BONUS: Ask Rezzz Extra where you will see the tools I use when I automate.
What does "scale" mean?
Scale is such a dangerous word these days.
“Scale” in a business sense often refers to growing the business in a profitable way.
When I hear scaling in the freelance world, it’s meant to grow the business, but often referring to automation, adding people, adding more products/services.
It’s important to remember why you are freelancing in the first place.
- If you are looking to grow your freelancing into building an agency, then you want to take steps that put you on the path to that.
- If you are looking to grow your freelancing so that you can spend more time at home with family, then you want to take steps to do that.
- If you are looking to grow your freelancing in a way that puts you in a position to get bought out, then you want to take steps to do that.
These are just 3 goals business owners have, but the question about scaling your freelance business in each case is very different.
Scale = Profits
There’s a keyword to the definition of “scale” that is often overlooked.
I can’t speak to building an agency or looking to get bought out, but I can speak to wanting to spend more time with my family.
Profitability is the key to the success of any business, not just a point scaling your business.
But when it does come to scaling, there will be an initial investment and cost analysis that has to take place in order grow.
Let me explain what I mean by this.
For me when I look to scale a part of my business, I tend to turn to automation first.
Because rather than hiring a human that I need to manage, land more projects to support that salary, and essentially put more time into the business.
I can leverage my skills as a developer or leverage tools that exist in the market today to help me automate. This is usually a low-cost or no-cost long-term investment with all the time being spent upfront. Which on the back-end frees up the time I want to spend with my family.
So initially I’ll have to put some time into:
- documenting the processes
- finding a tool or coding up a solution
- then integrating the automation into the business
- finally iterating on that automation as needed
But once that automation is in place, it hums along and frees up time for me to do other things.
Keep in mind, before automating something, I always do things manually at first. Multiple times even to make sure I know the pieces of the processes work and are needed for the business to grow.
Putting that initial time may cost me a bit of profit at first, but after it’s in place for some time and I can see and know it’s working and accomplishing what I need it to accomplish, that’s when the initial investment turns around into more profits.
Don't scale if you don't know
This is where the danger lies in the word “scale”.
People want to scale first and fast before really knowing if the business can scale.
People hire too fast and then find the business crippled by having to pay salaries. Two examples of this are Brennan Dunn’s and Matt Inglot’s stories.
People automate because they want to use that shiny new tool. They really don’t even know if the process works for the business first, they just do it because they’ve seen someone else have success for it.
When thinking about scaling your freelance business, remember why you are doing freelance in the first place. Having that focus in front of you and making sure that profits are taken into account, will help you in deciding how to scale your business.
Growing your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
What are emerging platforms for freelancers?
Is automation necessary to grow a business?
How do you get away from a client that is most of your work?
How do you handle two target markets for different services?
Do certifications work for growing a freelance business?
Why do things that don't scale?
Are you comfortable?
How do you find other freelancers you can work and partner up with?
How can I share a tool for freelancers?
How viable is it to a find a job as a front-end web developer as a freelancer in the current market?
How do I improve my communication skills and confidence in public?
How did you scale your freelance business?
How to raise your rates at any time?
How to handle a bad referral?
Do you have any tip to increase productivity and motivation?
What is your biggest failure as a freelancer?
How do I grow my audience and awareness?
What is the first step in productizing your service?
How long does it take?
What is the benefit of a business coach?
Why don’t you grow your business?
Are you reviewing your sales process?
How do you make a productized service?
How to make business habits stick?
How to sell your productized service?
How to add a productized service to my business?
Where do you find freelance clients?
A podcast for freelancers
How to onboard a new client?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach