108. Are You A Freelancer Or A Business Owner?
Six things that you as a freelance creative should know about ownership that’ll help you take on the business mindset that employees don't acquire.
Well, there’s some discussion out and about about whether freelancers are actually business owners and whether you’re a freelancer or you have a business and the discussion kind of centers around the use of the word freelance or freelancer in the first place. I’ve actually been told that I should not use the word Freelancer because it comes with all sorts of connotations that are somewhat negative in the eyes of certain segments of the industry.
The thing is, though, that Freelancer is the thing that’s understood by the industries we serve. A freelancer is a person who does work for a variety of enterprises basically on their own terms. you are positioned as a peer among the businesses and executives and organizations who are your clients.
You do need to position and posture as a business owner. You have to have a business mindset. I talked about this in earlier episodes, and I’m going to keep talking about it because it’s the one thing that we don’t deal with when we go to design school, and likely if you do not have a formal education in design, and you’re self taught, you haven’t really thought that much about business, either.
We creatives tend to focus on the creative stuff, and we get into freelancing because we want to set our own path. We want to do the kind of work that we want to do and not be told what to do. And we want the freedom of setting our own hours, working at our own pace, and things like that.
So the point of this episode is about embracing the concept of being an owner as a freelancer, an independent individual business owner.
1] Owners take action. They don’t sit around until they’re told what to do. As a business owner, you don’t want your clients to tell you what to do. You need to know what to do. You need to be proactive. You need to have foresight to anticipate and address things and be on top of things otherwise things will get away from you. Things will fall through the cracks and you won’t have a successful working relationship with your client and you may not get the project done comfortably.
2] Owners commit to the long and often difficult work of building a successful business it takes effort. They strategize, plan and also follow through they don’t just strategize. They don’t just schedule things. They actually keep those appointments and they move themselves toward their goals. And when you fail, and you will fail. It’s a learning opportunity. It might be a setback, but it’s temporary because you learn from that failure you pick yourself up and you keep going.
3] Owners honor their commitments. That means you meet the deadlines that you set. You pay your contractors. You follow through on what you promise, even in the small things like responding to email and answering questions.
4] The first commitment any owner makes is to themselves. You have to take care of yourself. You have to keep yourself in a good state in order to do your creative work well and manage your business well. Owners develop the discipline to do the non creative things first, because they know they won’t be in business very long if they don’t. So they keep their books up to date. They create and abide by a spending plan also known as a budget.
5] Owners set the vision and mission for their businesses . You have to know where you’re going. You set your destination, plan your route, and get going.
6] Owners learn how and when to say no. If something doesn’t add to your business, don’t do it except the projects and responsibilities that will lead to better projects and case the business. You can’t please everyone and you can’t live up to the expectations that others have not yours. Be willing to release clients and refer prospective clients elsewhere if they’re not a good fit. Don’t take anything on just because you need the money. That will always result in problems.
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