By Katie Conroy, Advicemine.com
People take up freelance careers for a variety of reasons. It could be as a way to support themselves between jobs, as a part-time source of extra cash, or as a way to build freedom into their lives while still generating an income.
If you find you’re making a successful go of your side gig and you enjoy the work you’re doing, it might be time to turn your freelancing into a full-scale small business. Freelancing before you start a small business is a good way to test the marketability of your product or service and give you a feel for turning it into your prime endeavor.
Here are helpful tips as you undergo the transition from freelancer to business owner.
Evaluate the Market
It’s important to understand the local market and make sure there’s a consistent demand for your products or services. This can be done by conducting market research. You’ll also want to ensure you’re charging appropriate and competitive rates, both for the purpose of retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. Writing a business and marketing plan can help you examine the fine points of business ownership and assess the new costs you’ll incur, as well as what you’ll face with licensing, insurance and regulatory red tape.
Small Business Startup Basics
Depending on the type of small business you plan to operate, you could work from home or rent office space or co-working space as necessary. To find out what type of regulations you need to follow in South Carolina, start the state’s website for Licenses, Permits, and Registration. Remember, there is no statewide business license in South Carolina. Business Licenses are local government licenses, issued by the incorporated towns, cities and counties. Click here for a county-by-county list of County Economic Development Websites.
You should also consider forming a legal business entity to protect yourself and limit your liability. Don’t forget to factor in standard startup needs, such as essential office equipment like a computer, printer, scanner and other necessities.
Marketing Your Business
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, chances are you can build on a number of contacts, existing clients and connections. Asking for referral business from existing and past customers, as well as friends, family and colleagues, is key. Also, consider joining business or industry organizations that will give you the chance to network and promote your business. This can be an excellent way to expand operations. A website, social media presence and email campaign are other cost-effective ways to launch.
Taxes, Payroll, Paperwork
The paperwork side of running a business is time-consuming. But you want to get paid for your work in a timely fashion, and this means being diligent about invoicing. This doesn’t have to be a monumental undertaking. Save time and avoid manual invoicing through an online invoice maker. These generators make it easy to customize, distribute and track invoices as well as what you’re owed. Easily modified templates make it easy to add your necessary business information, and you can effortlessly merge your invoicing with your accounting software. With good record-keeping practices, you can stay on track financially and make the process easier at tax time.
People Helping People
Increase your odds for success by making customer service a priority. Also, consider the value of being part of a small or micro-business collective. This can provide both professional working space, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with others just like you.
The 5 Types of Freelancers | Workhoppers
Learn How to Conduct Market Research | fiverr.com
Write Your Business Plan | sba.gov
20 Tips for Working From Home | PCMag