While I was in college, I helped run a website/freelance business.
I did not build the websites myself but what I did was look for clients and then I hired other students to build the website.
This model was successful because it allowed me to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
After graduation, I wrapped this project up because running a website business was not something I wanted to keep doing.
While I am no longer in the freelancing/website building business, I know a lot about building successful businesses. I have worked with several successful businesses to help build sustainable business systems.
As a freelancer, it is easy to get stuck in the rut and believe that you have to be the one who does everything. However, being the one who performs all the work limits the time you can actually spend building a successful business.
What is Lifestyle Business?
According to Wikipedia, A lifestyle business is a business that is set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.
Do you want to be successful?
Then you have to understand how to build a business rather than just having a series of projects. To build a business you need systems.
Part of building systems is learning to:
Adopt the right mindset
If you want to grow a business, the very first step is to have the right mindset.
If you maintain the mindset of a freelancer which is project based rather than system based, then building a business will be a foreign concept to you.
To adopt the right mindset, you need to adopt the business mindset. There are many books published that tells you how to build a successful business using systems.
The most important thing you will need to learn here is that building a successful business involves systems.
You need to have a plan about where you want to go. Do you just want to make few bucks or do you really want to build a successful lifestyle?
With a freelance business, if you stop working, you stop earning. Obviously, if this is as far as you want to go with your consulting projects, then this is fine.
But from seven years of consulting, I have learned most business owners want more. They want success and financial freedom and are always concerned about ways to achieve it.
Financial freedom is not a random act but needs to be planned.
Determine where you want your successful business to be in three years. And develop steps to achieve that plan.
If you are stuck in the routine of accepting, completing and then moving on the next project, there is good news for you.
Delegation is a very effective way of assigning routine tasks while you focus on the tasks that only you can do to build your freelance business. In the beginning delegation seems to cost more money.
But the key is to focus on the long term goal which is your success and financial independence.
When you delegate, you always have something going on as you are already looking for the next client while your agent is working on your current project.
You can also delegate your client acquisition system by using referrals to build your client base. Of course you will need to provide exceptional service for this to be successful.
Moreover, you can delegate your customer service/ follow-up process to an online administration service. You can even delegate your blogging to guest bloggers.
When you delegate the essential parts of your business system, you can take extended vacations and still bring in income.
When you can walk away from your business from a period of time you are beginning to achieve success and financial freedom,
Delegation is a necessary pre-requisite to growth. You risks becoming irrelevant if you do not delegate. We all know technology changes and if you are too busy working on projects, you have less time to work on your skills and stay relevant in your field.
Nowadays, there are so many technologies out there than can help automate parts of your successful business.
You can use autoresponders to improve your customer service. Auto responders can be your first course of response to let your client know you received their request and will get to them within 24 hours.
Another useful automation tool is project management software called base camp. We all know that sometimes the meaning of a word is sometimes lost in the translation when communicated through email.
With basecamp every aspect of your project is kept on one page: All correspondence, to do list, revision drafts, etc. are all kept in the same place.
At any time, any team member or client can see what is going on with the project. I think this is cool as it is such a big time saver. It cuts down the amount of time you spend on emails by half.
Using basecamp increases business success with your client management system.
Build passive income
In honesty, I hate this term passive income as there is a lot of confusion as to what passive income really is.
Some people see passive income as a lazy way of building successful businesses on the internet. However, there is no lazy way out.
What most people call passive income is really hours of upstart sweat equity which finally produces cash flow over an extended period of time?
We do not see behind the curtains of most successful entrepreneurs hence we do not see all the hard work that went on behind the scenes. Most people want the results without the sacrifice.
With that said, using passive income sources like affiliate marketing, product sales or digital products, can boost your income by providing a consistent stream of income. This in turn contributes to your success and financial independence.
In this way your income is not tied strictly to your clients. This gives you more choice as to what type of clients you will like to work with.
Understand your numbers
This is the topic no one likes to talk about. Most freelancers believe that as long as you are making enough money, the financial details are not relevant to your successful business.
Think of your car, and think how long it will actually run if no maintenance was ever done. Your car will not run very long.
A business is the same way; you need to perform regular checks to make sure all parts are still functioning efficiently.
Until you learn to look under the hood of your business, you cannot really succeed. It is when you begin to understand how the numbers work in your business that you begin to see patterns that can propel you to the next level.
Understanding your financial statements and knowing how to use it to project into the future is paramount to business success. If you want to learn more, download my sample book for free at lifestyleCPA.com.
Are you a freelancer, website designer or consultant?
Do you want to build a successful business?
Then take the time and read this information and respond to this post with one action you will take to move from being a freelancer to actually owning a successful business.
Evelyn Ivy, CPA, MBA is a lifestyle CPA who focuses on the accounting needs of the lifestyle entrepreneur. To learn more about her and get other useful tips visit http://lifestylecpa.com/