How To Take The Big Leap From Freelancer To Entrepreneur

Being a freelancer certainly has its perks. For one thing, freelancers are not limited to a fixed monthly salary as they don’t work exclusively for a single employer. They can take on as many clients as time allows, which can lead to greater earnings. What’s more, they can work whenever and wherever they like.

Some freelancers, however, aren’t satisfied stopping at that. There are those who want to take their career trajectory to the next level - by pursuing entrepreneurship.

If you’re at that stage of your freelancing journey where you’re seriously considering launching your own business, read on!

Freelancer to entrepreneur: The big difference between the two

Considering the flexibility of working hours and the fact that they are their own bosses, some may think that freelancing and entrepreneurship are very much alike. This is not exactly the case. Despite the similarities, there are also a lot of notable differences.  

Best-selling author, entrepreneur, and internet marketer Seth Godin once explained it this way:

“Freelancers get paid for their work… Entrepreneurs use other people's money to build a business bigger than themselves so that they can get paid while they sleep.”

While freelancers increase their earnings by working longer hours (or by finding better-paying clients), effective entrepreneurs have built a system that allows them to keep making profits even when they aren’t working. They utilize ample manpower and modern technology to make that happen.

Entrepreneurship is ‘next level’

Being an entrepreneur is no walk in the park - at least not until a certain degree of success has been attained. The truth of the matter is, there’s a lot more to being an entrepreneur than there is to being a freelancer.

While some entrepreneurs do make money ‘while they sleep’, some entrepreneurs actually get very few hours of rest every day - especially in the hectic early stages of their venture.

They have to be very hands-on as they establish their business. They may even have to do most of the jobs themselves if they can’t afford to hire help yet. In some cases, they need to be available 24/7 to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

So yes, forming a business, and keeping it going, isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Changing your mindset is always the first step

Adjusting your mindset from freelancer to entrepreneur takes a conscious effort on your part. A business owner has to think differently compared with employees and freelancers.

In a Forbes article, we read:

“The entrepreneurial mindset is about a certain way of thinking - it is about the way in which you approach challenges and mistakes. It is about an inherent need to improve your skill set and to try and try again.”

It begins with conceptualizing a product or a service to offer. Beyond that, it means thinking of effective ways to reach the target market and to set the business apart from competitors, among other factors.

Simply said, you can’t become an entrepreneur in an instant. It demands hard work, patience, knowledge, and taking calculated risks.

But as Elon Musk once said, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

You can start a business even with limited budget

Obviously, you will need money to start a business. Operational costs, employee wages, and office rental all require that you have a budget in place. But how do you even get started if you don’t have the money in the first place? Well, there are actually many available options!

Aside from using your life savings, you may also use your credit card or borrow from a bank. Another idea is to seek help from friends and family members. These days, creating a page on crowdfunding websites can also be a great idea. People are willing to back concepts that they find particularly interesting.

Of course, you may also approach potential investors. When doing this, you should prepare a well-written business plan. Include important details - everything from your marketing and sales plans to your target market and company history. You will use this document as you present to investors. So do your best to make it comprehensive and interesting!

“Storytelling is at the core of everything we do in this space,” Mark Sacca of Lowercase Capital told the US Chamber of Commerce. “Don’t talk about stats and charts. Attach what you’re doing to a narrative about a problem you’re solving.”

Find a business mentor

You don’t have to be alone as you try to navigate entrepreneurship. The good news is, there are a lot of available resources. You can read books, check out TED talks on YouTube, or, as Virgin founder Richard Branson pointed out, you can just talk to other business owners.

“Obviously, you shouldn’t pick someone who you see as a direct competitor, but you can try approaching someone who is running a similar business in another location,” said Branson. “Don’t be shy - people are usually flattered by a request for advice.”

For more on this topic, you can read our past blog about the 5 Advantages of A Good Business Mentor.

Final words: Some motivation as you transition from freelancer to entrepreneur

As we conclude, allow us to share two relevant quotes about entrepreneurship.

Author and motivational speaker Tony A. Gaskins Jr once said:

“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.”

Meanwhile, business magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller remarked:

“Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

We hope this article has been helpful for you, a freelancer taking a leap of faith to becoming a business owner. Best of luck to your startup, and know that we’re rooting for you!

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