How To Make the Transition From eLearning Freelancing To A Full-Service eLearning Firm
Turning an eLearning freelancing career into a full-service eLearning firm requires a great deal of time, commitment, and focus. You must have a clear idea of your target market, business goals, and budget in order to make it a success. For this very reason, starting up your own eLearning business is not for the faint of heart. The good news is that there are some tips, tricks, and techniques that can help you make the move from eLearning freelancing with minimal stress to maximize your potential.
- Develop a solid business plan.
The key to success is creating a business plan for success. You must know what you are trying to achieve, how you are going to achieve it, and create a timeline for all of the milestones that you need to accomplish along the way. A business plan will serve as a guide that helps you stay on track and focus on your mission statement. It can also be a valuable asset if you are trying to secure funding for your new business venture, as many banks and investors need to see it before they will even consider your proposal. If you aren’t sure where to begin, then you may want to consider hiring a business consultant who can help you craft a winning plan that highlights all of your business objectives.
- Create the ideal work/meeting space.
Many eLearning freelancers work out of their homes, but this may not be the ideal space if you plan on hiring an eLearning development team. In some cases it may be necessary to rent a work space where you can conduct meetings or hold conferences. Make certain that it is free of any distractions and reflects your brand image, especially if you are going to be meeting with clients in person. If you are working remotely with a geographically dispersed team, finding the ideal virtual work space is key, ideally through an online project management platform.
- Plan on gradual expansion.
One of the most common mistakes that start-up businesses make is trying to rush their growth. Keep in mind that it takes time to build an eLearning business, and success simply won’t happen overnight. You have to be willing to accept the fact that starting small is usually the best course of action. Rather than hiring a team of 50 eLearning professionals right away and renting out a high-rise office space, start with a minimal team and a work space that is just right for your budding business. As you begin taking on new clients and expanding your eLearning business portfolio the growth will happen naturally and you won’t have to force it. This is yet another reason why creating a business plan is so important, as you can include your projected growth and develop a business strategy that aligns with your goals.
- Find a gap in the eLearning market.
Many eLearning firms choose to specialize in what they know, rather than determining what the market needs. By conducting research you can uncover any gaps that currently existing in the eLearning and corporate training sectors, then offer services that fill these gaps. This does not necessarily mean that you should completely ignore your current niche or put your strengths by the wayside. However, you can figure out ways to integrate your talents and abilities into an area of the market that is struggling or lacking. For example, your graphic design skills or background in sales can help set you apart from your competition.
- Minimize business expenses.
It may be tempting to go out and get a sizable business loan and invest thousands in your new eLearning firm. However, you should minimize your start-up costs as much as possible in order to avoid debt and limit your risk. Instead of buying all the latest eLearning authoring tools and gadgets, choose a few that you plan on using from day one and then slowly but surely expand your eLearning auithoring toolbox. As your client base increases and you take on more eLearning projects you will have the funds to make larger investments, without having to borrow a significant sum of money from banks or family members. One of the best ways to minimize your expenses is to create a budget from the very beginning. List all of your income and expenditures, and decide how much you are willing and able to spend on your new eLearning firm.
- It’s never too early to start marketing.
You should start marketing your eLearning business as soon as possible in order to generate leads and get the word out about new firm. Reach out to any potential clients and let them know that you are expanding your services, or start attending networking events to build the buzz. Get business cards printed and create social media pages on all of the major platforms. The key is to build awareness for your brand as quickly as you can. This also includes developing an online eLearning portfolio that features your best work and contact details.
Use these tips to transition from eLearning freelancing to a full-service eLearning firm, even if you are working with limited time and resources. Just remember, a strong work ethic and some creative thinking can make a world of difference when it comes to starting your own eLearning business.
Before you say goodbye to your part-time career for good, answer some important questions to find out if you’re really ready to set up a full-service eLearning firm. Read the article 7 Questions You Need To Answer Before Becoming A Full Time eLearning Freelancer to weigh the pros and cons involved with making the leap from eLearning freelancing to a full-service eLearning firm.