When you begin freelancing, you’re trying to get clients, do the work, and get organized. Once you get in a groove, though, it’s easy to find yourself in a rut. Independent work requires a frequent re-evaluation of your business and goals. At a certain point, it’s probably time to scale up your biz. This could mean committing more time to it, but it can also mean creating efficiencies that lead to more income.
Drop bad clients
New freelancers typically accept any client work they can find, which makes sense when you’re starting out. You need to establish yourself and build references. Once you’ve been freelancing for a while, though, you’ll know more about how you work and what kinds of clients you work best with. While it could seem counterintuitive to drop clients who are paying your bills, sometimes clients aren’t the right fit for your business. They can actually slow you down and not be the best use of your time. Evaluate your client base, and see if there are any clients you can cut, paving the way for better working relationships.
Refresh your online presence
When you’re more established in freelancing, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you have to offer. While you probably already have a website, it’s worth revisiting and updating the story you want to tell. Depending on your industry, you may have new portfolio work to show or services to add to your offerings page. Finally, while not required for all solopreneurs, creating a social media presence can help make connections in some industries. Keep in mind that on social media, you’re not only trying to connect with potential clients but other freelancers as well.
Connect with other freelancers
Networking with other freelancers in your industry is a great way to grow your business and find new clients. When you know other freelancers in your industry, you can pass work to each other or partner on projects — which is super common in video production. If a client requests something that isn’t your specialty, refer them to someone who can help, and they will do the same for you. Another benefit of knowing other freelancers is you can learn from them. Share best practices and favorite tools to improve your biz. Try looking into meetups in your area, or events put on by local coworking spaces.
As your business grows, you may find client requests coming in that you can’t accommodate, but saying no to a client could result in the loss of future business. Outsourcing tasks to other freelancers can allow you to grow your client base without adding hours onto the workday. Simple tasks or those you struggle with can be great options to outsource. Also, consider outsourcing non-billable jobs like setting up your website or managing your social media channels. Just be sure that you’re making the most of the time saved.
Go part-time at your day job
If the option is available to you, consider working your regular job in a part-time capacity. Freeing up more time for your side gig while maintaining the stability and structure of a traditional job can be the sweet spot for a lot of people. Or, you may find yourself preferring the freelance time, and opting to go full-time as a solopreneur. You don’t have to know your end game when you take this step, but working part-time could also be a perfect stepping stone to full-time freelance life.
Any successful business is always changing. New offerings are added, workers improve, and efficiencies are made. When you work for a company, management is tracking its growth at a high level. When you work independently in any capacity, you are responsible for continuously evaluating and updating your business. Networking (online or in-person) with other freelancers is a great way to get ideas and inspiration for scaling your side hustle. So set some goals, try new strategies, revisit those goals…and then do it again.