“Work on your business, not in your business.”
For the cash-strapped freelancer, this has got to be the most out of touch advice someone could ever utter. On any given day, you see it plastered across social media and credited by six-figure earners as the one thing that took their business to the next level.
I’m an advocate for paying other people to do the stuff you’re not good at, but the reality is that most new freelancers can’t afford to hire employees, nor do they possess the leadership skills it takes to effectively manage a team.
Until you find the right mentors and increase your income beyond covering monthly expenses – these three things will prove to be invaluable to the growth of your freelance business.
What was the last thing you did to make a sale?
Adding an SEO plugin to your site, joining a Facebook group, and various other busy work disguised as income-generating tasks don’t count. These kinds of things can eventually lead to people finding you, but when starting out – you have to execute on tried and true sales tactics:
- asking for referrals
- offering add-on services to existing clients
- contacting potential customers directly by phone, email, or direct mail
- providing maintenance, upgrades, and next-step consultations to past clients
Capitalize on every opportunity to have 1×1 conversations. Listen intently and respond with exactly how working with you can solve their problems.
This is how you get buyers and increase profits.
Invest In The Right Automation
Depending on your individual business needs, this could potentially be the most affordable way for you to buy yourself some time.
Replacing manpower with technology isn’t limited to large-scale enterprises and mass production.
The problem arises when freelancers and small business owners spend money on the wrong tools. Paying for subscription services and systems that don’t support the phase of business you’re currently in is a waste of money.
Convertkit, an email service provider that allows you to deliver forms and create segments is the ideal all-in-one solution. For around $30 per month, you can use it to centralize list building and simple customer relationship management.
You definitely need processes in place from day one. However, getting bogged down learning new software to automate onboarding (when you haven’t established a full client roster) is costly and time consuming. You can get by using customized templates and checklists.
Outsource Projects That Produce An ROI
Partnering with someone to help reach your business goals is a must. When the time comes, dependable contract labor is the route to take.
When I started planning the setup of my online business, a graphic designer was the first person I sought to bring on board. So much has changed since I started out in 2008. Back then, you could get away with DIY-designed downloads and digital products.
Not today, though. We expect visually appealing marketing materials and ignore anything that doesn’t look professionally put together. The immediate assumption is it lacks quality if it’s not polished and cohesive.
The graphic design work Jessica does for me is money well spent. Not to mention the mutually beneficial relationship we’ve established…because as long as I’m creating – I need her expertise to complement my online presence.
How Will You Use This Information?
If you started a business that requires you to have professional photography, you can either teach yourself how to do it or hire a photographer. If the industry you’re in expects you to produce literary-level content, working with a copy editor and proofreader is an investment.
Ultimately, you have to determine if and where it makes sense to cut corners.
You’re a business owner. Think like one and make informed decisions that move you forward.
Sidenote: The link shared above is my ConvertKit ambassador link. It was the first automation tool I invested in that saves me time, so I can focus on money-making activities. If you decide this product can help build your business, signing up using this link won’t cost you any extra. I’ll actually get a modest referral payout as long as you’re a customer.