Business owner, employing exactly one person

I’m doing a little professional development this weekend, reading blogs and articles to get in touch with the field again, and I came upon Louise Harnby’s post Why I Hate the Term “Freelance Proofreader” — A Letter to Newbies:

If I’d spent 15 years working as an electrician for an electrical installations company and then decided to go it alone, I’d never have described myself as a “freelance electrician”. I’d have told people that I was now running my own electrical business. Does “freelancer” really reflect the level of business acumen required to do my job? … I’m the owner of a business that employs exactly one person.

YES. This is exactly how I’m approaching Last Syllable Communications. I’d shied away from being a freelancer before because I didn’t know how to make an invoice, or I was concerned about being able to manage taxes, or whatever other detail. I thought I just hadn’t had an opportunity in my salaried jobs to learn those things, enough to make it on my own. Now that I’m looking at this as how do I expand a small business, employing exactly one person, I’m finding a ton of resources like tax guides for sole-proprietor businesses or sample invoices to adapt (and the ones I’d made before weren’t too shabby in comparison). There seems like less of an expectation that I’d know all this already.

Running a business also feels more like a job to me, rather than a haphazard to-do list with fingers crossed. Of course I’ll need to make financial forecasts and develop a marketing strategy. Of course I can evaluate potential new clients and tell some of them no. of course I’ll need to allocate some time in my day for administrative tasks to keep the business running smoothly.

I do think that I’ve matured in the past couple of years and that that’s had an effect on how I structure my work now. However, I’m much more confident that I’ll be successful because I have been thinking of this as starting a business rather than just “freelancing.”

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