When we think of entrepreneurs and freelancers, the two aren't ofter linked. However, I think that being a freelancer is in much like running your own business. There are plenty of aspects in which the two are similar such as freelancers work on their own accord and never have a clear-cut path in their career.
Companies function by being profitable and the only way they can do that if they are selling something and people are buying it. Although in freelance we don't consider out 'clients' to be 'customers', the basic principles still apply. We are basically sellers of a service that is aimed to help make out counter-partiers lives easier. An example of this would be someone freelancing website development. They are selling a service in the B2B sector which helps consumers save time and get an amazing website, one which they would often not be able to make themselves.
Even then, the similarities do not end. The way in which freelancers market themselves, the way in which they may spend money on marketing, their hopes of going viral through organic growth and their personal brand is much like that of a corporation. Although, companies that are in the B2C tend to do this differently, almost all companies in the B2B market work in this way.
No set salary:
Freelancers and entrepreneurs do not get paid x amount at the end of every month. We are all paid solely by the amount that we work. Each client is different and the amount of clients we get in a given month is different. Hence, much like an entrepreneur, our 'salary' is purely dependent on our output. This is incredibly beneficial in my opinion as it forces each of us to put the hours in that we need to be successful in the vast pool of freelancers.
Work Ethic becomes a major player:
When working 9-5, oftentimes we are paid regardless of how long we actually spend working. This links in with fact that we do not get a set salary. No hours put in will lead to a final set paycheque. With that being said, the ability for high tolerance to work is easy to build up and keep sustainable. When we see the rewards that we get for putting in 10 to 12 hour days for weeks on end, I find that it gives a sense of fulfilment. With my personal experiences of trying to complete sometimes 4 clients at a time, I had no option but to put in the long hours and found that working those long hours actually did give me more than what I would have received from a traditional job.
In one of my older articles, I talked about burnout and how it leads to a pit that is often hard to come out of. With freelancing and putting in more hours than I was at my traditional job, I have never felt like I was reaching that point. I found that working off of my own accord and working at the hours that I felt most productive was quite the mental booster.
Like many of us in both the freelancing and entrepreneurship world, with the influx of clients and the increasing of workloads, it is often important to delegate some of that work over to others. This is what I used to do when I found that I was spending far too much time working and not providing the quality that I hold myself to. Hence, the only way that I thought to move forward without having to say 'no' to incoming and current clients was to hire an outsourced web-developer who would do some aspects of a project for me.
This was similar to when a company starts to see a bigger demand for their good or service and hires individual for marketing, accounting, HR and others. Although it can be hard to give off work to others as you do not have that sense of ownership, it is for the better. Also, with the distribution of work, I was able to act as 'quality control' and see how well a certain project was coming along and if it was meeting quality standards. Moreover, this also allowed me to increase my focus on my favourite part of freelancing which is the design process. Being able to invest the majority of my time in prototyping and making the perfect template allowed for a better operation and final delivery to each client.
Not for everyone:
Although I found that working for myself and helping companies and individuals reach their online goals more rewarding than working 9-5, others may find it the other way around. It is easy to say "I am going to go into freelancing and work for myself", but actually being able to stick to what you say when there are months where not even one client will sign-on and other months where we are bombarded with requests is quite challenging.
This is why I say that when someone chooses to take the route of entrepreneurship of freelancing, it may not be the right path and that is totally fine also long as one has gained some form of experience form the journey.
On a final note:
When looking at the similarities between starting up a company and freelancing, there is more than what the eye. The expansion, the lack of a set salary, the ability to work for yourself. It all accumulates to build an individual who in long-run may well be able to transition out of freelancing and build up a career in entrepreneurship as they have already learnt the skills needed during their time as a freelance and vice versa.
Since 2018, Rohan has been working with both start-ups and well-established firms to help them build a spectacular website that is not only eye-catching but also informative. The main style that I have adopted is minimalist. After working in the corporate, 9 to 5 world, I found that it just wasn’t really suited for me and I would much rather work on my own accord near clients to help them deliver on their website dreams that not only attract customers but also give an exquisite brand image.