5 Easy Tips For Scaling Your Freelance Business
Working smarter, not just harder!
You may have heard an old saying, “Work smarter, not harder” which has been around since the 1930s and was first coined by American industrial engineer, Allen F. Morgenstern. Morgenstern developed the work simplification method, in which he advocated for the introduction of procedures into the industry to allow for completing a task by using the least amount of time and energy. Let’s apply it when thinking about scaling your freelance business.
For a busy freelancer working across a diverse range of assignments and commissions spending less time and energy on your business, and more on your projects, services and products and achieving a work-life balance can seem like an impossible dream. But by scaling your freelance business you can reach what seems the unimaginable goal of increasing your revenue, without increasing your costs in time or money. Working smarter, not harder!
In essence, by scaling your freelance business you want to increase your revenue, without increasing your costs or the effort you believe you must make to do so. So for that, you need to prioritise your efficiency.
Sounds simple? Well yes, of course. Unless like most freelancers, you have a range of corresponding and conflicting tasks you need to deal with on an everyday basis, that take time and effort to untangle, organise and manage. Freelancers have a particular set of limitations that impact them that large businesses don’t contend with, so what are the best strategies for making the changes necessary in scaling your freelance business?
1. MIND OVER MATTER: MIND MAPS MATTER!
Freelancers are regularly employed for their creative services and work under contract on a job-by-job basis. Often working alone or with minimal staff assisting, packing everything into one day is often a job in itself. So how can you scale an impending deadline or an overfull schedule? Mind maps are really useful tools for defining what areas of concern you need to prioritise to decide what services you can provide in what time frames, for how much and for what.
A business-work-life mind map gives you an overview of what you do, how different bits of what you do overlap or link together and where there is room for you to expand without increasing your expenditure in time, effort or money. Clarifying what are inefficient practices yet looking at the whole picture can help you refine your goals.
Developing a whole-of-life mind map gives your freelance business a framework to hang your life experience, commitments, education, ability and creativity on, while recognising the sum total of the output you can make.
2. STREAMLINING IS A SILVER LINING
Most freelancers struggle to have a continuous flow of work through the door because they have not created structures through which they can continue to market their services while already occupied with existing commissions. Streamlining the distribution of marketing material to the right people is essential to scale your freelance business.
Targeting individual potential clients is a time-consuming activity and can be streamlined by engaging with the plethora of social media platforms available for marketing. Tools such as Hootesuite have a range of functions to help you schedule and post to up to 50 social media accounts which will reduce the time taken in sharing content. Effective, timed and targeted marketing content that is enabled so it works across various different channels can be a highly efficient and cost-effective practice for freelancers. Combined with automated message services you can reply to job enquiries immediately without missing an opportunity. Freelancers know that a response time to a potential client is often crucial to winning a job.
3. THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Pricing is one of the most fundamental parts of scaling your freelance business. Most freelancers, especially those who are new to freelancing, think that if they lower their prices they will have more chance of nailing that assignment. This is not always the case. Value and worth are often perceptions that clients have about who they will consider for their commission. They are often more persuaded by the quality of the work they are presented with, the reliability of the freelancer to deliver their job and the perceived worth or reputation of the person they engage.
Under-pricing your service or product is counter-intuitive. It simply means your productivity will decrease and you will have LESS time available to improve your portfolio. If a potential client likes what they see then they should be willing to meet your price or negotiate fairly. Compromising your own bottom line will often cause you to lose time you could be devoting to a higher-paid gig.
4. HEY BIG SPENDER
There are often hidden costs in operating a freelance business that doesn’t become evident until the quarterly accounting becomes due. While operational expenses should be thoroughly worked out before you begin a freelance business, it is often difficult to set money aside for emergencies that can happen, (hard drives crashing, equipment breakages, life and family issues) let alone working out finances to buy new equipment or finding appropriate places to base your practice.
One of the main reasons many start-up businesses fail is that they overspend as soon as they begin to become viable. Scaling a freelance business means that instead of renting an expensive shopfront for client meetings and collaborations, hot-desking is a far more efficient use of funds. Companies like WeWork have premises and hot desks available globally. Lease agreements for upgrading equipment are more tax effective than buying equipment outright.
5. PEOPLE WHO KNOW PEOPLE
Networking and delegating are two of the most important facets of scaling a freelance business. As freelancers, connecting people to your service or finding other freelancers that may be able to assist in a commission on a contract basis are vital components of the freelance industry. Finding reliable and timely help or linking to clients who already have jobs waiting can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive.
Companies like Revolancer (https://revolancer.com/) can help take the pain out of this process. It has a large database of freelancers with a large variety of skills and is now attracting a large base of clients who need professional freelancers to work on commissions.
BEFORE YOU GO
Scaling a freelance business is an essential part of working in a freelance capacity. It requires an honest appraisal of how efficient your business model is and how best you can increase your revenue without increasing your expenses. Have a look at these great articles to find extra tips to increase your productivity: 5 Effective Opening Messages to Send a Client and 5 Most Common Assumptions about Freelancing.
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer