As a freelance writer you are introduced to all kinds of new subjects, new businesses and new techniques. If you’re prepared to tackle any job that comes your way, as the best freelancers are, then you’ll pickup all kinds of new skills, from SEO and offline marketing to retail, lead generation and more.
If you want to earn a little more money on the side and create a business that provides a little more stability than your freelancing career, you can use these skills to start your own business.
Countless freelancers do it and many of them succeed—they already have some of the knowledge and the contacts needed after all. But if you’re planning to start a business yourself make sure you keep these tips in mind to avoid failure and increase your chances of turning a profit.
1. Play to Your Strengths
A business idea should be based on your strengths, not on market trends. Don’t begin by looking at the industries that are on the rise and then finding a way to muscle your way in. Begin by looking at your skill-set and your strengths, jot down some ideas for business that can exploit these, and then choose the one you think is most likely to succeed.
Understanding the industry you’re in is crucial as it can help with everything from networking to client/customer relations, and being able to do a lot of the work yourself will save you the cost of hiring someone.
As an example, let’s suppose you’re a copy/content writer with knowledge of SEO and a passion for extreme sports. You could setup a business offering supplies/training for a specific sport that’s doing very well at the moment, and in your down-time you can piece together a business plan, a content marketing plan, some basic copy, and a bunch of press releases. You could also launch a content website with guides, news, reviews, etc., all of which you can provide yourself.
By utilizing some of your free time and your expertise, you’ve just saved yourself thousands of dollars.
2. Think Ahead and Think Smart
The only issue with setting-up a business in a sector you are passionate about is that it’s easy to let your passion get in the way of common sense. If you try to shoe-horn your way into a particular business just because you find it exciting, you could end up sinking your time and money into something that few people care about and something that has no future.
You want a business that you understand and that you can help to build from the ground up, but you also want something that has a large base of potential customers and something that has a strong future ahead of it.
3. Use a Shared Office Space
You could spend in excess of $60,000 a year renting office space in major cities throughout the United States, and that’s before you consider the furnishings (desks, chairs) and the equipment (computers, printers).
It’s a huge expensive that could cripple your business before it gets off the ground. It’s also a big responsibility, because the more you spend on basics like a working environment the more you need to earn to generate a profit and the harder those periods of reduced custom will hurt you.
The best alternative is something known as a shared office space. You and your employees get all the amenities and services you’d find in a traditional office, only instead of paying tens of thousands a year and committing to a long-term contract, you spend a couple hundred a month and use it when you need it.
The only drawback is that you need to share the office with someone else, but many of the better providers, as seen on this shared office space San Diego page, can supply you with your own private rooms.
4. Get Help
If you have any friends that are just as ambitious as you and also have time or money to put into the business, then ask them if they want to become shareholders. Offer them a sensible share based on how much work and money they will be putting in, and make sure they fully understand that you need them to be committed.
There are two common mistakes people make when getting friends onboard. The first is to ask anyone and everyone. They let excitement get the better of them and start inviting everyone in. Before they know it every Tom, Dick and Harry has a share and most of them are not prepared to work for it.
On the other extreme there are those who overvalue their own stake, offering friends a measly stake even though they will be doing the same amount of work. They come up with a vague business idea, assume that idea alone makes them a more important partner, and then start acting like they are in control.
Be sensible, be smart, and be fair. It’s a business, not an excuse for friends to get together.