Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Not a Freelancer

Today, with 57 million freelancers in the United States alone, it’s no wonder that many individuals are looking for ways to make money for themselves. However, as a career, freelancing is more than just a side-hustle. It’s a full-fledged business and in order to be successful, you need to think like an entrepreneur.

Tapping into this mindset is the key to getting over your fear of being a successful freelancer. When you think of your endeavor as a business, you can position yourself as a professional and start to earn a sustainable income (and more!).

But developing an entrepreneur mindset doesn’t happen immediately. You need to restructure the way you look at freelancing and how you operate as a business.

Because that’s what you are!

To get started on, here are three important steps you should take to think like an entrepreneur as well as some tips on running your freelancing efforts as a business.

The Entrepreneur Mindset

Many freelancers don’t start off their working life by freelancing. The majority of today’s freelancers started by working for someone else and earning money from an employer.

This creates a mindset that the only way to have a reliable income is to work for a business or company that pays its employees at regular intervals.

For those looking to shift into freelance work, the transition can be stressful and scary. Suddenly, you are responsible for finding work, invoicing clients, and getting paid.

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However, when you think like an entrepreneur and approach your freelance business with an entrepreneur mindset, you have the confidence and self-motivation to manage yourself and be your own boss.

When you approach your freelancing business as an entrepreneur, you are able to overcome challenges, make decisions, and accept responsibility for those decisions. To do so, you are constantly improving your skills and learning from your mistakes.

If you’re willing to do the work, you can think like an entrepreneur!

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Fake It Until You Make It

Developing an entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t happen overnight – and neither does the success of your freelancing business.

However, it’s important to stay positive about your endeavors since negative thoughts can have a negative impact on your business.

To do this you sometimes have to fake it until you make it. Approach your freelance business as if you are an entrepreneur and eventually you will gain the confidence to build a successful business and earn a steady income.

Find Your Passion

Entrepreneurs are enthusiastic and full of ideas. To tap into this entrepreneur mindset as a freelancer, you have to follow your passion.

Passion is what is going to give you the motivation to keep working and find success. It will help get you through the struggles and reach your long-term goals.

Being passionate means loving what you are doing and being happy to work every day.

It also means being excited about the future of your freelancing business!

Just remember that your passion at work doesn’t have to match your passion in life. Not everything you love doing personally has to be translated into your freelancing business.

To think like an entrepreneur, think about what excites you when you sit down to work. Are you crazy about content writing? Digital marketing? Organizing?

Whatever it is you are passionate about when it comes to freelancing is what you should devote your time and energy to!

Learn From Your Set-Backs

Becoming an entrepreneur is a learning curve. Sure, you can learn the skills in school but applying them in the real world is a trial-and-error experience.

The same goes for freelancing. You will make mistakes in the beginning and have to learn new skills in order to find success.

For example, when you spend your life being paid by someone else, you may not know much about accounting, invoicing, etc. In the beginning, you may end up making mistakes but these are amazing learning opportunities.

You may market yourself in one niche but realize that your skills are best suited for another.

You may start out by writing blog content but find your passion lies in marketing.

Entrepreneurs don’t expect to jump into ventures and achieve success right away. They cultivate their ideas, see what works, and learn from their setbacks.

You should expect the same as a freelancer if you want to think like an entrepreneur.

How To Operate Your Freelance Business Like an Entrepreneur

Now that you know what it takes to think like an entrepreneur, let’s look at how you can begin to operate your freelance business using this new mindset.

1. Have a Clear Vision

As an entrepreneur, you are constantly planning your next step. You know where you are going and how to get there only if you have a clear vision of your business.

Your vision is the “picture” of what your business is going to look like in the future.

Setting specific KPI’s (key performance indicators) such as:

  • Number of sales
  • Customer or client retention
  • Customer or client growth
  • Social media impact and growth

These KPIs help you focus your efforts on what is going to help build a successful business as a new entrepreneur.

2. Surround Yourself With Other Entrepreneurs

think like an entrepreneur

If you want to move away from thinking like an entrepreneur and be the entrepreneur you strive for, you have to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs.

These are the people who will inspire you and motivate you to keep going – even when things get tough! Entrepreneurs understand what it’s like to work all day, create ideas for their business at night, and be excited about working on their business even when nobody’s watching.

As a business owner, you constantly need people to hold you accountable and encourage you to keep going!

When your friends and family know you’re an entrepreneur, they will better understand why you need time by yourself to work on your dream.

This will help avoid the “I never see you anymore” conversation because let’s be real here – as an entrepreneur you will work long hours – more so than as a freelancer with one or two clients – and your family needs to give you that space for your business to succeed.

But while you would agree that in order to be successful, you need to be able to focus on you work, it’s just as important for you to have a good work-life balance.

If you don’t take time for yourself, you will eventually burn out and won’t be able to achieve anything. That’s why it’s important for entrepreneurs to make sure they set aside time each day for themselves, even if it’s just an hour or two.

Having a set morning routine such as meditation and yoga can help entrepreneurs rest and recharge so they can continue working effectively later on.

3. Learn from Failing

When you watch an entrepreneur on TV, read about them online, or follow them on social media, they often make it look easy! They may have succeeded at other business ventures before but that doesn’t mean they will succeed this time.

There are many failed entrepreneurs out there because starting a business takes work and perseverance. These are the people who will be your guiding light and teach you what NOT to do.

You can learn from their mistakes and build a stronger idea for your own business in the process.

And don’t be afraid to fail in your business.

Failure actually happens all the time. The difference between successful entrepreneurs and unsuccessful ones is that successful entrepreneurs are more resilient when it comes to failure. They take risks because they know that learning from mistakes is part of being an entrepreneur.

4. Take Risks

As an entrepreneur, you need to be prepared to take risks with your ideas. Some of them will work out and some won’t but the most successful entrepreneurs are constantly working on their business – even when things aren’t going well.

Your clients or customers will appreciate that you always want to improve your products or services because they see your dedication and trust your brand.

These clients or customers will have a greater level of loyalty toward your company and they will become your number one advocate in the world when you take those risks.

Prior to creating a program for freelance writers, I was knee-deep in client work. While I loved writing for businesses and brands, I needed to take that step and become an entrepreneur. It was a risk for me. I started coaching and realized many of these fabulous freelancers had the same problems and asked the same questions.

This is what helped me create my program. To market my program I took another risk – create a webinar for the first time. I wasn’t the best speaker – and I even received “hate” mail from this – but I generated sales. If I never took those risks, I would never have had the chance to help thousands of writers make a living writing.

5. Adapting is Key

think like an entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, there is nobody who will guide you or tell you how it’s done. You need to figure out what works best for you and your business. This requires adapting to different variables along the way.

This means that when a new change comes into play in your business, you need to figure out a way around it in order for your business to progress.

I decided to diversify my income and focus on new business ideas as a way to adapt to the changing industry.

We had to adapt and learn new skills in order to adapt to the changes.

You Are An Entrepreneur!

There are many schools of thought out there as to whether freelancing is entrepreneurship or something different.

However, when it comes down to it, even though you are working for yourself and by yourself, you are running a business.

And this definitely makes you an entrepreneur – so the time is now to think like an entrepreneur!!

By taking your freelance business seriously with an entrepreneurial mindset, you are setting yourself up to find success.

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Millo Articles by Elna Cain

Elna Cain is a SaaS writer who provides helpful guides on content marketing, freelancing and small business advice. She's been featured on Leadpages, Bluehost, Business Insider and Entrepreneur. She works closely with SaaS businesses helping them rank in Google and grow their leads. Make sure to pick up Elna's new guide, The Business Plan for Freelance Writers.
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