What's wrong with being a freelancer?
I’m just going to say it: you will never have a badass business that creates abundance and freedom in your life if you are operating in the default freelancer model!
The “default freelance model” is how 99% of people who work for themselves run their business.
They are hired to do tasks for someone else.
Usually, they charge by the hour.
They’re hired to do what the client asks, what they believe needs to be done.
Ultimately they’re hired as, and operate like, an outsourced employee of the person who hired them and unfortunately, there’s just no way to achieve freedom in your life when you’re just doing someone else’s bidding.
My goal for all freelancers, everywhere, is to figure out how to make more money and have more freedom.
And achieving freedom requires you to stop thinking like a freelancer, and start thinking and operating like a business.
Now, classic business owners don’t consider freelancers as businesses. They think you need to have things like employees and an office to be a business. But what is a business? It’s an entity that exists to provide a value to the world (hopefully) and produce money for those involved. And that’s what any individual selling their services are doing, too!
The benefits of being a business.
What I love about applying philosophies of business to a freelancer is that a freelance business is nimble so it can change directions quickly, and the amount of money it needs to generate to make the owner a healthy living is relatively small compared to the amount of opportunity out in the world. Both of these mean that by implementing the business-minded model (the Badass Your Brand Model I talk about) you can get results much faster than when a traditional business tried to change course in their business.
(Side note: I have dreams of what I call the “solopreneur economy” where tons of individuals are generating massive value for one another but maintaining their freedom and independence in the process, and because solopreneurs are so nimble I’m confident this is going to happen relatively quickly. I hope you’ll join us! I digress…)
When you operate like a business you are hired for your expertise.
You aren’t brought on to just execute the work, but to share valuable knowledge about how and why to execute in a specific way.
Businesses thrive on process. When you operate your freelancing as a business, you, too, rely on and constantly improve your process to increase your profits. You’re not doing whatever the client says like a freelancer in the default model, you're leading clients through your proven process.
And clients hire you because your process is tried and true. Businesses thrive on reputation, and credibility, and when you operate like a business your process demonstrates that you have a track record of delivering.
The result is that clients respect your knowledge, get more value out of the experience, and become raving fans that tell their friends!
How to start being a business.
Want to operate like a business instead of the default freelance model? It’s all about what you say you do and how you do it. And one of the BEST ways to distinguish yourself from the other freelancers all fighting over the scraps by presenting as a business is to :
Have a process and own it.
Imagine if you went into a Starbucks and they ask you how to make the Frappuccinos you just ordered? You’d be confused, not only because you don’t know how to make a Frappuccinos, but also, isn’t that why you came into Starbucks in the first place?
Similarly, when a client comes to you, you want to communicate to them that you know how to make the Frappuccinos you serve, so to speak.
From the very first conversation with a client, your job is to figure out the biggest problem they face and give them solutions to fix it. Take a web developer, for instance. Asking, “What pages do you want?” is a perfect example of acting in the default freelancer model (and a mistake far too many make). Conversely, if you were operating like a business you would ask, “What's the goal? What's your biggest challenge? What problem are you looking to solve?”
By doing this you are showing that you bring expertise to the table, you are leading the way for them, and you have a process for solving their challenges.
Leading with your process – versus, say, a price point – keeps everyone focused on what’s important: the outcome. It allows you to manage and anticipate how long things take.
And, best of all, your compensation isn’t tied to the hours you spend delivering! Which is a key element of achieving freedom since, if your income is based on spending time working with clients to increase your success, you will need to take on more hours to make more money, and have too many clients (or not enough).
Instead, when your income is based on the value you provide, you can spend your energy looking for ways to increase the value you provide, and not, necessarily, the time you spend doing it.
The result? You become more profitable means because you’re increasing value and streamlining processes, not fulfilling hours, and more profit results in more freedom over your time.
What’s even more exciting is, the more you streamline your processes, the higher the prices you’ll be able to charge. Only when you are decreasing the time you spend delivering, and/or increasing the prices you charge will you increase your profits.
That is the freedom gained only by freelancers operating like a business by showing up as an expert.