Freelancing is a lot similar to doing your own startup. You are your own boss, managing the logistics, finances, time and everything else that comes in between. You have a client and a project and deadlines, pretty much what a big company does, the only difference being that here you are your own company. So, after a successful stint as a freelancer, if you are contemplating the big leap into growing your business and making it a full-fledged setup, this post is for you.
While we see a steady rise in the number of freelancers across different sectors, it has also come to notice that many of these freelancers are making the jump into the unknown to grow their business. There is no doubt that at first you will face a lot of barriers in the path to expansion in the form of the increasing workload, finances and competition. However, if your work is very good and you have created fine goodwill, and you wish to increase your earnings, there is a no reason why you should not try starting up your own venture and having some employees to look after the increased workload, or go into business with someone else. So, if you are looking to go to the next frontier in the world of freelancing, then read on.
Why turn into an entrepreneur in the first place?
Currently, the world is undergoing a transformation of sorts where startups are becoming a glam statement. With this startup mentality everywhere it is a widespread belief that we can be successful only if we become an entrepreneur and start something on our own. We all have heard the overnight success stories, where professionals have turned into wildly successful owners of hugely profitable startups. But is that your destiny also? Is there anything wrong with being passive and remaining happily as a freelancer? There is nothing shameful about working as a freelancer and ignoring the hoopla around to do what you feel is right for you. For many people around the world freelancing jobs have turned out as an appropriate way of earning income and managing their personal lives as well. Even if the initial years are not so productive, once you have established yourself in the game, and built a good network and a steady stream of income, then there is no reason why you should take on extra pressure and challenges.
When you run your own startup there is a lot at stake. Since you will be employing other people there will be a constant pressure to have a constant line-up of projects. Plus, you have to make sure that each of your employee gives his or 100 percent. Managing employees is a far more twisted task then managing your own workload. There are a lot more emotional and psychological factors involved, which you might find difficult to impossible. Pressure would be to get the most out of these employees and also to always be finding the next client. The dirty word 'stress', which is the reason why most people turn to freelancing jobs in the first place, will become your constant companion, at least for the initial time period. There will be times when you will want to tear your hair out, go to some solitary place and find some peace while managing all this, but you won’t have the luxury of doing so.
Slim profits thin margin
It is a tempting thought that startups bring with them a lot of money. Until or unless you have an out-of-the-world idea, which only one out of 100 startups have, there is a lot more chance that your startup would have to work on a shoe-string budget, or you will have to bootstrap your startup. Even if you get more work, bigger projects and clients, the money coming from them would go on to recover the increased costs for staff, computers, furniture, software and all. Thus, the profit margin wouldn’t be the same as it was when you worked alone.
The case for a paradigm shift
There is little to lose
Unlike others you were never dependent on a regular 9-to-5 job for your livelihood, which becomes the main advantage here. In case the startup doesn’t work out the way it should have you always have the option to go back square one and again start taking freelancing projects, which will be in abundance once you let your network know about your availability in the market. Thus, there is little to fear.
One thing that constantly pushes man towards the unknown is the lure of endless possibilities. Think of a life as a successful startup owner. Think of all the limitless possibilities down the line in the next five years. You might be the next Microsoft or Facebook. Freelancing is good but has its own limits, it will keep you steady but will only take you so far. Running your own company will be far more mentally satisfying and challenging also.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)