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When you first get started with freelancing, the biggest struggle is often finding your first clients. Eventually though, if you have a quality service to offer, your persistence will pay off. You’ll have a regular stream of recurring clients, and a fairly predictable acquisition of new ones.
At this point, you’ve progressed beyond the simple startup problems. Your challenge now is to find a business scaling strategy that will allow you to grow your freelance career without consuming your life.
So in this post, we’re going to take a look at several actionable steps you can take to make your freelance business as scalable as possible.
As in most long term strategies, the first step revolves around setting goals. When it comes to scaling your freelance business, an ideal way to get started is by imagining what your ideal average week looks like.
After all, you are trying to create a business that supports your lifestyle rather than inhibits it. So sit down with a blank page or stand up at your whiteboard and outline your dream week.
What do you want daily life to look like? Do you want to be working 40 hours a week? More? Less?
What sort of work do you want to be doing? Are you still going to be handling every single order from clients? Are you going to be focused more on marketing and less on fulfillment?
Answering questions like these will help you determine the milestones you need to meet in order to create a business scaling strategy that aligns with your goals.
For example, if you want to live a comfortable life with only 10 hours invested in your business every week, you are probably going to have to hire and train a team to take care of fulfillment for you. Likewise, if you are comfortable with working longer hours and want to stay in the trenches of your business, you’ll probably have to raise your prices to keep yourself from drowning.
Systematizing your freelance services is one of the simplest business scaling strategies that you can implement. The goal here is to remove yourself as much as possible from as many orders as possible.
If you are going to scale, after all, every minute of your time is precious. Wasting two hours a day having back-and-forth conversations with clients, for example, adds up to a lot of lost revenue over the course of a year.
Examine at every aspect of your business and look for opportunities to streamline. Can you make ordering instructions more clear? If you need an on-boarding meeting with new clients, can you use an app to automate scheduling?
Systematizing also involves creating standard operating procedures. Consider writing a checklist of steps that needs to occur for every service you offer. You can even write detailed instructions for each step. And the more detailed they are, the better you’ll be prepared for the next stage…
Once you’ve created streamlined systems and standard operating procedures for you freelance business, you can begin to think about outsourcing some of the tasks that aren’t worth your time.
This might involve hiring a virtual assistant to carry out day-to-day administrative duties like confirming client instructions and getting new orders into the pipeline. Depending on how involved you want to be in the long run, outsourcing could even involve training staff to carry out most or all of the fulfillment.
Just remember that you don’t want your scaling to ruin your customer service. Make sure your staff is well-trained and has just a clear understanding of their duties as you do.
Time is money. And it doesn’t matter what you are doing with that time. Personal tasks can be just as much of a drain on you as business ones. So don’t overlook the value in hiring someone to carry out some of your daily operations around the house.
For example, let’s say that you’ve calculated your freelance hourly rate to be about $100 an hour. Let’s also say that you normally spend an hour a week mowing and tending to your lawn. If you can hire someone to do that for you for $50 a week, you’ve saved yourself time and created the potential to make more money.
Other personal tasks worth outsourcing might include laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, and even scheduling appointments.
A lot of the time, freelancers become well-known to their clients as specialists in a small handful of tasks (or even just one!). Adding new services that are obvious compliments to your existing skill set is the perfect business scaling strategy to help snowball your profits.
After all, you’ve already got a client base that trusts you to deliver quality work. If you have the systems in place to add a new service that most of them need, it’s not unrealistic to double the number of orders you get within a few months.
If you’re training a team, you could decide to hand off the fulfillment of one of your existing services to them so that you can focus your energy on nurturing the new one. Once you’ve got that up and running smoothly, you can again train a team to handle it for you so that you are free to launch yet another new service. Rinse and repeat as much as you want to scale your business.
Just remember to always focus on delivering quality work. Too many businesses fail during growth periods because they sacrifice the quality of their service in order to scale faster than they really should.
Another key business scaling strategy is to hitch your wagon with other successful business owners. Sharing is caring, after all, and mutual partnerships with like-minded entrepreneurs are going to help you both grow your client lists. The trick is to find business partners who won’t be direct competition with you, but are still likely to share client pools.
For example, if you are a copywriter, you might want to partner up with an SEO. You might not do keyword research, and your partner might not write content, but odds are good that both of your clients need these services. This mutual client base becomes an endless source of referrals. Just be sure to make the sharing go both ways.
If you want to form partnerships, though, you’ve got to be networking. And there’s no better place to find entrepreneurs just like you who are ready to scale their freelancing business than the Legiit Official Facebook Group. Check it out today and start building a network of success.