The Secrets of Running Multiple Freelance Businesses
Posted June 1, 2012 in Freelance Stories, Inspiration, Interviews
You have your freelance business. You’ve determined your profession, and now you’re set to go–right?
For a growing number of freelancers, one freelance business is not enough. These busy, dedicated folks operate more than one freelancing business at the same time.
How do they do it?
After all, most freelancers are already juggling many different responsibilities.
I caught up with a couple of these busy folks last week. In this post, I’ll share some of their “secrets” so that we can all learn from them.
Meet Our Multiple Freelancers
To find out more about running multiple freelance businesses, I called upon two freelancers who are actually doing it:
- Dominic runs two unique freelancing businesses: Focus Centric, Inc. (a small software development company based in Quebec) and Bunker App (a tool designed to help freelancers with time tracking, billing, and time tracking).
- Ben also runs two unique freelancing businesses: The Freelance Writer and he also operates a photography website that he is in the process of rebranding. He is currently in the process of setting up a third business.
Why Run More Than One Business?
You’re probably wondering, as I did, why anyone would want to run multiple freelance businesses. Well, each freelancer who runs more than one business probably has their own answer to that question.
Here’s what Ben told me.
“There’s nothing better than running your own business, in my opinion. I always wanted to work from myself since the moment I left school and the only way to do it is to chuck yourself into it.”
As you can tell from his response, running more than one freelancing business is not for the freelancer who isn’t driven and who doesn’t like running a business.
How to Find the Time
Those with multiple freelance businesses are driven to own their own business. But, even with that passion, time can be an issue.
Dominic and Ben both discussed time management with me when I asked about how they manage to get it all done.
- Dominic: “You have to be disciplined regarding your work schedule…It’s hard, sometimes you are tempted to put too many hours in the business that is most exciting to work on…An ultra-strict work schedule, precise time tracking, and undisturbed work sessions are key…I have lots of other freelancers who help me with tasks.”
- Ben: “I have a very supportive wife and a direct debit set up at Costa Coffee. Okay, the latter isn’t true, but having the support of my wife is…She makes sure that I separate business and personal time…This makes it easier to chuck yourself into your work.”
Making time for one freelancing business takes discipline. Finding time to develop two unique freelancing businesses takes both organization and dedication. You may even need to outsource some tasks.
Keeping Things Separate
Some freelancers with multiple businesses keep their business distinct, while others try to operate both businesses under a single brand “umbrella.”
Ben said, “I think brand image is one of the most important things in a business, and putting them (my businesses) all under one brand seems like the logical move for me. I know of people who keep their businesses separate and it involves a lot of hard work, patience, and clear management.”
In fact, branding and marketing can be a big consideration when starting a new freelancing venture.
Advice for Running Multiple Freelancing Businesses
If you’re thinking about starting a second freelancing business, you’ll want to pay close attention to the following advice:
- Dominic: “Pick a business that you’re passionate about. It’s really taxing to do two different things…Having a second business that gives you energy instead of draining you is probably the way to go. Don’t be afraid to try it (having two businesses) if it it’s something that you would like to try just do it…”
- Ben: “Plan for the unexpected. It may seem like a good idea to give 50% of your time to business A and 50% to business B, but if business A is generating twice as much work as business B, then you will have to dedicate more time to it. Another thing to remember is that as the businesses are unrelated, just because one business is successful doesn’t mean that the other will be.”
Takeaways for the Average Freelancer
The average freelancer who is thinking about starting another freelancing business should consider the following points:
- Do I have enough time to devote to another business?
- Is there another area that I’m passionate about?
- Am I organized and disciplined enough to run another business?
- Do I have the support of my family and friends?
- How will I brand a second freelancing business?
Be honest with your answers to these questions. Your honest reflection here could determine whether you succeed or fail.
Have you thought about operating another freelancing business? Why would you start one and what would it be?
Do you already run multiple freelance businesses? What are they and how are thing going?
Feel free to share your answers and experiences in the comments.
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