“Wait, what? I’m a business? But I’m just one person following my passion.” This would be the typical response to such a statement. Yes, your following your passion and doing something you genuinely love, but also, take a step back, and look at your wider duties. If you don’t start treating yourself as a business, you may lose it all.
For instance, you’re a design freelancer who does design work for clients. On paper yes, but I’ll bet you also manage your own website and the content you choose to publish on it, you market yourself on various social media platforms, and if you work with ‘large’ enough clients, you draw up contracts for your work, and you get paid through Paypal.
How many jobs have been listed there? Enough for a small business to hire for each role. You play the part of a web developer, a marketer, an accountant, and a lawyer in this case, among other occupations depending on your process and which field of work you freelance in. It’s a lot of work, which is why being a freelancer is so difficult, and so time-consuming.
The beauty of these services is that they are (for the most part) freely available online.
Services such as ‘Paypal’ for handling how you receive payments. Apps such as ‘Shake’ and ‘Docracy’ allow you to draft and send contracts to clients easily and affordably. Along with the availability of tutorials and videos on Youtube to teach you software. It’s never been easier to expand your knowledge and broadcast your services.
With this cultural shift to an online presence, comes disintermediation, the cutting out of the middle man. There is now less of a reason to follow traditional distribution channels.
As an example, if you sell t-shirts from your own online store. Cutting out the middle man to you as a business, allows you to maintain control of your output in your process, meaning, you get the full cut of what you sell, you control how, when, and where you want to market yourself and deliver your content. You receive full credit, if not more for being knowledgable in the full line of distribution and production. You own the supply chain, you choose what you want to do, and how you want to do it.
The age we live in allows us to be whatever we choose, and at an incredible pace. It allows us to each become our own business, it allows us to cut out the middle man and do it in a relatively short time frame. The world has never been so accessible for young entrepreneurs.
The fault with being the supply chain is that you bear the full responsibility of the entire chain. A lot more effort is required to and more knowledge of each link in the supply chain. If something goes wrong or a problem arises, it will require more of your precious time to fix that problem, time that could be going into the increasing the value or quality of your work. Which, ultimately, is the reason you are in the circumstance of selling and distributing products online. Someone values your work and high production values so much that they support you by ordering from you.
It’s more important to provide quality and value in the production of your work.
There are both positives and negatives to being a business in this sense, your process is easier without them, your passing the responsibility onto a third-party to look after that particular service. But by using them, your relinquishing control over that service. This also detracts from your ability to control how your audience interacts with your brand.
You know your brand, you know what you want to control, and what you wish to broadcast, how much you want to price your goods and services at. This is what you give up by using a middleman and being on another platform, your coming under their terms. The rewards are greater if you build yourself as a business, use as little third party help as possible, and be as knowledgable about the process as you can. You will know what you can and can’t do, or maybe don’t want to do. That’s the beauty of accessibility.
Start seeing yourself as a business. The opportunities have never been greater and the processes easier to understand. You can build yourself into anything you want.