By: Mary Shannon
As a freelancer, you have fantastic professional freedom. You don’t have to report to a boss or office and can choose how, when, and for whom you want to work. Establishing your freelance gig as a formal business lets you take your career to the next level, boosting your profile and driving success. It helps to become familiar with a few practical steps you can expect to encounter. Use these tips from Mark Zarr to help you out.
Establish a formal business entity
Registering your business as a formal legal entity with your state differentiates your business from you as a person. This provides legal advantages, protecting your personal assets in case your business ever gets into trouble with the law. It can also provide other perks, like tax benefits. Bench offers a guide to the main types of legal entities, including sole proprietorship, partnership, C corporation, S corporation and limited liability company.
Set up a business banking account
Once your business is formally registered, you can open a business banking account. This will make it easier to keep your personal and business finances separate, which will streamline bookkeeping and tax filing. In case you’re ever audited by the IRS, it will also simplify matters. Business Comparison offers a guide to some popular business bank accounts, allowing you to contrast everything from monthly fees to interest rates.
Make sure you’re in line with tax regulations
You might think that as a small business owner, you’re unlikely to get audited by the IRS. Think again. According to CPA Practice Advisor, the IRS has plans to increase audits of smaller enterprises. Enlist the help of an accountant to ensure you’re in line with state and federal tax reporting and filing requirements. For example, businesses usually need to file taxes quarterly—unlike individuals who just file annually.
Create a comprehensive marketing plan
Once you’ve completed the administrative essentials of setting up your small business, you can move on to marketing. So, as an official business entity and not just a free agent, how do you want to present your brand to the world? Draft a comprehensive marketing plan. BuildFire has a list of effective promotional tactics for small businesses covering everything from pay-per-click advertisements to social media.
Leverage social media
Using multiple social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can be a great way to market your business and connect with your customers. When you post content across multiple platforms, be sure to use tools like a photo size editor to ensure that your image appears consistent. If you need help professionalizing the look and feel of your social media pages, enlist the help of Mark Zarr to get you looking right.
Take steps to scale up
As your marketing takes effect and your business increases, you’ll want to take steps to scale up. This could mean hiring employees, for example. If you’ve been working alone for years, you may be nervous about making this move. However, it’s critical if you’re going to continue to grow.
Use tech tools to stay on top of your admin, finances, and more
You don’t want to get overwhelmed as your business grows. Trust modern technology to streamline and simplify day-to-day operations. Connect Team offers a list of free tools you can use to help run your new company. For example, Google Docs allows for easy document sharing, while MailChimp allows you to easily manage and automate email newsletter marketing.
While making the shift from freelancer to entrepreneur may seem daunting at first, it isn’t that complicated. With a methodological, stepwise approach like the one described above, you can soon call yourself a bona fide business owner.
This article is brought to you by Mark Zarr, a Professor of Business & Marketing and a Graphic and Website Designer. For more information about his services, please visit his website or contact him today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Shannon created SeniorsMeet.org, along with her husband, Bob, to have a website that allows seniors to meet up and talk about topics that are relevant to their daily lives. They hope to build SeniorsMeet into a supportive community of like-minded seniors.