If you’re like many working freelancers, you probably have more than one set of skills. With nearly every phase of today’s active businesses being partially or completely outsourced, it’s easy to branch out into different areas. For instance, a web developer may have programming skills and may also try graphic design and content writing. Branching out can lead to more work, more work means more income and, before you know it, you might find yourself with a whole new portfolio.
Situations like that are actually quite common in the world of freelancing. What’s more, the situation is often promoted by employers. Many employers like the idea of having one “go-to guy or gal” for multiple project types.
This scenario works for some all-around freelancers. For many freelancers, though, one area or another of the business eventually begins to suffer. Most of you reading this article will be familiar with the feeling of being stretched too thin. If you’re pushing project deadlines and working extra hours, maybe you’ve broadened the scope of your business too much. Overexpansion has been the downfall of many previously successful individuals.
Just to be clear, the scenario used above is only an example and we’re not saying you have to specialize or limit the scope of your work to be successful. Every freelancer has his or her unique formula for success. Just remember that adding extra ingredients may weaken the formula. If your current set of services isn’t working as planned, maybe you've added a bit too much.
So, if you think you need to narrow your focus, how do you start?
By determining where your efforts should be concentrated.
There are several factors to consider, but one good indicator is the amount of income from each area you’re working on. If one or two types of work are creating more income, there’s probably a good reason. It may surprise you to learn that this is probably the work you most enjoy. Perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising, since doing what you love is part of the reason you started freelancing in the first place.
There may be other deciding factors and in the end, it’s up to you to determine what works best for you and your business. If you discover that you’re making an unplanned career change by eliminating or giving less priority to what’s been supporting your business in the past, don’t be too concerned. Keep a positive attitude and make it a change for the better. Remember that you’re making these adjustments for the growth of your business.
One final note: You don’t necessarily need to eliminate any income streams. Fortunately, you have the power of outsourcing at your fingertips, just like the employers that hire you. A lot of freelancers have expanded their business by hiring other skilled freelancers. With a workforce of thousands of talented people available, it’s easy to find a few that you can work with to continue to provide a wide range of services for your employers.