How to be successful (both financially and job satisfaction) as a freelancer
From what we see there’s two very different routes to success:
|Be technically brilliant||Be brilliantly efficient|
|Summary||Be the go to expert in your industry niche, and shout about it.Charge top dollar for your time and expertise.Be at the forefront of new industry developments.||Efficiently create what your market wants.Focus on a niche, so all clients are similar.Similar output sold to many low budget clients.NB “product” will often be a packaged service.|
|Types of work||Consulting, giving talks, training, for businesses that can afford it.||Find a common need in your industry.Build a replicable product they’ll want.|
|How to win it||Rely on strong reputation/contacts.Many big businesses should want your help.This enables you to choose what work you do.Look for work you’ll enjoy most and/or pays best.||Focus on the simple mass market.Create a low-cost product that meets client needs.Streamline processes to minimise hours/client.Market it well.|
|How you’ll charge||Normally by the hour/day.||Normally fixed fee for a product|
|Things to avoid||Low budget clients. They likely can’t afford you.Repetitive work that bores you.||Complex/quirky situations. Not enough of them to be worth catering to.|
|Early income expectations||Impress the right clients and decent income is easy earn quickly.A full week’s consulting should pay well.||Harder to get off the ground. Nobody pays you to streamline the product.You’ll need multiple clients for a basic income.|
|Later income expectations||Can be difficult for earnings to grow beyond that.Clients want you, your expertise.The depth of that knowledge gained over many years can’t be quickly passed on to others.You’re limited by the number of hours in your day.||Whilst you can’t charge top dollar per client, you can service lots of clients easily.A small profit each, from lots of clients, can lead to a great income.This is more readily scalable, especially if you can outsource/recruit the production.|
|Strengths you’ll need||Be great at the technical skill of your trade…or at least convince other people you’re great (“fake it til you make it”?!).Public speaking skills may be beneficial to enable your knowledge to reach a larger audience.||A problem solver.Establishing the key things clients really want, and what’s unnecessary fluff.Automating/systemising to deliver more efficiently.People skills to train staff and keep them enthused.|
|What to outsource/recruit||Things enabling you to charge more for your time, or charge for more of your time.|
Agents to secure higher paying bookings on your behalf.
V.A.s to organise your calendar/plan for you/deal with admin.
|The product completion.You create the guide and provide the tools.Juniors/subcontractors can then follow it after basic/quick training.|
Neither is better/worse than the other. However from what we’ve seen, it helps to pick just one, the one that suits your personality, and stick with it.