A dream many people have is to develop and maintain a successful self-run business. Freelancing is a popular way to do this and it’s very easy to quickly set up a business presence online. If you have the right experience and skillset, you can make a very good living working from your home office or studio. What’s more, freelancing provides a fantastic stepping stone to even greater things.
It’s some of these things we want to look at in this article. While being a freelancer can certainly be a lifelong career path, some of the most successful freelance professionals often broaden out into other areas. Working with clients can be rewarding but it’s also time intensive and can be draining for certain personality types.
Freelancing billable hours are also only billable when you’re actually working. If you fall sick or want to take an extensive break or vacation, then you don’t earn. Plus, there’s an income ceiling. You can only raise your rates so high until your target market pushes back.
This is a quandary for freelancers. There are certainly drawbacks to a freelancing lifestyle. It’s why developing alternative parallel plans can be a sensible solution. Freelancing thus becomes the launch-pad to even greater things which bring in a higher income.
So what are some of the ways freelancers can take their business to a higher level?
- Create products
If you’re a new freelancer you might not have considered that all your services can potentially be turned into products. This is especially the case if you work predominantly online. There are a multitude of product-types that can be born from freelance services including digital courses, guides, premium forums, tools, and more.
For example, a freelance web designer or developer might create courses for newbie designers (or business owners) wanting to learn the latest coding tricks and techniques. They might combine this course with a private forum behind a paywall as well as a paid newsletter subscription with goodies inside.
- Become a professional coach
After a few years of freelancing in a specialist subject matter, you’ll have a great deal of experience working with certain types of client. You’ll understand what they want, what they need, how they react to scenarios, and also a deeper level of empathy towards their individual journeys. As such, you might well make an excellent professional coach.
Coaching can be a very lucrative career path for freelancers looking to ditch their standard services and embark on something that’s more human-focused. Being a coach means knowing the right questions to ask in order to help people discover the answers they need from within themselves. If you have high emotional intelligence and love helping people succeed, then coaching can be very fulfilling.
It can also allow you to work fewer hours for higher pay.
- Set-up a business consultancy
Similar to coaching in many regards is consultancy work. As a professional consultant, you work with individuals or businesses to help them achieve the results they need. Unlike with coaching, instead of subtly helping people discover answers, you provide them with a clear roadmap to reach their end goal. This is where professional experience, based on years of freelancing in certain sectors, comes into its own.
For example, if you’ve been a freelance marketer for a decade or more, you’ll be in pole position to help struggling businesses define and reach the success they need. As a consultant, you take more of a back seat and focus primarily on designing strategies for other people to carry out. It can be very lucrative depending on your target market.
- Fuel your personal brand
Working as a freelancer naturally makes your brand a personal one. You might have a website url with your name and information about you as a person. People are attracted to people they feel an affinity with and who look professional. Yet this can be taken a step further.
Some of the most successful freelancers develop a personal brand that takes off and becomes bigger than they ever imagined. This is usually down to a loud personality, a strong knowledge of their field, and intelligent marketing practices. As a result, they are booked to give speeches, hired to give presentations, and invited onto radio and television programs, often with audiences in the thousands.
The result is a plethora of lucrative offers based solely on their personality, knowledge, wisdom, and experiences. If you are naturally a popular person in general life, then you have all the ingredients to succeed in this way.
- Grow a freelancing empire
As a freelancer you’re probably accustomed to working largely in isolation. You meet with clients, directly or via the internet, and sometimes collaborate with partners in similar or supporting fields. Apart from that, you’re on your own, for better or for worse. Whatever number of billable hours you put in are the ones you’re paid for.
So how can you grow a freelancing empire. This can be achieved by growing a stable of freelancers under your management. You communicate with a client and then delegate the work to one of your freelance professionals. The freelancer is paid a percentage of the final fee and you receive the rest. You can potentially give up direct freelance work altogether and run your business through delegating alone
Eventually you can even delegate the client communication part as well.
Moving beyond your standard freelancing services
Tired of freelancing? Worried you’ll be stuck doing it forever? Fret not for there are many potential career paths that can grow directly from a few years of experience working directly with clients. When you see freelancing as merely a stepping stone to greater things, then a whole world of possibilities opens up.
Some of the examples above can be created in parallel with client work. When cultivated over time, there will come a day when you can drop freelancing completely. Or, alternatively, you can make it an occasional activity when a particularly interesting project comes along.