Love the Life but not the Labour?

You don’t have to go far to read anything on the topic of starting your own company, working on your own, being the Army of two or three or four.

All the trials and tribulations you need to go through to make it work (not be a massive success), simply to make it work.

It’s not easy, never has been, never will be.

There are way too many articles out there to list them all on the subject.

Here’s what it takes;

  • Constantly living with the unknown and understanding that tomorrow could change your course.
  • Constantly putting yourself and your work out there to make a sale.
  • Navigating that fine line between success and failure and being okay with being in the middle.
  • Knowing that everything I just said can change tomorrow.

But if you can do all that and be happy that you can steer your own destiny, then love that life, but don’t do it for the hype.

Proving Your Worth

This is probably the hardest lesson that any Freelancer, Consultant or Contractor has to figure out.

What am I worth?

What is my value to someone?

How do I place that into an hourly, daily or project based total?

The industry at large would have you start with what your track record is – what you have completed and what has been marked as a success.

Little thought is given to…

  • What you are trying to accomplish
  • What side projects you have going on that don’t bring in any income (yet)
  • What hidden skills you offer alongside your track (i.e., it wasn’t one set of skills that ensured those projects were delivered)
  • Who you are and what you can accomplish

The only way to show your worth is if you enunciate it to include not only what you have accomplished, but why it was YOU accomplished it (and not someone else) and what you have the potential to accomplish for all your customers.

Freelancer Problem Solving

Typical problem solving via a formal RFP (Request For Proposal) involves writing out a lot of steps that check boxes and set out steps for what the problem is today over the course of a six to twelve-month engagement.

In some cases, room for change and rescoping is frowned upon and discouraged.

Whereas, the Freelancer, gives provides their services to solve the problem, irrespective of the checkboxes and output items, allowing room for change, growth, and environmental scenarios to enter the mix without derailing the process as a whole and making the customer feel as though they are “not getting what they paid for.”

Problem definition is very difficult to understand in the present, let alone forecast it for twelve months down the road so why make a plan built around deliverables and outcomes when the problem by it’s very nature will change while you are working on it.

Don’t get hung up on the checkboxes and grids, get hung up on when the end goal is.

Believe in Your Sales

We spoke on this topic in one of our recent podcasts on Sniffing Markers – “Take Me To Your Leader”¬†but I thought worth re-iterating here as it struck a chord with me that I’ve kept repeating to myself as I work with customers in more sales oriented scenarios.

“If you can believe in what you are selling, why should you feel guilt in talking to someone about it.”

Think about it, whatever you are really selling today, if you are really passion about it, you love it, it drives you and you believe there is a world out there that can benefit from the value and change that you can bring them – why should you feel guilty about reaching out to people to meet them and discuss what you are selling.

Sales are never easy, but wherever you are, think about this when you feel nervous the next time you are talking to someone – believe in who you are, what you are selling and the change that it can bring.

Find Your Niche

Are you more successful with 10 clients that you have a strong relationship with, understand their industry and can anticipate their needs based on current trends and forecasts?

Or are you more successful with 1000 clients that you have an okay relationship with, spread out across multiple industries where you are not an expert in any?

That’s the difference between having a niche and having a base – a niche is something that you wake-up and can feel the heartbeat of in every step you take, a base is solid but you need to probe more, ask more questions, spend more time trying to understand vs trying to help, resolve and move forward.

It’s not only a question for you but for your customers as well…

What do you want?

And what do they need?