If you have a full-time job (or are looking for one), you’re aiming for a straightforward employment relationship—you sell your work to one company and they pay you a set rate (per hour, yearly, weekly etc., plus paid time off and sometimes benefits) It’s the marriage of the work world.
Freelancing is more like dating…you’re still looking for a partner, but you don’t want to settle down, and it’s generally not assumed that they’ll be responsible for any of your long-term well-being (thank you, Obamacare/ACA for disconnecting health from a set employer).
Those of us who freelance don’t want the long-term commitment of a permanent relationship…we keep our options open to leave relationships when they no longer suit us, or even date multiple people (clients) at the same time (of course things get tricky—and potentially unethical—when you want to freelance while holding down a committed job.)
Just like in dating, it can sometimes be hard to maintain the confidence to continually pull in new, healthy “partners”. It’s entirely too easy for any freelancer to forget that we can be great at finding people who want to pay, and pay well, for what we do. So to remind you (and myself) here are three reasons I’ve found that help me keep going when I forget that I really can bring in new clients.
You know what you do.
No one knew what I did for a living in my “normal” job, and to be honest, I didn’t either (at least not for the first six months).
If you are reading this, even if you’re just starting out, you probably have a good idea what you do—whether it be engineering, marketing, accounting, or writing, you know what you can accomplish, so step up to potential clients with confidence knowing that what you offer is real, and likely meets a genuine need that they have.
You can prove why people should buy from you.
I don’t like using the term “selling”…partially because I’m awful at it, but mostly because it falls sourly on a lot of people’s ears. I much prefer “demonstrating value”, because that’s all selling really is.
When you go in for an interview, your goal is demonstrate to an interviewer that you can bring value to an organization, and in freelance work, you’re doing the same thing. Sometimes that happens via a portfolio, or client referrals, maybe even a successful blog on the Black anime scene. Regardless, you get to put as much time and effort as you like in to building proof of your awesomeness, and remember, especially in the creative fields, your unique cultural experiences can be an advantage in environments that value the genuinely innovative and different.
There are way more resources than there used to be, and those numbers are growing.
You know how there are 54837902934832 dating and romantic sites out there now? Well similar stuff is happening in the world of freelancing.
Are you an experienced consultant looking for companies hiring for high-end projects? Check out Business Talent Group. Programmer looking for some guidance? Check out The Business Of Freelancing podcast (this is actually a good one for anybody). Freelance writer looking for support? The Freelance Writers’ Den is a great place to hang around.
So what’s slowing you down in selling your own work? Let us know in the comments below. After that, use a search enging to look up your specialization and the word “freelance” and see what kind of resources and job listings you run across. Sign up for anything that looks useful or informative…you never know what might spark a change in your relationship with employment.