Some of the best advice I’ve heard given to an entrepreneur is NOT to go into business. This is not easy for some to hear, but it should not be ignored. You see, if you’re not ready to take on the responsibility of running a social media business, or if you simply don’t have the skill set, then you are likely to fail miserably, lose tons of money and waste 100’s of hours of precious time.
The idea of going into business sounds glamorous. People assume that as a business owner, you have tons of free time and piles of money. The reality is, many small business owners have neither of those, especially when starting out.
So why would you even want to build a social media business anyway?
Successful social media marketers love what they do. They enjoy the ins and outs of social media and especially love driving results. Successful campaigns excite them. Happy clients are their lifeblood. And the cool thing about it is when you love what you do, the money follows. And that’s why starting a social media business might just be the best idea you ever had.
If you’re considering going into business for yourself and starting a social media company of any size, there are some pros and cons to consider. And there is more than one way to get started. Now is the time to ask yourself – are you a founder or a freelancer?
Being a founder of a social media business is a big responsibility. Not only do you need the business smarts to start and run a successful business, but you need the social media skill set to produce results for your clients. As a founder, you will wear multiple hats. One day you’re building strategic social media plans and the next day you’re working on payroll and taxes. If you already feel overwhelmed at your day job, imagine adding in about 5 more jobs on top of that, all of which you’ve never done before and have no clue how to manage. Sounds fun right?
Not. At. All.
This is why businesses fail. They chase the idea of the glamorous dream, but once it gets real and they are in the trenches working 80 hour weeks + weekends and not getting paid because clients are late paying and cash flow sucks, the dream fades fast.
So if running your own social media agency is your dream, make sure you are realistic about what it takes to turn it into a reality and not fry your brain in the process. It’s a lot of hard work. But hard work pays off. So does working smart.
So what does working smart look like for a social media agency founder?
- Knowledge base – you need to be amazing at social media. Not ok, not good, amazing. Get advanced training. Get certified. You need to know what you’re doing so you can produce great results and keep your clients happy. Happy clients are like money in the bank.
- Efficient processes – everything should be turned into a process and you need to get super fast at it. Efficient processes make you and your team faster, and save tons of time when onboarding new team members.
- Business smarts – you need to understand how to start and run a business. You will need to consider things like filing an LLC, hiring a bookkeeper, and even learn how to be a good manager if you plan to hire people. Some of these tasks have nothing to do with social media, and may be something you’ve never done before. But unless you know what you’re doing, you can be amazing at social media and suck at business. And sucking at business results in a failed business.
This is just a reality check, and isn’t meant to scare you. I’m just keeping it real. If you’re a more cautious person, or literally can’t afford to quit your day job and go all in on building a business, then a freelancer role may be a better fit and an better start.
As a freelancer, you can cut out a lot of the time consuming steps of starting a business. You don’t need to invest in designing a logo or website, or even setting up an LLC. Reach out to your network and let them know that you’re available for freelance work. Freelancers are very common in the social media world, and it’s not hard to find a couple paying gigs.
Attend networking events and groups in your local area. The best way to make connections and form relationships is in person. Put yourself out there and let people know that you’re looking for projects. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to find an opportunity, and how people will want to hire you to help you build your portfolio. Pro Tip! Offer a promotion with limited availability and special pricing for new clients.
Your portfolio that you build as a freelancer will help build your credibility for your future business. Any work you can get, even if you have to offer it at a super low cost, is important for your portfolio, to prove that you can do the work it takes to get results. Pro Tip! If you have any connections with well-known brands, offer to do some pro-bono work to help build your portfolio.
As a freelancer, you can hone your skills, improve efficiency, and free up time to take on the additional responsibilities of business ownership. Keep your day job, and commit to continued education to sharpen your social media skill set on nights and weekends. The sacrifices you make now will pay off in the future. You’ll look back and be glad you did it when you’re making a 6-figure income.
More than 80% of all businesses use social media, so starting a social media business can be a very profitable move. Just know the risks and rewards ahead of you, and plan accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with starting slow as a freelancer and building as time and budget allows. And if you’re all-in, make sure you build your social media empire on a solid foundation of knowledge and efficient processes.
The good news? Launchest is the tool that will get you on the fast track from freelancer to founder. It’s your social media business in a box, and everything you need to get started and run a successful social media business.