You’re going to find that some freelance questions? You end up answering over and over again throughout your career.
That’s because your work as a freelancer is MUCH more flexible than what you might do employed. That flexibility puts you in a spot where you can take advantage of changing trends to earn more, avoid dying niches, and put together the best life possible for yourself.
Asking what services you should offer falls right into that category too.
Unfortunately though, a lot of us step into the freelance game with an idea of what we do well (or what we’re “passionate” about) and try to force a good living out of it. I can almost promise you that’s a recipe for frustration and it makes me think of one of the last conversations I had with my grandmother.
Years ago, I’d made a habit of calling her every time I was leaving work and headed to Bible study. Since she’d had experience growing victory gardens during WWII, she always had input for my random garden projects. This time, I was hyped about the idea of growing garbage can potatoes so, in the middle of June, I asked her what I should do first.
“Y…you can’t just go throwin’ potatoes in the ground and expect them to grow! You gotta get the right kind and wait for the right time of year.”
That was a big lesson for me on trying to force nature to fit my goals.
The big freelance lesson? You can’t just go throwing random services out there and expect people to buy. People don’t just indiscriminately pay freelancers for any and every thing we put out…they have businesses to run and goals to meet!
The businesses you work with (the same ones who hire people) have needs to meet and as a freelancer, it’s extra important that you learn how to pay attention to what those needs are. That’s because if you do, it’s a LOT easier to develop your skills and service offerings in ways that bring you great return.
You’re probably wondering how you do that, so I’m going to give you three, really easy ways that you’ll be keeping up through all the years of your freelance career.
This is still a bit go-to for me.
I’m always paying attention to what other freelancers in my skillset are offering on their services pages. I use that information not only to know what to sell, but also what courses to take and what to stop offering.
Of course, personal experience should inform your services too, but you can learn a lot from other people’s work (which is why you’ll find links to other freelancers’ sites under the skillsets under Skillset Resources at the top of the site.)
Freelancers are ALWAYS talking about what we do and what we learn. We have to.
Disconnecting from employment means we lose contact with some really important information channels. To make up for that, we build blogs, podcasts (here’s a list of my favorite), webinars, and all kinds of other resources where we’re regularly talking about our challenges and insights. Get in the habit of listening and you’ll start finding incredibly useful clues to what services you should be offering as a freelancer.
Sometimes, first-hand knowledge is the best.
That’s why we have our open Slack team and more focused Skype group for Black Freelance Academy members. Talking to other freelancers and building on their knowledge and experience is one of the best ways to grow, so don’t be scared to ask questions!
The most important part is remembering that it’s a journey of discovery. You won’t get it right the first time, and that’s ok. We all go through this process every day and all become better freelancers for it.