Entrepreneurs may not realize it, but they have more in common with freelancers than they might think. In 2016, Upwork released a study in partnership with Freelancers Union that provided insight into the growing freelance workforce in the United States. Some of the key findings included that full-time freelancers opted for the position in order to be their own boss and enjoy work and location scheduling flexibility. Sounds pretty similar to entrepreneurship, doesn’t it?
As the gig economy continues to grow (representing 35 percent of the U.S. workforce as of 2016), there’s a lot that small business owners can learn from freelance pros about how to successfully brand and run a business. From embracing mistakes to remaining spirited throughout triumphs and setbacks alike, here are three of the best business tips freelancers can impart to entrepreneurs:
1. Take a nimble approach to work
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a freelancer, you can’t escape the hustle. Every business, especially in its early stages, requires time and energy. However, freelancers are more nimble than entrepreneurs with the way they approach their workload.
One of the biggest reasons why is technology. According to Upwork’s study, 73 percent of freelancers rely on technology to find work. Communities such as Fiverr and TaskRabbit allow freelancers to find the gigs that are the right fit for them, complete assignments within a specific deadline and move right along to the next opportunity quickly.
2. Embrace mistakes
Freelancers are gig opportunists. They take an assignment, work to fulfill it and then submit it, making any adjustments based on feedback that they are given. Every gig teaches them something new, and they are willing to embrace all lessons learned — even those where mistakes were made.
Entrepreneurs must also be willing to make mistakes and own up to them. It all comes down to the concept of growth versus fixed mindsets in the workplace. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, describes fixed mindsets as those where talent is considered innate. You either have “it” or you don’t. If you have “it,” why keep challenging yourself to learn more? Dweck notes that leaders tend to embrace growth mindsets, which value hard work through experience in order to better develop their abilities. This includes making mistakes, which are considered to be part of the learning process. The more entrepreneurs say “yes” to a growth mindset instead of a fixed one, the more innovative and willing to take risks they become.
3. Maintain a spirited, positive outlook
In 2016, 63 percent of freelancers made the decision to switch from a traditional job to freelance, by choice. Admittedly, it’s not an easy field to work in, with top concerns including fair pay for fair work, debt and unpredictable income. Nearly 80 percent of freelancers still prefer it to a traditional job — again, just like entrepreneurs embracing leading a business!
Maintaining a spirited attitude is one of the best ways that entrepreneurs and freelancers alike can enjoy continued success within their line of work. No matter the industry, business has its share of good and bad times alike. Freelancers and entrepreneurs are fortunate that they are in fields that they genuinely enjoy and as such, know that they’ll be able to keep their heads up high through it all.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com, which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation and Deborah at @deborahsweeney.