“How can I turn my already successful freelancing gigs into a business?” This is one common question I get from freelancers all around who thinks that they are ready to take their freelancing career to the next level by creating an actual business.
Congratulations if you are headed this direction as well because that will mean you are ready to leave your 9-to-5 cubicle and begin a new chapter of your professional life in a more enjoyable setting.
My answer to this is simply to market your services and network aggressively with industry people. Look, if you have been providing freelancing services on platforms such as Fiverr or Upwork, that means your area of work can be done online and in a remote manner. This serves as a good foundation already for it to become a proper business with both local and global clients.
With that being said, I would still recommend you to start locally first. Think about your service offerings and what your strengths are. Next, consider who are the businesses that might require your service, look them up and get their contact emails, then drop them a courtesy email about your services and request for a meeting to share more information.
Are there any job boards where small businesses post job requests in the city you live in? As a budding entrepreneur, small businesses are your friend because they are also working on a budget and are more likely to give fellow small businesses a chance to work together. Join these job boards or communities and reach out to potential clients.
Networking events are also one area you should work on to showcase yourself. Know of any friends in a similar industry? Asked them if they can invite you to the next networking event and prepare business cards you can distribute to prospects at those events. Well, even if you don’t get any clients there and then, you might make friends with people working in the same industry but with different skillset you can collaborate with.
What do I mean by this? Imagine you are a graphic designer and would like to start a design agency. You definitely have to work with companies in advertising, web design, film, photography and so on. If you are a front end web developer and looking to start a web design agency, you will then need to be in touch with businesses that deal with consulting, branding, marketing or advertising. The point here is to look for collaboration opportunities so that there are areas you can offer your skills and market your new business to industry players.
Consider this situation. What if your web design agency is being approached by a client for a web design work but you are unable to provide the graphics or digital image editing service? Now, you will also need to turn to your industry contacts to see if you can outsource that area of work to them.
You might even consider outsourcing these works to freelancers if you are a little bit tight on budget to work with other agencies. The merit in working with freelancers, as you rightfully know since you have been there, is that you get to build your team of freelancers whom you can work with and are reliable. This might even be a virtual, remote team you can rely on!
Once you have grown your brand name locally, then you can start to consider working with overseas clients. Now that you also have a team of freelancers, possibly from different cities, you can tap on these adhoc “employees” of yours. Speak to them and see if they have any interests in helping you with your business in the sense that they can be the point-of-contact for your overseas office or they can even lead the office if they would love to take up the challenge. The possibilities are infinite here on.
In essence, go out there, be brave to showcase yourself. Market and advertise your company and the services you provide. Network and network somemore so that your company name gradually gets known amongst industry peers and see what these connections can bring you. Start locally, be comfortable, grow the company, then consider expanding globally. All the best!