Making the Leap from Freelancer to Small Business Entrepreneur

Making the Leap from Freelancer to Small Business Entrepreneur

Increasingly, the UK is a nation of freelancers. In fact, according to some figures the number of people making their living through freelance work rose by an impressive 43% between 2008 and 2016. However, the time may come when the nomadic life of a freelance worker begins to tire, and you find yourself thinking about taking a step that will allow you remain your own boss, while also exploring ambitious new avenues – starting your own business.

From developing a professional business plan to exploring flexible office space solutions, we explore how freelancers can make that leap from solo player to small business entrepreneur.

Develop Your Business Plan

Freelancing and launching a business each require a distinct mindset when it comes to setting goals and laying out targets. While the freelancer will focus on these things on a job by job basis, the small business entrepreneur must think of the long term strategy of their newly developed company. It is therefore an important and helpful step to create a thorough, detailed business plan that coherently sets out what the business does, where you hope to bring it to, and how you hope to get there.  

As well as helping you to clarify your own vision for the business, this plan will prove essential when pitching the business to other people, whether you’re looking for suppliers to get your operations of the ground, or funding opportunities to give your idea the financial kick start it needs.

Choose Your Location Wisely

One of the most significant emerging business trends of recent years has been the move away from traditional office space in favour of more flexible and cost-effective workplace solutions. These days, you’re as likely to find global names like KPMG and Microsoft working out of a London coworking space as gig-economy big hitters like Deliveroo. The right option for your business will depend upon your unique circumstances – your size and structure, for example. But it’s important to think strategically not only about the location of your business base, but the type of workspace that you operate out of, as well.

Network/Build Client Base

Having a reliable base of willing customers form the very beginning of your business journey is an essential step. As a freelancer, you will most likely have carried out jobs for various other businesses, organisations and entrepreneurs. Retaining links with all of these, and maintaining a good, professional relationship will prove to be a huge advantage when you do decide to make the leap into the world of small business. They will know you and your work already, and will therefore be more likely to hire your small business’ services than rely on a business they have never dealt with before. These contacts can also prove to be useful by putting you in contact with other potential customers, as well as suppliers and service providers that you need to establish your own business.

Avoid the Common Pitfalls

From leaping headfirst into a market that simply has no gaps or openings, to launching without the proper funding in place, there are certain pitfalls that have caused countless startups and small businesses to fail before they even have a chance to take off. You can help yourself to avoid these pitfalls in several key ways – by carrying out thorough, extensive market research, by ensuring that all necessary funding is in place when it needs to be, and by sticking closely to your business plan. Take the time to analyse other, comparable startups, to determine why some succeed, and some fail – and then emulate the successful elements.

Making the leap from your freelancing career to the world of small business is not a decision that should be taken lightly, but it is a decision that, when pursued in the right way, carries enormous potential for success – and can be the personal and financial reward you’ve been searching for.

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