Stop Calling Yourself A Freelancer
It’s costing you money.
Tealfeed Guest Blog
A company commands more respect than a freelancer. That’s a fact. Perception is reality, and people perceive freelancers as commodities.
- Freelancers fight for hourly work. Companies get paid by the project.
- Freelancers are interchangeable pieces. Companies are valuable partners.
- Freelancers own a job. Companies are an asset that can be built and sold.
Don’t limit your entrepreneurial potential by calling yourself a freelancer. Even if you intend to remain a solo show, position yourself as a legitimate company. Establish a brand and offer products, not hourly services.
Your earning potential will take a step forward with this positioning shift. But…saying you’re a company isn’t enough. You must back your words with action. Here are three steps you can put in motion right now to transform your freelancing job into a legitimate company.
Sell Products, Not Hours
Solid businesses can’t be built on hourly pricing. If you price hourly, you own a job, not a business. Hourly pricing penalizes you for becoming more efficient and frustrates your clients with surprises on invoices.
My previous business was a branding firm. I ran the firm for 14 years before selling to my partner earlier this year…
Shift to a product mindset with your pricing. Focus clients on the fantastic end result you’re going to provide. Set a project price and deliver results. Now your priorities are aligned with your client. Everyone wants results as quickly as possible. Nobody is worried about the price per hour, and you aren’t being penalized for efficiency.
Deliver results, not blocks of time and you’ll have much happier clients anxious to refer you to friends.
Build Repeatable Systems
What’s the end goal with your business? Do you want to sell it, pass it on to a child, or simply close your doors? Everything comes to an end. You can pretend you’ll be able to run your business forever, or you can prepare for your desired outcome.
I know it’s hard to think about selling your business one day (sometime in the distant future) when you’re worried about covering your bills today. Ironically, the best way to improve your revenue today is to build systems for the future.
Repeatable systems are easily translated into products. You specify a result and how much it costs. Now you’re able to charge a deposit on the front end of the project and the balance when the project is complete. Your current situation is improving (cash flow) while the longterm value of your asset (business) builds.
If every project you take on is different, you’ll never gain any scale in your business. You’ll constantly be fighting to find new work and never build a reputation for anything specific. Be predictably excellent in something specific by having a repeatable system that gets results for clients.
Nobody will buy a company that’s dependent on one person. It’s time to start thinking like an entrepreneur and less like a hired gun. How can you systematize your skills and train other people to deliver consistent results?
I’m not saying to go out and hire anyone this moment. Simply focus on building a repeatable system that makes it possible to train someone down the road. You can go on as a solopreneur for as long as you like, but you’ll be ready to bring in fresh blood when the time comes and it’s necessary to make your business sellable.
Clarify Your Message
What do you do? This is a question you’ll be asked hundreds of times every year. Do you stumble all over yourself trying to answer?
Most freelancers answer with something along the lines of, “I’m a _______.”
Who cares? That’s what people are thinking when they hear your bland line. The answer to this question should center around your ideal client and the problem you solve for them, not you. We’re all selfish people. Our instinct for self-preservation and survival makes us filter messages to find what’s in it for us.
The easiest way to build a powerful message that connects with your ideal client is to write a script. Yes, I mean literally build a script to memorize. Complete the following prompts.
My Client Is…
They Struggle With…
I Help Them By…
The One Thing That Makes Me Different Is…
A script provides structure for your business, brand, and marketing. You will identify your client, define their problem, solidify your solution, and vocalize your differentiator in four steps. This is basically a fast track to a badass brand and client-based business success.
Now simplify this script down to a single sentence. This sentence is your brand one-liner. You’ll use your brand one-liner on your website, social media profiles, in marketing, and in every form of conversation from sales presentations to cocktail parties. Use this prompt to make sure you properly focus your brand one-liner on your client.
I help ____________ do ________________.
Once you’ve built your brand script and brand one-liner, hammer them into people’s heads at every turn. Use the same language to express the same benefits on every communication channel. Consistency leads to recognition. Recognition leads to persuasion. Persuasion leads to a purchase.
Congratulations…You’re Now A Company
You’ve shifted away from hourly pricing, built repeatable systems, and crafted a clear brand story. You’re no longer a freelancer, you’re a bonafide company of one. Who knows…you may just end up hiring a team and turning this little gig into an empire.
This article was originally published by Andrew holliday on medium.
Tealfeed Guest Blog