From Freelancer to Business Owner

“I want to build a business that’s not just about my skills”

This is what people usually say when they approach me about moving on from being a freelancer.

Some people love being freelancers and do it for many years but some people really get the itch to create something bigger, something that might be saleable, something that will live on when they’ve gone.

Other attractions are being able to take a holiday without constantly checking in, having a team of people you really enjoy working with, helping to train and develop people, and employing people who can do things better than you can.

DressCode Shirts. Designs inspired by tech with pixels, binary, glitches and code brackets.A great example of this is DressCode Shirts, a business created by Andy Boothman.

Andy has been a successful graphic designer and brand consultant for over 20 years. When he realised that his branding business, BusyasAB, depended totally on his own creativity, he stepped sideways and created a business that is very scaleable and therefore saleable!

How do you decide when the time is right?

Work out all the costs involved and accumulate enough to pay everything for at least three months with no other income.

This may mean putting your prices up. Poor pricing is responsible for keeping most businesses from expanding.

When you know you can pay all the expenses and have an emergency fund for the times when clients don’t pay you, you’re on the right track!

After that, it’s all about the detail.

What kind of manager do you want to be?

Some people just want to do what they love, to do what they started a business to do, which could be a designer, a VA, an accountant, a coach, a social media consultant, a website developer, a photographer or many other occupations.

They want a business where other people do all the “business” things, leaving them to do what they most enjoy. If you’re in this category you either need to employ a business manager or you need to be responsible for managing the people who do all the other jobs and make sure they do them properly. Delegation doesn’t mean abdication but it can free you up to do more of the things you love.

Alternatively, you might like the idea of managing the business yourself and employing other people to serve the clients you’ve built up. For some people this a really exciting step, and can involve learning new skills and developing other people.

Vince Rudgewick was a plumber who took the decision to step away from the tools and learn how to manage his business and employ other plumbers and heating engineers so that the business could grow.

See Vince Rudgewick’s story: Step Back to Grow Your Business  or listen to him tell the story in his own words in this very honest and funny talk. 

If you’re not sure what style of managing a growing business will suit you best, give me a shout and I’ll help you work it out!



2 replies
  1. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    This is a really useful post Ann. I think many people don’t realise you can employ someone to do the “business” side of things. You’ve then got a team and someone on board who can really help you build the business up.

  2. Ann Hawkins
    Ann Hawkins says:

    Thanks Rachel. The business manager option works really well for people who really love what they do and don’t want to give that up but want to build something that offers more security than freelancing.

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