Featured News, Freelance Life, Opinion Pieces

Are you really in business if you’re making no money?

January 23, 2015

THE BUSINESS OF MAKING MONEY FOR FREELANCERS

Start your business on the right foot. Start a business with a plan to make money. 

I know that advice may sound like a given, but you’d be surprised how many small business owners, startup founders and entrepreneurs have put idea before profitability.

I can tell you though, if you start a business with making money firmly in mind, you’re ahead of the curve.

When I started freelancing, it never occurred to me to not make money.

I was living by myself in my 30s. And I wasn’t about to default on my rent, stop eating or get into credit card debt. I certainly wasn’t about to start asking my parents to support my lifestyle. Nor was I interested in hitting up my boyfriend for a combined bank account or pocket money.

No. I started freelancing with clients lined up, some small amount of savings in the bank and the resolve to make money from my fledgling business idea.

There was no safety net. Plan B was “go get a real job”.

Working without pay was never a part of the equation.

However, the more time I spend networking (online and off), the more I hear stories of ‘The other half’ and loans paying for business ideas. Boyfriends, husbands, girlfriends and wives are paying for other people to freelance, start a business or be the next personally branded life coach sensation. And yet, the business model isn’t planning to generate a profit while the luxury of the other person’s employment remains. All while the money is being spent on education, networking and the business idea.

Those conversations scare the hell out of me.

Money isn’t an optional extra when you are in business.

That’s why you’re in business in the first place!

Besides…

Earning money teaches you things

When you start your business, having your arse on the line is a critical part of your chance of success. Being reliant on your own money and doing your own thing is probably two of the most liberating things you can do with your life.

If the only thing between you and poverty is you and your skills, you become inventive. You start to understand how the business world works. And by not having any and having to work your butt off for it, it teaches you to get better at making it.

Not being paid by clients taught me to not accept excuses in lieu of cold hard cash. It taught me to invoice properly, to have proper terms and conditions, and to become annoyingly good at debt collection.

Living in the freelance world where wages and work are not a certainty taught me to get good at self promotion. It made me interested in learning the finer points of SEO and it pushed me to make content a priority. Needing to market myself made me a better marketer.

No money means you become amazing at hustling. It teaches you to lose the fear of sales pages and picking up the phone. It makes writing to a complete stranger via email to sell your wares viable.

If you have no money, you become resourceful at finding it and attracting more of the same.

But most importantly, if you have to ache for your own money, you learn the value of it. If you don’t have the money to go to a 3 day conference, you don’t go. Screw who is presenting and how amazing the opportunity is. Rent, food and life comes first.

Once you start earning money without a regular pay cycle, it’s easier to say no to crap items you don’t need, little treats, pick me ups and a thousand other trinkets and baubles that are not worthy of your cash.

You learn to respect cash if your man or your mum isn’t paying your way.

Do you really want to be in business?

Join me for the 100 days of Freelance. It’s designed to any solo operator kick serious butt.

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  • Adeline Teoh April 17, 2015 at 17:10

    The biggest problem is many freelancers do not realise they are running a business. They think of freelancing as ‘working for myself’ or ‘an alternative to a regular job’. Once they make the switch to understand they are running a business with one employee in it, these messages get through a whole lot easier!

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