Beyond Freelance? Going From One to Many.
I’ve been thinking a lot about growth the past year. As a freelancer, I didn’t have to worry about a lot — just having enough work to get me through. But, as soon as I decided to scale my business, I had a lot more thinking to do. That meant, for the first time, I had to think about a growth strategy.
My Kind of Growth
I’m a big believer in taking small, calculated risks with my business. Making improvements in smaller increments, but building on that success each month. This is the approach I take with clients, and in my life, to be honest. It’s a lot easier to say — I’m going to get this done this month, than to try to tackle a year’s worth of advancements. But that doesn’t mean I don’t dream big, because I do. I keep those big goals in mind as well, but I make sure I’m taking small, incremental steps along the way to get there.
Do I Make Mistakes? Hell ya, I Sure Do!
I’m not going to sit here and blah, blah, blah about all the things I do great. That’s for another post (hahaha). But seriously folks, I make confident decisions, but they are not always right. There you go, I said it. I make bad choices too. Thankfully, I make a lot of good ones but that doesn’t mean I haven’t let a bad one slip in there. I take risks. Having any kind of business is risky. I think a lot about the new restaurant owner. They invest so much time and money into their dream against all odds. I never take risks that big. But I do take them. Every new client I take on is a risk. Every new writer I hire is a risk. Every new challenge or commitment I agree to is a risk. Of course, some of them pay off beautifully, well others — they just don’t.
An Example: Risks Can Pay Off
This year I went to England to visit my in-laws. Before I left I made it my mission to get one new client interview. I sent out some targeted emails and only got two responses, but I did get one interview, but I would have to find my way into another town, and risk the funds, time on my vacation to get there. There, I met Tony, the CEO and Founder of Canny Creative. It was a great first meeting, to say the least and I’m glad I set it up. But, it could have gone so many other ways. He could have stood me up. He could have hated Canadians. Who knows?
We’ve been working on projects together ever since and I’ve learned a lot about running a business from him. He’s given me a byline for the blogs I’ve been working on for him — a total bonus for sure.
Back to the topic at hand. Growth strategies.
There is no growth without risk. And, my friends, risk is often painful, but then, so is growth. It’s uncomfortable. It’s often slow moving. It’s not linear growth. Growth can also be quite soul-crushing too. I have been rejected way too many times to count. I have sent proposals that get no response. I have lost clients. What do you do? When I raised my rates as a freelancer, it was an awakening experience. Many clients stayed with me, but there were some that didn’t. The great revelation was not in my current clients, but in new proposals. I seemed to get a lot more work, just raising my rates. Of course, that means you have to be more valuable too.
Keep going my friends. It’s worth it in the end.
My final thoughts for this post is just to remind you (and me) to keep going. I’ve survived a lot in this life, not just in my business. Yes, there are times when I feel that I’m jumping off a cliff. Where you have to trust that the work will continue to be there, months from now. I’ve settled into that discomfort. I nestle myself in that feeling and just stay there. I wouldn’t be a leader if I didn’t just jump.