Articles - 4th February 2021

Thinking of yourself as a business is the best way to build your freelance career

Words by Maxine Harrison
Illustration by James Merritt

There are various arguments out there of whether freelancers should be categorised as business owners, or whether they are an entirely separate entity.

While freelancing does have its own unique nature, as a freelancer, you are self-employed and therefore the Government views you as having your own business.

So why shouldn’t you?

The way you view yourself affects the way you perform. In that light, here are some tips on why thinking of yourself as a business owner is the best way to build your freelance career:


CEO Mindset

As a freelancer, you have full control over the direction you want to take your business; just like any other business owner or entrepreneur. Viewing yourself as a business owner helps you adopt more of a CEO mindset in making big decisions for your freelance business. You deal with taxes, the behind-the-scenes aspect of your business, as well as being the face of the company. Of course you can also hire another freelancer to help you with the behind-the-scenes aspects of your business, but until you do, you will be wearing all of these hats.

A CEO mindset can help drive you to think more about the aspects of business building that you didn’t think about before, like business insurance or accounting. Adopting this mindset can help you put more value on your freelance work.


You are a contributing member to the economy

Freelancers currently contribute about £125 billion to the UK economy. The most recent statistics indicate that there a currently over 2 million Freelancers in the UK and the majority of these people work as a freelancer as their main career. When you view yourself as a business owner and see yourself represented as part of the bigger picture in what you are adding to the economy, it helps you recognise your position and importance more.

Naturally, most freelancers are predominantly solopreneurs, but when you see stats like the ones above, it helps you recognise that your business is something bigger than yourself.


You can collaborate with other business owners

Many freelancers view other freelancers as collaborators, rather than competitors; which is fairly unique compared to other business types. This is because freelancers can often work together via referral.

For example, if you’re a freelance writer, collaborating and opening the conversation with a freelance web designer could be a great match because when they work on projects that may need a writer, they can call you and you can do the same for them.

By viewing yourself as a business owner, you can see these fellow business owners as collaborators which can help build your brand awareness in the long run.


You’ll pay more attention to your brand  

In this modern day, people are more drawn to seeing the person operating behind the brand more, and expect to connect with them in a more personal way. It helps build the know and trust factor, which is a big part of winning a longterm client.

Through viewing yourself as a business owner, you’re likely to pay more attention to the way you present yourself as a brand. This will affect your marketing strategy and can therefore help you appear more professional.

For example, it can help you be more intentional with the colours you use when producing content, as this could be affiliated with your brand colours. You’re likely to be more consistent with a particular strategy, rather than randomly sharing content, as if it’s your own personal account.

Implementing more content marketing strategies, like newsletters, or even blogging, are steps that business owners should take to connect more with their audience and it requires consistency. Brand tone, brand voice and knowing your audience are all important features to building your business and growing it.


It will help you consider your career in the long run

If you view your freelancing as a business, it helps you to see your freelancing as something that will be operating in the long run and you will therefore act accordingly.

For example, you can apply for funding support. Although many freelancers can get started with little to no funding, all businesses need some help every now and then. Through viewing yourself as a business, you’re more likely to start actively looking for funding opportunities to help scale your business.

Scaling doesn’t have to mean hiring a whole staff team, it could mean still operating as a solopreneur, but investing in better equipment or software to help you better run your business.

Applying for awards, or even being nominated for them, is something also available for business owners like freelancers.

Thinking of the long-term implications of your business can help you with building a long-term strategy which can then in turn increase your brand awareness. And brand awareness, means more potential clients.


You are a creator! 

Creating  and sustaining a business is a huge achievement! Embracing your freelance work as something you own rather than something that you are helps you view yourself as a creator. You have created a business that is working and therefore can see more clearly the power you have to produce value outside of yourself. Your work is bigger than you and is helping others with their business too! If this were not true, you would not have a freelance career.

You run a business now. That’s pretty cool.

We champion the freelancers and every entrepreneur who took a leap of faith with their idea.

If this sounds like you, head over to our Virtual Office and send us your best work via an UnderPinned Portfolio. We want to hear from you!

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