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Turn Freelancing into a Business?

Discussion in 'Freelancing' started by Joe F, Feb 18, 2014.

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  1. Has anyone got any experience of turning their freelance role into more of a business?

    By business I mean something where they aren't the main or only person doing the work.

    It could be a web designer who then hires some developers online to do the basic work like setting up the site, to remove themselves from the day to day running.

    For me, I work as a freelance writer but there are only so many hours in the day. I'm trying to think of ways I can change the way I work to be able to earn more money (apart from raising rates) and also take some of the focus off of me so I can take on more work, if that makes sense (probably by hiring other people to help). Although this could be done with the type of blogging I do (hiring a ghost writer) its probably not the best route. But other types of writing could be more suited to this approach, such as content marketing blogging for businesses.

    Any suggestions?
  2. I have thought about starting some sort of content agency that marketed the SEO benefits of the service rather than the blogging aspect of it. I've kind of reached my plateau in freelance writing. I get a decent rate just now, however if I increase it much more, I will struggle to get clients. Which leaves the only way to increase my income is to work more hours - and I'm trying to decrease them!!

    From a content point of view, you could make more money in the long term writing books and selling them on Amazon. Or even writing a full course and selling memberships to them.
  3. #3 furiousstyles, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
    I believe that it would be much better to attempt to start an outsourcing firm, especially for you Joe. You are based in Thailand, could easily recruit people on a job to job basis, could easily oversee their work, and take an over-ride of all work won and completed on an ongoing basis.

    If this is something that you would consider I would be happy to discuss it more and bounce some ideas around - we would potentially be happy partnering with you if we could be of some use whether it be financially, promotionally (not really a word) or otherwise.

    Another way would be to specialize in content ie. a content creation service (rather than a full blown content marketing agency)
  4. Well I had tried my hands at that and found that I was working extended hours and it was not justifying the total net income I was getting. Total revenue increased but with that came additional costs, reduced output at my end as I also had to manage the others working on the project and quality control became an issue at times.

    People have successfully done that and I know of a few people who were just into freelancing and now expanded their wings to full time business with multiple people in the team.

    The main issues I came across:
    a) Initially the team does a good work, but as you add more work, they start asking for more payments. A good team to work for long term is hard to find and a time came where the outsourcing team started asking more money than I would get for a project
    b) Time. Here to initially all work came up at the given time. But after a few projects, deadlines were missed time and again which again became a concern as I had to answer the clients.
    c) Quality: I usually provided w3 validator compliant sites and tried to keep the code as easy to read as possible and as close to design as possible. Each time the revision was provided not only was my time wasted, but after a time they also started billing me for the extra efforts they had to put in after they first submitted their version!

    But its not so bad too. I have had some great teams who were delivering on time and within budget.

    I think one needs to start with multiple teams and then have say 2 teams ready for each type of project. Say some are good at WP, some at Joomla, some at data entry, some at graphics and so on. Then each time you receive an enquiry, you can check with them for a quote. Also one thing most people forget is adding their time to the costing. Lets take an example
    Someone needs a wordpress site done and they are OK with us using a template and it would require only minor customization.
    In all the work of installing wp, the theme, plugins and all the data should not increase say 20 hours. Now if you receive a quote for $500 you also need to add your time and effort in to it. Say you expect around 4 hours of checking time and the efforts you put in, so add say another 6 hours to it and you could quote say $600-800 range based on the notional loss you suffer.
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  5. What i have learned is this.

    If you have too much to do, and so little time to do it, is to do one of two things.

    1) Rise your price
    2) Recruit people

    I like the third better. Which is, restrict the times you available. For example: 1st and 2nd of the month and 14th and 15th of the month. The rest of the time, your writing whenever you want, without more work coming in everyday. Also, doing this, you can increase your prices. Because adding exclusivity to your time, this in turn will improve your writing/skill.
  6. Sounds like a nice idea, but my rates aren't high enough to only work a few days a week.

    Also, how would working less improve your writing skill?
  7. I think the problem with Thailand would be that there are very few English speakers and writers (to a professional level) so those that have those skills are in high demand. Even professional adverts have spelling mistakes, even from international brands, out here.

    When you look for workers on sites like Odesk, people from Thailand never come up, yet India and Philippines really dominate.

    Maybe coding might be better served out here?
  8. You don't have to necessarily work less, just take on work you can handle, then open the doors to more work. It is just an idea.

    Work to what you can handle. Less stress to get work done.
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