Freelancing for me has always been about maintaining professional autonomy and being my own boss; sometimes, even now, I have clients referring to me as "the freelancer", which doesn't sit right with me; it makes me feel like I am by my own - when I have a whole team.
Looking to grow your career and increase financial stability?
Like many of you, I don’t consider my services to belong exclusively to any one person or company - I’m in business for myself and want to be seen as a peer and collaborator. Some might say this is just the nature of working as a freelancer — clients expecting you to be at their beck and call regardless of the fact that we work more than one gig at a time to maintain that revolving door of work. Still, the moniker of a freelancer is very sticky and depends on your vision of the future, if you want to take your earning potential and clientele to the next level you may want to consider your move to starting your own small business.
The Difference between a freelancer and a business owner
In the digital media space it’s easy to confuse and lump together the terms freelancer and business owner — so what is the difference?
The main difference between the two is that a freelancer and their business are one in the same, with no freelancer there is no business; whereas in a small business the owner creates processes, delegates tasks to employees and turns services into products, the entity still exists outside of the entrepreneur.
While managing your own small business comes with extra responsibilities and liabilities, it’s appealing for some freelancers because it creates the opportunity to scale up operations. Every freelancer faces the same problem — labour and time shortage. A freelancer’s success and productivity are based purely on their own output, which becomes a barrier for many of us at one time or another. We’ve all felt the pain of having to turn down a client because of our already-stacked workload. It’s for this reason many freelancers are turning towards opening their own business, giving them the ability to outsource labour and projects to other team members.
Which is the right business model for you?
Now that we’re on the same page regarding the contrast between these two work models, are you still wondering which one is right for your current stage of your professional career?
To answer that question you’ll need to take a hard look at your circumstances, the right decision will be heavily dependent on how successful you’ve been as a freelancer. Your growth as a freelancer will be a key indicator as to whether you could sustain a small business. If you find yourself having to outsource to other freelancers just to cover your current workload it may be a sign that you could build a bigger business than just yourself.
Another important aspect of building a successful business is cultivating a distinct brand that distinguishes you from the competition. It takes time and effort to build a brand - it requires consistency and a detailed plan - but successful freelancers have a distinct advantage but many of us have built a recurring client base that can serve as the foundation of your small business.
Freelancers are workers of the world. It's one of the great things about the lifestyle, never being bound to one geographical location or time zone, the ability to work with like-minded professionals across the globe. When making the big decision of freelance vs small business, it’s important to consider that some countries are more freelancer friendly. In Australia, for example, the term “sole trader” is quite significant and well regarded. On the contrary, some countries are less desirable to be a freelancer due to poor internet infrastructure and high-income taxes for self-employed people, so we advise paying close attention to these nuances when choosing where to work from!
Start a Business Plan, and Seek Advice
So you’ve decided to move on from freelancing and start your own business, congratulations! You’ve already made it this far as a successful freelancer so you probably already have many of the ingredients of a successful business owner. The first thing you’ll want to do is formulate a clear business plan that makes sense, sets clear goals, and describes how things will be different from your freelancing.
You started your own business because you want to operate at a higher level of management with employees who share your mission to collaborate with and grow the business further. To accomplish this you’ll need to consider how many employees you need, how much work you can bring in, and what your level of involvement will be in the day to day tasks for client work — remember, you started your own business because you want to delegate, not be a one-person operation.
Bringing in new clients is the lifeblood of any growing business. With a background in freelancing you might already be an expert at getting clients in the door and bringing their visions to life, a skill that will serve you well in your new venture. An important factor in bringing new clients in is to have prices that don’t exclude small businesses like your own. As freelancers we’ve all experienced bartering over prices for what we already feel is a fairly priced service or product, it might even be the final straw that made you open a small business after freelancing. If you find yourself struggling to find paying clients, it might be a sign you need to rethink your prices. I’m certain that all of us have accepted work for less pay than we feel is fair, but it’s a great way to make connections and show off exactly why your services are worth more.
Use digital tools like Wippli to streamline your workload
Take a second to think about how your workflows have transformed in recent years due to new technology and apps. The way you worked 5 years ago is probably unrecognisable from today, and I’d wager it’s for the better as technology has created the digital workplaces we’re enjoying today.
Yet with all these advancements it sometimes feels like there hasn’t been a great tool for remote workers, freelancers, and small businesses, until now. Enter Wippli, a great new smart platform designed to help people do a better job, easily, while improving global and remote interactions; with a vision to disrupt the digital collaboration ecosystem and to become the gold standard for Project Management and smart workflows.
Wippli is for digital nomads, it's an integral part of our company blueprint. That’s why we’re committed to building a cohesive space for freelancers to connect and collaborate with each other, so if you’re freelance, Wippli will be free for you!
Not a freelancer? Wippli is designed to do all the things that various popular paid productivity tools do, and more! So you will save money on all those subscriptions just by using one cost-efficient platform, Wippli.
We’re really excited to show you everything Wippli has to offer and all the ways it can transform your digital work-life and help you prepare for all the exciting things yet to come!