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Last week I wrote about the fastest way I know to become self-employed, so this week let's talk about the next phase once you successfully become a self-employed freelancer!
I also told you I'm going to share my own personal MASTERPLAN (spoken in an evil villain's voice with generous, deep muhahaha's!) to transition out of earning nearly 100% of my income from freelancing.
So, first off:
What is the difference between self-employment and a business owner?
Phase 1 of self-employment is the work-your-ass-off-by-yourself phase.
You do own a biz, but you're the only one in the biz. You do everything!
The next step up is when you start to hire help. That's the graduation from technically defined sole-proprietor to business owner. You have minions!
When does a self-employed freelancer become a business owner?
A service-based freelancer becomes a business owner when the majority of her income comes from either services that others fulfill for her OR non-service-based activities and assets.
- Blog posts that earn affiliate income
- Online courses
- Online course royalties (Skillshare, Udemy, Lynda)
- Digital products in an e-commerce site (your website, Etsy, Spoonflower, Society6 etc.)
- Digital products in a graphic design market like The Creative Market
- Joint venture promotions with other affiliate brands
And lots more.
The mega difference between services and assets is time.
Services rely on a piece of your time. So no matter how high you price it when you kickass at whatever you do, you'll still always be giving away your time.
There are two main ways to grow for a self-employed freelancer, and one is definitely not for introverts!
So at some point after you become a self-employed freelancer, you're going to look at your future and see two routes to earning more, outside of simply charging more for your limited time:
- Go bigger: Hire help and start an agency. Become an employer!
- Keep it small: Stay solo and create a lot of digital assets. Have a few contractors to help when you need them.
Personally, when I envisioned myself running an agency, I saw myself hiding under my desk and avoiding my phone - I'm an introvert so dealing with a lot of people is not my thing!
So route #2 is for me, and it's what my MASTERPLAN is all about.
Why I am transitioning out of freelancing...
I've shared my journey from unemployed to self-employed freelancer / social media manager and how to do what I did.
Then I shared how I became a pet-sitting digital nomad living rent-free, which helped me survive those first feast-and-famine freelancing years.
And I hope I've seeded those ideas and given some hope and confidence in at least one creative woman out there, which is my mission with Hexotica!
I sincerely want more creative women to kickass and live their dreams. To stop being reliant on parents, partners, employers, and anyone else, and become truly self-reliant income-earners on their own damn terms.
But I still have a long way to go before I am where I want to be, which is to own a business that relies on assets for more than 50% of my income.
I've been fluctuating between as little as $1,000 a month up to $6,000 a month for four years now, and I'm tired of the insecurity of relying on clients' businesses. There are too many factors out of my control.
Also, the nature of most services is that they are customized to each client, so every new client takes a tremendous amount of onboarding. Despite my highly systematized workflows, I inevitably spend a lot of time catering to the needs of individual clients.
My guess is that many other self-employed freelancers feel the same, so this plan is for you, too.
My personal MASTERPLAN for self-employed freelancers who want to build an income from digital assets.
Ok, so excuse the bits that sound like jargon and make question marks pop out of your head - ALL of these will be explained in detail in upcoming posts and videos.
- Build my email list to 1,000 subscribers. Currently my #1 focus!
- Consistently blog and market to build web traffic and grow my list (Blogs ARE assets, and I've already monetized a few of mine.)
- Create and sell a core low-ticket offer (LTO) organically to that list to test it.
- If it's successful, raise the price and sell the LTO via ads as a profitable list-building asset.
- Attached to that LTO is what is known as an order bump and an upsell offer. These are a part of a LTO sales funnel.
- Continue to sell and refine the LTO everywhere I can. As my email list grows, I can then go on to sell higher-ticket offers of any kind, so long as it jams well with my LTO funnel and the audience I've gathered in my list.
Email list building is THE most important task of a new online business. Unfortunately, it's one we busy freelancers often neglect as we're so focused on our client work!
But without an email list, you don't have anything to work with to evolve your business.
So no matter where you're at now, focus on your list for later down the track.
Want to join me on this journey from a self-employed freelancer to a digital asset-based business owner?
Join me and other creative women on this journey and get my first-hand, in-the-trenches experiences is in my Facebook group, Marketing for Creative and Unconventional Women.
Whether you are employed / unemployed now and looking for help becoming self-employed online, or you are comfortably earning a living as a freelancer like I am, but looking to build more online income streams, this group is for you.
It's not for women who don't support other women or celebrate other women's successes - no matter how much more successful they are than you. I believe that when we celebrate each other's successes, we help all women, including ourselves and our mental health.
Come and join us and let's grow our online empires together!