Freelancing offers many advantages. As Skill Value notes, you can set your own hours and choose who you work with. As your freelance career grows, you might consider making the move to becoming a small business owner.
This can bring added benefits, like tax breaks. While the thought of transforming your freelance gig into a legit business might seem daunting, there are many resources available to help.
You need to focus on everything from useful technology to website design guidance. This guide explains how to go from freelancer to business owner.
1: Establish your business as an official legal entity
Establish your business as an officially recognized legal entity to formally make the move from freelancer to business owner. ZenBusiness suggests a limited liability company or LLC as one option.
This will help to distinguish you as a person from your business, protecting you from potential liability issues. State regulations surrounding LLC vary, so research your local requirements before proceeding.
Once you have a formal business entity in place, it will be easier to open a business bank account. Bank of America explains that this makes it easier to separate your personal and business finances.
1: Choose a name and define your brand
When you register your official business, you will have to designate a name for it. Choose this carefully. You want a name that is distinct from other business names and that reflects your products and services. This is also an opportunity to start thinking about your brand.
As Branding Mag explains, this is all about making your business more identifiable and memorable to clients. Your brand will inform details like logo, website appearance, and social media and website content.
3: Set up your business’s digital presence
As a freelancer, you may have worked for a handful of clients. As a small business owner, you will likely want to grow operations and get more clients of your own. A digital presence can help you do this.
Start with your website. This article explains what must-have features you need for a local business website. Then, move on to social media. Opt In Monster highlights the best social media platforms for business purposes, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
4: Look for ways to raise your business profile
As mentioned, once you’ve established your freelance operations as a legitimate business entity, you will likely want to scale up. This requires attracting more clients.
American Express provides tips on how to get new customers, from building partnerships with other brands to trying direct response marketing. If you don’t have the necessary advertising and marketing expertise, trust external pros for help.
According to BigCommerce, marketing is one of the most worthwhile tasks a small business can outsource.
5: Try new technology to streamline your burgeoning business operations
When you’re going it solo as a freelancer, you don’t need much in the way of fancy project management software. As you start to grow your business and outsource tasks — or, later, bring on employees of your own — you may want to invest in some tools to streamline operations and simplify collaboration.
Project management tools like Asana allow you to assign tasks and track project progress, for instance. Check out this Tech Tip Trick guide to useful technology for entrepreneurs, from Slack to Evernote.
Making the shift from freelancer to a full-fledged entrepreneur with a business of your own may be intimidating. Don’t stress! You’ve already succeeded as a self-employed individual — that’s half the battle.
Now, you are simply taking care of some formalities that will allow you to scale up your business for even greater success.