3 Tips for Jumping from Freelancer Status to Small Business Owner

By Derek Goodman

Freelancing can start out as a lucrative side gig. But many independent contractors soon find that their freelance work soon scales up. If you’re ready to move into small business status, there’s a lot to know about business management, finances, and maintaining a productive workflow. Check out these tips from Hatch to upgrade your biz from freelance to small-scale company in no time.

1. Learn to DIY

When you started freelancing, you probably picked up gigs here and there to fill gaps in your schedule. But when you decide to scale up into full-time work as a business owner, there are more administrative tasks to handle.

For example, when you freelance, you might apply for open jobs or list your services on a hiring platform. But evolving into a small business model means you need to spearhead your sales and marketing efforts solo. Sure, you can grab gigs on freelancer platforms, but a better method is encouraging clients to come to you.

Set up a company website, outline your marketing goals, and start advertising your services to start up a reliable client stream that’s not reliant on any online job site. A bonus? GoDaddy’s research suggests that 79 percent of small businesses with a website feel more confident about their business’s growth potential, regardless of niche. That’s because a professional website is a vehicle for all your marketing, sales, and customer service activities.

2. Focus on Finances

Making money is the cornerstone of your business operation, but it’s not always easy to navigate the financial side of things. Staying on top of what you’re earning and spending — and ensuring you’re actually getting paid — is an essential step as a business owner.

As a new business owner, you might not have a budget for a lot of extras. But prioritizing software that suits your financial needs means you won’t miss an invoice ever again. The right software can make the process simpler, from generating customized invoices to reminding clients that they still owe. Whether you need to create invoice or tally up your income for the month, an online software suite like Quickbooks can help. Tracking your income also helps you prepare for estimated taxes and other obligations. 

And one more financial tip? Make a habit of raising your rates. Remember that the only person giving you a salary increase is you. Plus, inflation can take a toll, so get comfortable with renegotiating rates in accordance with the value you provide.

3. Do the Actual Work

Administrative tasks can easily take up a ton of your time. While they’re essential, you still need to make time to actually work. Consider setting a schedule so you don’t work on the business’s back end so much that you neglect the nuts and bolts.

One way to ensure you dedicate fruitful hours to your craft is by carving out a comfortable work area. If you don’t have the space for a home office, explore coworking spaces where you can stretch out, plug in, and get clicking.

If staying productive is a concern, try out productivity tricks like blocking off set times for checking emails and adding web blockers to your browser to self-police your surfing. Other steps like batching bigger tasks or tackling more intimidating projects first can also help your workday run more smoothly.

Becoming a business owner can sound intimidating. But with a foot in the door as a freelancer, you’re well on your way to growing your operation and building your brand. Of course, if you’re still finding it tough to work from home as a new small business owner, check out Hatch’s membership options.

Photo via Unsplash

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