Are you thinking of moving from freelancing to starting a business?
As a freelancer, your income is dependent on you working. An established business though, is able to generate income –even when the business owner is not there.
If you are considering taking your trade from freelancer to business owner, here are a few tips to get you started.
Set Your Business Goals
There’s an old saying that “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” This is especially true when it comes to establishing a business. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t know what they are. Decide where you want to be, and set a plan to get there.
Create a Business Plan
Your business plan is your map of how you will take your company to where you want it to be. Outline your goals; and create a one-year plan, a five-year plan, and a long term plan. Include outlines of how you plan to reach your goals and detailed timelines for each step of the way.
A business plan should also include your marketing strategy, and summarize who your target market is. It should also include your financial goals.
Set Your Financial Goals
Set your financial goals, and plan your pricing strategy. As a freelancer, your expenses are lower because your overhead and cost of operations are lower. Once you are in business though, there are more expenses, and you will need to adjust your rates accordingly.
Calculate your estimated yearly expenses, and then decide how much your company will need to make in order to make a profit. Set your pricing strategy based on how much you need to make a profit, and also how much you can realistically charge for your services.
Create a Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy is an important way for you to make sure that you have a systemized plan for attracting new clients on a regular basis. As a business owner you will want to systemize your marketing in order to make sure it fits in as part of the business operations.
Try establishing a set amount of time that you will market your company. Once your business is more established, you may want to consider hiring someone to do the marketing for you.
Many freelancers work under their own name without too much thought to branding, but when you take your photography to the commercial level, you will want to carefully choose your company’s name, and brand yourself with a consistent identity and look. Choose an identity that goes hand in hand with your marketing strategy -you will want a look that appeals to your target market.
Establish Yourself Online
Having an online web presence, with a portfolio, website, blog, and social networking sites is an important part of any established business.
Create a Client List
Having clients is essential for the success of your business. Building up a client list is a great way to have something to use for direct marketing if things get slow. Many photographers work on building up a client list while they are freelancing.
Establish a Schedule
Setting a schedule is an important part of running a business. As a freelancer, you can plan your work around your life, but as a business owner, you will need to plan your life around your business –at least in the beginning.
Establishing a schedule is an important way to make sure that everything gets done on time. Part of your time will be spent doing photography related tasks, but many hours will also be spent on business related activities. Don’t underestimate the amount of time that you will have to spend on client interaction, paperwork, marketing, bookkeeping, and more.
Making the jump from freelancer to business owner doesn’t have to be a dramatic leap. Many photographers start out freelancing, and build up their company gradually.
What About You?
Have you taken steps towards taking your photography pro? What advice would you offer to photographers who are starting their own business?