Becoming a freelancer is something that many people try at least once during their lifetime. It’s an appealing situation—becoming your own boss, choosing your clients, and working from home are all definite positives. But depending on how successful your freelancing career is, you may want to consider actually starting a business at some point. You may want to go from freelancer to founder.
Though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavour, it can actually benefit you in many different ways. Take a look at this post to see when you should consider turning your freelancing life into an actual business, including what types of businesses you can choose from, and what you will need to get started.
When Should I go from Freelancer to Entrepreneur?
The biggest difference between a freelancer and a business owner is that a freelancer works under their own name, with no office location or employees. A freelancer works for clients and may subcontract work to other freelancers on occasion. An entrepreneur builds a business by hiring employees, developing products, and registering a company.
You should consider switching from being a freelancer to founder if:
- You want to be able to provide services in multiple areas within an industry.
- You have a product or service that may perform better as part of a business.
- You would like to have a business name that is not your personal name (such as Content Queens Communications Inc.).
- You wish to hire employees to assist with the workload as opposed to contractors.
- You would like to build a business based on a partnership or an investment.
- You are in high-demand with clients.
- Your clients consistently request other services.
What Type of Business do I Need?
There are a few different types of businesses out there, and which is right for you depends entirely on your goals and preferences. Most freelancers who wish to transition to a company should either start with a sole proprietorship or a partnership.
A sole proprietorship is when you, as an entrepreneur, start a business as the sole owner. That means that you are responsible for all aspects of the business, including debts and liabilities.
A partnership is when you and another individual (or more) all wish to be co-owners of a business. The percentage of your ownership can vary based on your capital contribution. You and your partner(s) share responsibility for the company.
While you might have big dreams to start a thriving corporation down the road, starting out small will help you to scale your business while still giving you the time you need to grow.
Where Do I Start?
After you make the decision to start a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you’ll need to get a few basic things in order, such as:
- Choosing a business name and web domain.
- Learning what your startup costs will be.
- Talking to your local government to find the registration process.
- Creating a Partnership Agreement and Business Plan, if necessary.
If you are going from freelancing to starting a sole proprietorship, you likely won’t require a lot of funding to start. However, if you plan on expanding by offering products or in-office services, you will need to consider what that will cost and how you will pay for it.
When building a business, it is best to scale conservatively, so don’t worry about hiring all of your employees at once, or about having the most expensive or trendy office space. You need to create a business model that provides you with repeatable income first, and the only way to do that is to spend every penny wisely.
What Basics do I Need to get Started?
Once you have planned out your business and decided on the perfect name, you can get involved in some of the more creative aspects of your business. Before your official launch, take some time to consider whether you want or need any of the following:
Business profiles on social media. You can start with the most common, such as Facebook and Twitter, and expand down the road if need be. Match the platforms to your industry so you don’t waste time building audiences on platforms that won’t provide you with any benefit.
Website. Virtually every business has a website. Whether it’s a simple one-page site with a summary of services, or a large, multi-page e-commerce site, your customers will expect you to have some kind of online presence.
Business email addresses. This might seem like a small thing, but having a business email that matches your domain name adds validity to your business. It will also help you to organize your professional communications down the road.
Business cards. These will definitely come in handy when you start networking, and they are perfect for referrals, as per this post. You can also get them for relatively cheap, depending on your taste, so it’s a small investment that could provide you with a lot of positives.
Logos. The visual aspect of your business is what makes the biggest first impression on your potential clients. A simple logo can go a long way in adding to your site, business cards, and brand presence.
Consultants. Chances are that your clients may end up wanting services that go beyond your skills, so it’s probably a good idea to meet a few consultants and add them to your roster. This could include designers, writers, editors, web developers, marketing professionals, or others.
Taking the First Step
Starting your journey as a freelancer is hard enough, but once you have a solid foundation, don’t limit yourself. You can still grow your business as a professional without having to invest a large amount of money. As long as you scale slowly and adjust your goals according to your performance, you could end up building a successful and lasting business that could benefit you and yours for years to come.
Are you planning to go from being a freelancer to a founder? What prompted you to go ahead?
This post was written by Brittany Foster, a Marketing Writer for LawDepot.