So many of us start our businesses as a side hustle—or even a hobby—and aren’t quite sure what to do once it takes off. While it’s an extremely exciting turn of events, it can also be difficult to get out of the freelancer mindset and into the mindset of a business owner. But here’s the thing: you’re not a hobbyist. And if you want to continue on this path to a full-time income and the ability to stay afloat no matter the season of your business, it’s important to to make the shift in your mentality; thinking of yourself as a CEO is the only way you’ll be able to scale smoothly and consistently.
There’s a quote that I’ve come across on a variety of business accounts and Pinterest posts, and it couldn’t be more true — “Treat your business like a business and it will pay you like a business. Treat your business like a hobby and it will cost you like a hobby.” So today, I’m breaking down my top 5 ways to start treating your business like a business, and to stop thinking about your endeavor as nothing more than a little extra cash in your pocket.
I know what you’re thinking—it can’t be that easy. But hey, it’s a seriously important step in the process to identifying as a CEO. When you introduce yourself to people and say something along the lines of, “I help people buy clothes for fun,” or, “I freelance as a stylist once in a while,” it sounds a HELL of a lot different than saying, “I own a personal styling business.”
Owning your role (and the significance of it) will help you start feeling more confident, which will in turn cause you to shift your mindset from side-gig to full-time job. And yes, it can feel vulnerable to start introducing yourself as a business owner. Imposter syndrome is very real, and it runs deep in all of us. But think of it this way; if someone you knew or just met told you they own a business, would you think twice? Absolutely not. You’d accept it as fact. So do yourself a favor, and start giving yourself credit for all of the amazing work that you’re doing. You own a business. And you’re damn good at it, too.
With the rise and popularity of social media, this may be a slightly controversial opinion, but you absolutely NEED to have a website for your business. Your website is your online home, and it legitimizes your business and showcases your professionalism.
You can’t rely on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Fiverr, and Upwork because you don’t own them, and you can’t control how they’re run. So, you might be doing really well on one of these platforms at first, but are at the mercy of algorithm changes, rule changes, the addition of fees, etc. You could even lose your online presence altogether if your profile gets taken down by mistake.
However, you will own your website. That means that you can rely on it being there no matter what, and it will be a constant presence that you can point potential clients to, or clients can find you organically. But here’s the caveat — having a website isn’t *quite* enough. Your website needs to reflect the level of service you provide and work you create. So if DIY-ing it isn’t your strong suit, this is a worthwhile investment to make.
No, it’s not good to accept payments from your clients in the form of cash or personal Venmo. While processing fees suck, they’re part of the cost of doing business, and using a payment processor will serve you well in the long run.
You’ll look more professional, you’ll have a clear paper trail for bookkeeping/accounting, and your business will feel more “official” when you bring in an income. You can accept payments through Stripe or Square (or any other alternative that’s on the same level), and you’ll be legit when sending invoices to people paying you their hard-earned money.
To soften the blow of any processing fees, you can build them in to your available packages and rates. This way, you’re not losing out on the income you need to stay afloat, but you’re keeping things above board at the same time.
Word-of-mouth referrals are fantastic, but there will come a time in your business that you need to put more effort into marketing. And when you do so, you’ll start to feel more in control of the success of your business, and more invested in its growth.
Think about how you want to present your business to the world—and what benefits you’ll provide to your clients through your work—and start sharing. Create a content plan and stick to it. Marketing can seem extremely intimidating because you need to have a lot of forethought, and you’re putting yourself out there. If you’re new, it’s also another time when imposter syndrome comes calling. What could you possibly have to share that’s of any value? But here’s the thing — you know what you’re doing. You just have to believe it enough to click “publish.” And once you start seeing results, you’ll start to believe it more and more, and you’ll gain the confidence you need to have to run your business effectively.
Are you ready to start treating your business like, well, a business? Here are some ways I can offer help:
Contact me to start working on setting up business systems that make life MUCH easier here.
Apply for my 6-Figure Intensive to get a strategic plan for your business here.
Visit the blog and get all of my best tips and tricks.