Are you a freelancer who’s ready to move on to full-blown entrepreneurship? If so, you are already on the right track. Being a small business owner isn’t easy, but you are already used to working for yourself while meeting the needs of others. Keep reading for a few steps you can take now that will help you grow from contract labor to business owner.
Focus on your image.
In business, image is everything. Your face, clothing, and mannerisms are your personal brand, and these must match your capabilities and remain consistent if you want to be successful. I offer image and branding consulting services to help you do everything from mastering an inconsistent accent to restocking your closet with a power wardrobe that will look at home in any boardroom.
You’ll also want to make sure that your online image is clean and clear so that when your future customers Google your name, you won’t have to worry about an old mistake biting you in the butt.
Extend your education.
Depending on what you do, moving from a freelance situation into business ownership may mean little more than getting certified in your industry. But if you would like to take your business acumen to the next level, heading back to school for an MBA is a smart business decision.
Western Governors University explains that an online MBA can make a difference. In truth, your master’s is more than a degree — it is the driving force that will make you a better leader. When you finish your education, you will be more self-aware and have the ability to continually self-assess your effectiveness.
Expand your network.
You would be hard-pressed to find a business owner who would not recommend networking in the early days of entrepreneurship. Running your own business means more than just seeking out customers. To enjoy the greatest success, you also have to have a strong network of industry supporters, vendors, and others.
To grow your network, you can join trade associations, which will also give you access to information on the latest advancements in your industry. LinkedIn and other networking sites are also valuable as these can put you in touch with other business leaders, as well as potential employees.
Refine your offerings.
As a freelancer, you offered a very select skillset to your clients. You must continue to do so as a business owner, but you may need to be picky about what you provide. When your business is also your primary source of income, you’ll want to focus on the products and services that make the most money in the least amount of time and are in the highest demand.
Once you get the ball rolling, plan to email your customers for input and advice. You may just find that there is a strong interest in complementary services that can boost your bottom line without overextending your operation. You can also get lots of valuable data by looking at previous sales and forecasting for the next three to six months.
By paying attention to your image, your education, network, and product selection, you will find that you can stabilize your company’s growth. While it’s tempting to jump headfirst, do not make the rookie mistake of trying to grow too fast. Business success is not defined by the amount of money you bring in on day one, but by your ability to satisfy your customers for the long haul.
First impressions are made within the first three seconds of meeting a new business contact. I can help you maximize these precious moments. To work with me, give me a call at 605.679.7749 or visit www.bloompersonalbranding.com for more information. Take my free personal branding assessment survey to see if your personal brand is defined and ready to take on the world!