Many questions could be asked about the differences concerning employees, revenue, policies and processes, but how do you really know when it is time to take the next step? How do you know when to grow your small freelancing single proprietor business into something larger?
In this post, I’ll address that question and provide a few insights based on my experience.
As a freelancer myself, I have found it difficult to find a solid source for income. It almost seems that if it weren’t for working for smaller companies, and even putting my all into a specific company to help it grow and secure a position for myself in the near future, that I wouldn’t have made it this far.
I recently made the move to start my own business called 66Thieves, which is a small clothing company online (part of a corporation called GeekSuite, Inc.). This move was one of my first attempts at securing something and setting something up for myself to grow on and work with in the future.
After all, a bit of extra income never hurt anyone, and it’s a great idea to have a side project to work with and to use to expand your skillset.
But, if you are a large freelancer, how are you to know that it’s time to move forward?
Questions to Ask Before You Expand Your Business
There are a few things to think about before taking that extra step to advance your freelancing career and to transform yourself into a small business.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How has your workload recently been? Steady? Have you been forced to turn away business due to the simple lack of time and energy?
- Are you finding that even the simple tasks such as working through your emails on a daily basis are taking far longer than they used to?
- Are updates and simple tech support getting a bit too much to handle with all your recent and past clients?
If you currently do not have a set business name and are working under your personal name, it’s time to start thinking of that as your next step.
Follow additional simple procedures such as:
- Set up a business name
- Write a business plan
- Register as a corporation or get a business license
- Apply for a business loan
If your revenue isn’t steady, it might be wise to consider a small business loan to offset payments from clients to pay your current development team.
Moving on from freelancing to becoming a small business takes work and further business planning. A good start is to sit down with a business lawyer to discuss the details. Be sure to also develop your business plan.
When Is It Time to Delegate?
Wearing all the hats that are required for a successful freelancing business can sometimes get to be very difficult, time-consuming, stressful and just overall exhausting. Eventually doing everything yourself can lead to burnout.
Being able to outsource work to other trusted freelancers as constant contractors who can be trusted with day-to-day activities such as tech support, small project management, hosting management, sales, and more could be the first step towards expanding your business into a larger entity. Eventually, these contract workers might even become your full-time employees, working for your newly registered business.
What About Your Clients?
You also need to change your client expectations to the next level as you grow. You may also want to expand your client base from small businesses to larger corporations or associations as part of your direction.
Remember that processes with your current team should be ironed out to ensure that all projects are worked on efficiently now. This step will help to ensure that when you land a large client, that they are 100% happy with the work done.
Really, I could sit here and write about many more things that it takes, or could take, to move things forward for a small freelancer. But, this transformation is still new to me. I am just taking these steps myself, but maybe it’s good to start thinking about the future beforehand.
What would your first five steps be to move your freelancing business forward?
Image by b0r0da