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Can you be a “freelancer” and a “small business owner”?

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Recently I had a conversation with Boston-based design firm owner, Jonathan Cleveland, about his evolution from freelancer to design firm owner.  He said for a while, he called himself both freelancer and design firm owner while he was working a part-time job to pay the bills.

20 years ago, while he was “freelancing,” Jonathan knew that he wanted to be a firm owner and provide more comprehensive service for his clients. He realized that by asserting himself in a different way, even with existing clients who had hired him as a freelancer, he was able to shift their perception of what he was capable of doing. They started to give him different jobs, and paying him more.

A few tips include:

·    Ask your client questions, show them that you’re capable of seeing the bigger picture.

·    Start by owning the “business owner” perception of yourself and being confident when sharing it with others.

·    It’s okay to be selective at first. You can freelance sometimes, and be a business owner sometimes, depending on the situation. Which clients have the potential to turn into a business relationship? Focus on being a business owner around them.

20 years later, see how far Jonathan has come. Visit his website at Cleveland Design, and follow him on Twitter.

Are you in the middle of the transition? Have you made the transition? What has helped you?

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