August 3, 2018
Whoops! I started a business
Whether you call yourself a freelancer or a consultant or whatever, the day you went out on your own, you started a business.
But most people I advise don’t seem to think of it like this. When asked about how they got started, they say things like:
- “I quit my job and started freelancing.”
- “I got fed up with the bureaucracy and decided to hang out my my own shingle.”
- “When I found out the rate the agency was billing me out at, I decided to cut out the middle man and consult with clients directly ”
Very rarely does someone say to me, “I quit my job and started my own business.”
You might not have incorporated or hired employees or leased office space, but when you went out on your own, you started a business.
It’s important to be conscious of this because running a business - even a solo operation - requires specific skills just like any other complex undertaking.
You didn’t become a good coder (or writer or designer or illustrator or photographer or lawyer) overnight. You put in long hours learning your craft.
Well, guess what?
Business-ing is a craft, too. And as such, you need to put in some serious effort to get good at it. Marketing, sales, finance, operations, and so on.
If getting better at the craft of business doesn’t interest you, that’s totally fine! There’s no shame in that. Becoming a business person isn’t the right path for everyone.
The moral of the story is this:
If you are self-employed but have never considered yourself a business owner, it probably makes sense to give some serious thought to whether you want to learn the craft of business, or if you’d rather leave the biz stuff to someone else and stick to coding (or whatever your current focus is).
Picking neither of these options and staying in undecided limbo-land is sure to result in a stressful and unsatisfying situation eventually.