Over at Small Business Labs, Steve King set out his top 10 business trends for 2011. At number 9: “Freelancers Realize They’re Small Business Owners.” King identifies two categories of contingent workers: those embracing freelancing and those stuck with it because of a lack of full-time job options. He writes:
Both groups will increasingly see themselves as long-term freelancers and realize to be successful they will need to view themselves as small business owners. [Emphasis mine.] This shift in thinking will improve their businesses and result in a stronger, more successful freelance community.
I agree completely with King’s premise. To succeed in business, you have to have a business mind. That falls right into my definition of Independent Thinking, which says in part that “to venture out on your own, you have to be great at your core business and savvy enough to manage everything else.”
But I think his conclusion is wrong.
It’s just not that easy to be a business owner, much less an entrepreneur. You have to understand that it is about more than just picking up projects or handing out business cards at a networking event. It’s about managing clients, marketing, branding, budgeting, forecasting, innovating, learning, business development–and getting the paying work done.
And you have to really want it.
I’ve seen some freelancers be very successful freelancers. Some independent contractors try to be business people and fail miserably. Some business people try business ownership and be completely lost. Looking at the landscape of the unemployed, it’s rare that I meet people who get how to pivot to small business ownership.
Are there some? Sure. But a trend? I’m not seeing signs of it.
Photo by Obliot (Flickr).