Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Do You Have a Freelancer Growth Strategy?

Not as complicated as it sounds but this can prepare you for unexpected events both bad and good.  Basically, what you're doing is planning for the next step in your venture by making the best use of your current resources.   While it may not be possible to work on upgrades (which can require a lot of money) when you're busy, it helps to have a plan ready to go in case the following happens - 

  • You need time off for personal reasons
  • A regular client wants to place a larger than usual order...and you REALLY can use the money.
  • Your latest marketing campaign has brought in a slew of new clients and you need an extra hand.

A good example is the Thanksgiving turkey sales of 2020 where data showed how smaller birds were in more demand than the usual 16 (or larger) -pounder.  This was mostly due to pandemic restrictions and those looking to cut back on meal plans.  During this time, anyone with a food business could negotiate a reduced price with their local grocer or wholesale and sell fried turkey meals.  Think about it, not everyone owns a fryer and the cooking process takes patience as well as a steady hand.  Unless you live in a major metro city where a restaurant may be your biggest competition, this can be the break your operation is looking for.

Sometimes opportunities can fall in our laps and knowing how to convert these into ongoing revenue can be tricky without an idea that doesn't cost a lot.  Although some may find inspiration immediately, no one who's survived these recent times should want to gamble on their impulses.  While creating such a plan will vary from one freelancer or small business owner to another, some basic ideas can diversify the business revenue.

1. Look for intersectional audiences within your current customer base.  If you sell a product that may require an instructional guide, you may find an audience that would appreciate a guidebook.  They may also be willing to pay a few dollars for such a thing.  With e-book software that's easy to use, you can draft, publish and promote over a period of three days.  Past customer purchases, social media accounts, and personal knowledge of an industry can inspire new ideas for residual income.

2. Hire an intern.  If you're thinking of some kid with zero work experience, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.  These days, many Gen X/Y and older millennials are returning to college or looking to get experience in a new career.  For a lot of companies, this is a definite win because most older workers are serious about networking, learning new skills, and most of all, doing a good job.  They want to ensure that they can have a reference for their next employer or start a business with success.

3. Find ways to buy wholesale.  If you live in a large city, you don't need a business account to buy supplies in volume.  You probably started out part-time but have grown enough to realize that it won't hurt to have extra supplies on hand.  Even if space is tight, a good storage chest with multiple uses can come in handy.  Some storage facility franchises also have lockers for rent priced under $50/month.

4. Connect with a networking group that offers access to local resources.  If you're burned out with doing the online outsourcing thing, then asking for referrals is the next best thing. Even you're not the most social, it helps to be at least familiar with niche groups that can provide leads on freelancers, complementary businesses, and anything else that will make operations run smoother.  While some may take issue with meeting people in a streaming environment, remember that options may be available.  An alternate might be a few members meeting in a small space that's set up for local social distancing guidelines.

While these tips may start with a lot of 'ifs', consider ideas that work best with your operation when the unexpected occurs.  Bookmark important web pages if you can't print these at the moment or add the links (with descriptions) to your online memo app.  It also can't hurt to inquire about the cost estimates early and compare with their competitors.  This way you won't feel pressured to pay premium costs or know how early to lock in a good price.

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