Build Your Business: How to Grow Your Freelance Career

Your freelance business doesn’t grow automatically. You don’t have magic beans. Nice try. You can’t just do work, you have to work at it. You have to build your business.

Once your business is off and running it’s easy to forget this. At the beginning you’re doing all kinds of work to build your business. You’re writing a business plan, setting up bank accounts and doing all that initial work. But after a while you have the basics set up and you’re focused on client work.

This is not the time to stop building your business.

You never stop building your business.

Carve Time to Build Your Business

Web designer Brian Casel says:

“Make an effort to break off a chunk of your time—maybe 20%—to work on your own projects.”

That’s how you get better. It’s an opportunity to your stretch your creative muscles. Working on your business is how you bring in more work, boost your efficiency and make more money. Otherwise you’re just clocking hours for someone else.

It’s not easy. The temptation is to assume your business is built and get back to client work. After all, client work pays the bills. But when you build your business you’re investing in yourself.

Don’t cheat your future self. Take the time now and put in the effort to improve your processes, boost your skills, learn something new, stretch yourself and just get better.

What Can You Build?

There are all kinds of things you can do to build your business:

  • Financial processes – Improve your invoices, budgeting, tracking or more.
  • ExpandConsider hiring an employee, subcontractor or intern.
  • Get organized – Start a new system to keep yourself on track or make yourself more productive.
  • Marketing – Work on your brand, website, blog, email newsletter, webinar, social media, ebook, networking, etc.
  • Sales process – Tweak your offering, prices, consultations, pitch, proposals, contracts, etc.
  • Make life easierAutomate WordPress to make your job easier.
  • New services – Offer maintenance, security or backup services.
  • Help clients – Develop a client training system.
  • Products – Create a product you can sell.
  • Skills – Take a class or improve your skills (like learning ecommerce).
  • Education – Read a book or learn something new.
  • Creative juices – Find ways to recharge creatively.
  • Mentor – Find a coach who can help you go to the next level.

But here’s some bottom-line advice from Brian Casel:

“Work on things that make you uncomfortable.”

Sure you can redesign your website. Again. But you’re already good at that. You’re not stretching yourself or doing anything that’s going to vastly improve your business. But working on your sales pitch? Might not be your favorite thing to do, but it probably needs work and will have a big impact on your income.

Do the work to build your business. All that effort will pay off.