If you’ve been rocking the solo freelancer career for a while, you’ve likely got a handle on what works and what doesn’t.
You know how to land new clients, create a budget for your business, and how to build solid relationships.
You’ve probably also considered different ways to grow your business, including whether or not to take the agency approach and build a team of creatives.
If you’re unsure about the direction you should go in, here are four signs that you’re ready to take your business from solo to studio.
1. You’re turning down great opportunities
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, oftentimes the goal is to find as many clients as possible in order to stack your portfolio and build a steady stream of business. But after a while, once new work and client bookings start to flow in, you may find yourself with *too* much work on your plate and be forced to turn down new projects.
First of all, it should be said that if you’re in the position to turn down work, give yourself a big pat on the back because you’re clearly doing something right. A full client roster, consistent bookings, or even a waitlist of clients wanting to work with you are all signs of a healthy freelance business. And if this works for you, then more power to you! There’s no need to change something that’s working well. That being said, if you’re itching for a change, these are also signs that you’re ready to scale.
If your workload is at capacity, then it’s time to consider collaborating with fellow freelancers to outsource some of the work. With a team, you can say yes to bigger projects and even increase your rates. Sounds a lot better than turning down work as a solo freelancer, right?
2. You’re getting project requests outside of your expertise
If you specialize in something, whether that’s website development, brand strategy, or copywriting, then chances are that’s what potential clients will most often contact you for. But sometimes your existing clients may want to hire you for additional services outside of your expertise. If you start getting requests about services that you don’t currently offer, take note as this could be an opportunity to scale.
For example, maybe you’re a website designer and you find that clients tend to ask if SEO optimization is included in the scope. While you could try to learn everything there is to know about SEO and add that to your services, this would be a much more valuable opportunity to team up with an SEO specialist. Not only will you be able to focus on what you’re good at, but you can also charge more for the project since it’s a greater scope of work. A win-win.
3. You already have a network of collaborators
If you’ve been freelancing for some time now, odds are you’ve built a network of independent creatives to reach out to for advice, to bounce ideas off of, or even refer clients to. And during a time where there’s an incredibly high demand for creative talent, having a highly curated network can be valuable when working with both new and existing clients.
Consider tapping into your network to see if there’s an opportunity to team up and land bigger clients. After all, other freelancers are your community, not your competition.
4. You’re ready to scale your business
Sometimes you don’t need a sign that you’re ready to grow; you just know.
As a freelancer, there are only so many options for scaling your business. You could raise your rates, take on more clients, or create new service offerings. But let’s be honest, all of those options still require a ton of time investment and there are only so many hours in the day as a solo shop.
If you truly want to scale your business, then you need to consider changing up your business model and building a studio. A studio allows you to reach out to bigger clients, increase your scope work, and, ultimately, increase your revenue.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already seen the signs that you’re ready to scale. So use this as an opportunity to plan out your next move. Team up, create bigger scopes, and land that dream client by taking your business from solo to studio.