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5 Business to Business Freelance Startup Ideas | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

5 Business to Business Freelance Startup Ideas

Date March 31, 2008


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Business Meetings
Creative Commons License photo credit: thinkpanama

In today’s freelance idea roundup, I’ve dug up five, business-to-business ideas. You’ll primarily be marketing to other businesses, whether in your local area or abroad.

1. Business Support Services

As a business support service provider, you’ll be writing letters, transcribing notes, mailing post cards, and performing minor bookkeeping. As you progress, you might get involved with resume writing, presentation preparation, flyers, catalogs, and brochure design.

This is an ideal business to start locally. You should be able to at least approach your former employer with your new services. If you’re new, and you don’t have as many contacts, you can offer a variety of services to see which are more profitable and in-demand as time progresses.

You’ll need a high end computer with word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation capabilities. Don’t invest in high-end graphics software until there’s a demand. This software is expensive and has a steep learning curve if you haven’t used it before.

Pricing

To make a full-time living, you’ll need to charge in the $40 to $50 per hour range. If you have experience with a specific application or service, you’ll be able to charge by the project.

Another option is to offer a discount if a client wants to purchase a bundle of hours in advance.

Marketing

  • Networking at Chamber of Commerce events
  • Offer speedy service, free pickup, and delivery
  • Focus on small, service businesses like lawyers, accountants, and insurance brokers
  • Ask for referrals from print shops

For more information, check out http://www.ninafeldman.com/resources.htm.

2. Business and Technical Writing

I think writing is still the best opportunity for freelancers today. It requires minimal startup cash and can be started part-time and built into a full-time endeavor.

Bigger companies need annual reports, personnel manuals, safety manuals, sales letters, and direct mail pieces.

Smaller businesses need brochures, flyers, press releases, and other marketing collateral.

Technical writers focus more on writing material that presents scientific and technical data in layman’s terms. A technical writer might work with a software company to put together an online help menu or a user’s manual.

With technical writing, you’ll have a better chance of getting hired if you have specialized knowledge the project requires. But, once you complete your first assignment—and finish it well—you should be able to take on a variety of work.

You’ll need word processing software (Microsoft Word more than likely). If you’re writing longer documents, you might also need a page layout program like Adobe InDesign.

Pricing

Business writing commands fees in the $20 to $100 per hour range depending on the type of writing. Technical writing is in the $30 to $80 per hour range. Both types of writers average $50 per hour.

Potential earnings are in the $15,000+ for part-time work all the way to $100,000+ for full-time writers. Earnings can vary tremendously depending on your skill set as well as your specialty.

Marketing

  • Send letters to local businesses
  • Send postcards
  • Join freelance job boards
  • Setup a MySpace and FaceBook page
  • Setup a blog; write about the topics you want to cover

3. Business Consultant and Coach

You have two options as a business consultant. First, you can work with business executives or other high level personnel to help them refine their skills and get better jobs. In this case, you’re acting more as a coach. Or, you can work with businesses, helping them reduce costs, increase output, or create plans for growth or downsizing.

The key to success in this business is having the experience to advise and make recommendations to clients. Your end product might be a special report or plan but it’s your knowledge and know-how that will set you apart.

Marketing

The best type of marketing is any activity that allows you to demonstrate your expertise such as in a seminar or free workshop. Depending on how much experience you have, you might be able to pick up clients through networking.

Pricing

You’ll more than likely charge by the hour. Put together different consulting packages with varying degrees of services and costs.

For example, if you want to help retiring executives explore business startup ideas, put together an introductory package where you assess their skills and desires.

If someone wants to take the next step and move forward with a business plan and more coaching, he can buy a second package with more hours and more assessments.

Using this method allows you to offer a full range of services that are well defined at a fixed price.

For more information check out www.coachu.com, a leading provider of coach training.

4. Business Plan Creator and Consultant

This business idea also has two startup options. Many small businesses wanting to expand need financing, typically from a bank. The only way to get a loan is to present a business plan.

Another option is to help startup businesses put together a plan, not only for possible funding, but to help them flesh out their ideas, marketing strategies, and finances.

Business plan software can help you get your job done much quicker but don’t treat it as a replacement for your true knowledge and skills.

You need to have a solid understanding of finance and accounting principles because you’ll more than likely be called upon to put together sales forecasts and accounting systems.

Pricing

Pricing is in the $60+ per hour range. If you have experience, you should be able to charge $5,000+ per plan.

Another innovative way to price your service is to charge a lower initial plan fee with a royalty percentage based on how much financing the company receives. This is more lucrative but requires more confidence you can get the financing required.

Marketing

Get to know your local small business development/incubation center. Many startup businesses will need money when the time comes to expand.

Offering workshops and seminars is another good way to get in front of prospective clients, especially people wanting to start a business but not knowing where to begin.

You can also teach small business courses if there’s a community college or technical school in your geographic area.

5. Home Business Consultant

Do you already have a home business? Do you know what it takes to start a part-time business and take it full-time? If so, you might have what it takes to help others do what you’ve done.

This business can take you in many different directions. Maybe you enjoy evaluating business ideas. Not all ideas are suitable for running at home. Or, maybe you’re an accounting whiz and can help others weave through the tax maze.

You can also help with financing options, finding products and suppliers, or marketing strategies.

Pricing

As with many consulting fields, I recommend putting together different packages. Then, if someone needs help on an as-needed basis, charge a fixed hourly fee in the $55+ range.

Marketing

As Web technologies are maturing, more and more people are looking at the home based business option. By offering seminars and workshops on starting a home based business, I don’t think you’ll have any problem getting an audience.

Starting a business can be a very stressful and personal journey. You’ll need to be part coach, part psychologist, and part disciplinarian.

This can be an exciting business as you help others achieve their business ownership dreams.

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Related posts:

  1. Be a Freelance Business Plan Writer
  2. Creating a Freelance Business Plan - Part 5
  3. Things to Think About When Setting Your Prices

2 Responses to “5 Business to Business Freelance Startup Ideas”

  1. Irene said:

    Hi. You have some great information on here…..I am bookmarking your site and will be back often!

  2. Jerret said:

    Thanks, Irene. I’m glad you like it.

    Do you have your own business? Is there anything you would like me to cover?

    -Jerret

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