Most freelancers start with the intention of having a ‘side-gig’ to support their income or make a big break into the industry by building a portfolio. Like every successful business, scaling is the next level for a blooming freelance career. Before diving into the process of scaling your freelance career, you need to be sure that the time is right for you to increase production without reducing effectiveness.
So… Are you ready to scale your freelance career?
Scaling involves expanding your capacity to work while ensuring that the output remains at the same or better quality, which means that neither you nor your clients should suffer a loss.
Signs that it’s time to scale your freelance career
Some of the factors and growth markers that should guide the decision to scale your freelance career include:
No free time? Constant delays in submitting projects? When you start noticing that you have to reject tasks or postpone new gigs because your current workload is tightly packed, then it is time to consider scaling your freelance career.
For any freelancer, getting referrals is one of the best things that can happen to your career. It means that clients appreciate the quality of your work and feel confident enough in your service to refer to others. At that point in your freelance career, you should start preparing to scale.
If you feel like you’re getting closer to the top percent of income in your freelance career, you should try to maintain the new level of success, and the best way to do so is by scaling your career.
How to scale your freelance career
You have broken away from the shackles of a typical 9 – 5 job, and you genuinely feel like an independent professional but, you think it is time to do more? Well, here are five easy steps to guide you when scaling your freelance career.
1. Plan it out
The first step to do anything well is to have a plan. What areas of your freelance career do you want to scale? Do you want to make more money from fewer jobs? Do you want more jobs to expand your network? Those are the questions you have to ask before setting out on the scaling process. Check your current mode of operation for any bottlenecks or obstacles that could hinder your progress when you scale. Things like management, reporting, and resource acquisition could be delaying the speed and quality of your work. When you identify things like that, you know that’s where you want to focus when scaling so that it doesn’t affect the effectiveness of your work on a larger scale.
2. Find your regulars
When you have a plan in place for how to approach the scaling of your freelance career, the next step is to find your regular clients. These are the long-term clients who give you jobs on a set schedule, and they always come back with more gigs. They are also known as ‘Anchor’ clients because you can rely on the steadiness of their job requests. These clients are the ones that you should maintain contact with and inform of any change in the process of accepting or delivering jobs. You want to make sure that they can make the business transition with you if need be. When selecting your regulars, be sure to include clients you enjoy working for, making it less hectic to manage the business relationship.
3. Outsource tasks
With a busier schedule, it is possible that you start mixing up or skipping tasks. Also, if your industry involves several logistics-inclusive tasks, you may need help sorting out the processes before getting the job done. For that purpose, and any other task you need to shelf off, it is best to outsource functions as a part of your scaling process. Get someone, a beginner you can efficiently train to reduce your workload or someone with enough experience to oversee some of the responsibilities. You can assign simple tasks or hand over some low-urgency clients for an outsourced freelancer to handle. By outsourcing, you get to keep a portion of the earnings (based on your agreement with the other freelancer/professional) while maintaining and increasing your income. Outsourcing tasks are the tipping point of scaling your freelance career because you start to build a work chain of other freelancers you may decide to hire.
4. Increase Your Rates
Another defining part of the scaling process is increasing your freelance rates. Based on the industry standards, you can increase your pricing for specific services to earn more for less stress. You can discuss favorable (higher) rates with your regular clients and take on higher-paying jobs from new clients. With more income, you can easily take on less work and still earn more than you used to before scaling your freelance career.
5. Create Commodities
Finally, the last step in establishing a new level for your freelance career is by creating commodities. These commodities indicate that you are a professional and you can design products, packages, and subscriptions for clients and other freelancers. You can launch an ultimate guide to freelancing in your industry, create a subscription-only newsletter, or market new packages to deliver products for clients. With these commodities, you can earn more while building your reputation to attract more clients.
As your client network grows bigger and your tasks increase, the need to scale your freelance career becomes very important. If you don’t consider scaling, you may disappoint clients, or you will have to drop some gigs in favor of others. It is a lot to balance, and you have to be ready to go through the process to reap the rewards of scaling your freelance career.
Ayorinde Okikijesu Elizabeth is a freelance content writer on Upwork with topnotch experience in crafting SEO-rich content. She also belongs to a pool of writers, showcasing their skills via a clearvoice.com. Ayorinde believes in helping her clients achieve note-worthy results for their business through my writing. You can follow Ayorinde on Twitter and visit her website.