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Three reasons you don’t need to have everything figured out before starting your business

I’m a woman who likes to get straight to the heart of things, and I’ve been working with people starting up freelance businesses for a long time. So lemme tell ya: you do not have to have everything figured out before you take your business live.

Trying to do so is like saying, “I want to be a perfect parent before my baby arrives.” That’s just nuts.

Let’s look at why you don’t need to worry about everything being perfect.

There are clients who need you at every stage.

Pricing vs experience is usually the biggest trip-up that new freelancers struggle with. You want to charge a healthy fee but hey, you’re new! Who’s going to hire you? How the heck do you price yourself when you don’t have a lot of street cred yet?

So, let’s say you’re an $800/project web designer. You may be thinking, “Ugh, who’s going to pay me $800/project? I can’t even afford my own services. I’m never going to get clients.”

That’s total BS.

There will always be people out there who have an $800 budget to spend on their website. Heck, I made websites for $500 a pop back in 2011 and it helped fund the Republic of Freedom when it began.

The reality is that there are customers for every budget. Whether you’re a $800/per website designer or an $8000/website designer – there are clients who need you and have a fee ceiling right where you’re at. As you get better, you’ll have lots of room to increase your prices based on your increased experience level and confidence.

Start with a working version of your business that feels comfortable. Not many people will be paying attention to you in the beginning so use that anonymity to play and tweak with how you position your services, as well as your fees. You can even change your rates from one day to the next because each new visitor only knows you from today forward!

Starting a business for the first time is like hitting puberty – you have no clue how you’ll end up on the other end.

If you’re new to freelancing you probably have NO IDEA what you will like about running a business, what you hate about running a business, and how your day-to-day business-owner reality will need to evolve in order to support the lifestyle you’ve been craving.

You think you know, but believe me – I don’t know a single freelancer who’s business looks the same after one year as it did when they started out.

There’s nothing wrong with it and everything right with it. You won’t know how or what to tweak, where to pivot, and what parts to perfect until your business teaches you how.

How do you get over yourself?

Just begin. Be open to the awesome journey of entrepreneurship. Be transparent with your audience about the fact that you’re learning too.

When I ran my first group coaching program, I told the participants it was my first time (and gave them a discounted ‘beta test’ price) and asked for their feedback to help me improve. The next time I ran it, it was way better and the price was double.

Just get yourself out there. People want to hear from and learn from you! They also want to see you go through business puberty as it assures them that you’re real.

Your business will constantly evolve.

You’ll grow out of your systems.
You’ll grow out of your copy.
You’ll grow out of phase 1 of your branding.

When I look back on the look and feel of my former website from 2011-2012, I reach for the nearest gin and tonic. The branding looked pretty amateurish and my copy sounded like skater-speak.

But hey, it still resonated with a lot of people who are still loyal followers and when I had some funds to upgrade, I did.

Most new freelancers last between 12-18 months with their original website and systems.

Everyone eventually feels like it’s time for a refresh and then you can take everything you’ve learned from mucking about in relative obscurity as you’ve been growing your list and making connections, and make phase 2 really awesome and more synchronistic with your bigger vision.

Treat this like exactly what it is – a starter phase. You’ll be much more chill about your businesses “imperfections”.

If you want to be really science-y about it, decide to revisit things in 3 months and again in 6 months and adjust your system, copy, or fees accordingly.

Remember: Change does not equal flakiness. You’re in business now…people are expecting you to grow and evolve. Give yourself a good 18 months until the bigger, more permanent version of your business will crystallize.

Heather Thorkelson Heather is a location-independent business strategist and serial entrepreneur. She works with people who are suffocating in the 9-5 and want to take bold steps to change their circumstances for good through smart freelancing, which she’s been doing herself since 2010. She’s lived in 7 countries outside of her own (Canada) and currently hangs her hat in Sweden where she runs the Republic Of Freedom. Every winter for a few months she runs off to be an expedition guide in Antarctica. (Just because.) Heather can be found sharing her travels and stories over on Instagram.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • What a great post Heather! It’s like you have been in my mind, written down all my doubts and questions, and given me all the answers. I am so curious to see where I will be in 18 months. What will my website look like, and how will I have changed the content of my package? Walking the way is part of the fun 🙂

  • So glad you liked it Shankar! I think it feels like I’m in your head because I’ve been there and I remember all too well what it was like. I’m excited to see where you’ll be in 18 months as well!

  • Emily

    Thank you! This post was perfectly timed, much appreciated. 🙂

  • You’re welcome Emily!

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