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Should I make the leap from freelancer to small business?

start promote businessWritten by Helen Collingham

It’s a question many of us will have asked ourselves from time to time, but when is the right time to make the leap from being just another freelancer to an all-powerful entrepreneur at the head of a new UK small business empire? Or should you be doing it at all? Here are some things to consider and some new career advice if that’s what you decide to do.

There are certain expenses you won’t have now

When you start putting together a proposal to turn your plan into a real business, you’ll start to come across certain small business expenses that you may not have thought of before. For example, you’ll need to check what kind of insurance policy you’ll require. Sites like MoneySupermarket will give you a guide to the differences between these as well as links to the best business insurance deals, but it’s good to think about these financial matters sooner rather than later.

You may virtually be a business already

If you’ve been a freelancer for some time, you may well have a great handle on everything from paying tax to invoicing and keeping on top of your workloads. If this is the case, you may virtually be a business in everything but name only anyway and it might just be a case of rethinking the way you sell yourself. Think about how you attract freelancing work as it is, and if there are potential contracts to be won from these businesses. If not, maybe you are in a stronger position as you are.

Selling your services is essential – and the web can help

Nowadays, if you’re looking for a product or service, what’s the first thing you do? Most people will probably answer ‘head to the internet’, so if you don’t have an online presence to help sell what you do its time you changed that. You can pick up a domain name very cheaply, install software like WordPress and link up your social networking accounts in an afternoon and there are plenty of online guides that will help you do this.

The current economic climate can be tough on small businesses, so it’s well worth thinking hard about whether you are better off as a freelancer than you are as a company. The truth is, the differences between the two can actually be very minimal, so if you are doing well as you are it may be an idea to hold off until the market improves. If you do decide to proceed though, there are plenty of tools out there to help you.

Helen Collingham is a business blogger specialising in start-ups and online businesses. She focuses on integrating innovative aspects of web to benefit new and existing businesses. And when she’s not got her commercial head on she can be found blogging about holidays.

Photo credit: mikeinlondon via Flickr cc

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About GregDillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at http://gdinspires.com. He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched Strat-Talking.com - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: greg@gdinspires.com or follow on Twitter @StratTalking

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