectly as a limited liability company, or LLC. But make sure that you find the legal structure that is best for you.
Second, are you going to have employees? If the answer is yes, then you need to know how to handle them. What role will they serve, how will they appear on the payroll, and what benefits and accommodations they may need are all important considerations.
Lastly, taxes. The thing everyone hates. As a business owner, especially if you have employees, you need to make sure you stay on top of taxes. Hiring an accountant or a tax consultant wouldn’t be a bad idea– between federal, state, business, self-employment, and employee taxes, things can get confusing.
Once you get all these things in order, you should feel much more confident about the structure of your business and how you can operate it.
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for. Now that you’re all prepared, this is the most exciting of these business start-up tips: starting your business.
This can involve a lot of work, but the reward will be great. There are a lot of considerations at this point, so be prepared.
If you have a physical location, now is the time to open it. Get those shelves stocked, put your nameplate on your desk, whatever you need to do.
At the same time, if you haven’t done so already, you need to launch your website. Even if you are an in-person business, a website is crucial for any entrepreneur. It tells your potential clients or customers what you do, how you do it, and why they should come to you.
For this, make sure your website is personal. It should contain all of the vital information a prospective client might need, but it should also let them know who you are. Don’t be afraid to add some humor to it. Include a bio that talks not only about your professional qualities, but you as a person. Do you really like gardening? Throw that in there.
Little personal touches like this help you build rapport with your customers, so they feel like they know and trust you. This will keep them coming back for more, and make them more likely to recommend you to someone else.
That’s not all of the business start-up tips for your website, though. You need to keep it as simple as you can– after all, you have less than ten seconds to draw in a client’s attention. After that, they might leave your site. People have very short attention spans, so the simpler your website, the faster you can win them over.
It is also vital to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and it’s likely that that is how they will view your site. So if they pull up your site and can’t read it, it’s game over. Make sure that your website is smooth and simple on both computers and mobile devices.
If you want to accept payments on your website, make sure that it’s easy to do. Ideally, it should take no more than two clicks for your customer to make a purchase. The easier it is for them to pay, the more likely it is that they will do so.
All of this may seem daunting. You might be thinking “I have no idea how to design a website like this!” Don’t worry. There are plenty of things to help you with that. You could use a service like WordPress or Squarespace, which helps you build a quality website easily. Or, if you want a much more personalized design, you could hire a professional to build your website for you. And of course, if you know what you’re doing, you could always build the site yourself.
Once you’ve opened your building, launched your site, and cut the ribbon, it’s time for the last of these business start-up tips: advertising.
Advertise and grow your base
Now that you’ve got everything set up, the last step is to advertise your brand. This is how you will grow your base, and turn your idea into a full-time business.
You have many options here. You can pay for ads on sites like google, helping to drive traffic to your website. This is an especially good idea if you don’t have a physical location.
You can also consider going to a sign company or doing digital printing. Having high-quality fliers, posters, or ads to post around town can help draw attention to your business. As with your website, the simpler these are, the more likely they are to be effective. Digital printing can streamline this process even more.
Again, this is when you can consider brand marketing consulting. You need a marketing strategy that will work for your brand and niche, and a service like this can help you create that.
Now that you’ve read all these business start-up tips, hopefully, you feel more prepared to turn your freelancing gig into a full-time job. You know how to make a business plan, cover the legal side of things, and create a quality website.
So go out there and get going! Remember to keep your mission in mind, and stick with it even if it doesn’t work out at first. In the end, with enough hard work and planning, you can turn your freelancing gig into a full-time business that leaves you satisfied and well-paid.