Peter Drucker says
The purpose of business is to make and keep a customer.
I couldn’t agree more. In most cases you usually want a customer to buy, then buy again and again.
As Fran Tarkenton explains, Midas muffler doesn’t just want your muffler fixed, they want you to come back again and get your brakes worked on, and replace your wipers and invite your friends.
Well, you can’t practice retention if you don’t have enough entering the funnel. I believe I have an understanding of how to treat and retain a customer, but I must get those customers in the door first to retain them. As of October 2017, my consulting customers are too few to get regular retention business. Perhaps I need to 10X my opportunities.
Enter the freelancing fishing rod. One of my consulting lines in the pond is to gather customers by freelancing.
Wikipedia claims a Freelancer is “…a person who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long-term”
So let’s be a freelancer. I am open to hiring out for temporary assistance to attract first time customers with intent to develop a relationship and generate future business.
So how do I start? Naturally, let’s dive in with the niche market I’m working to establish myself within, D3 HTML Interactions. Why not since it’s a niche market I wish to expand upon and grow into.
My Freelancing Gotchas
- Programming is not the end game, but the lure.
- I am undercutting my value.
- Clients are difficult to communicate with due to freelancer service restrictions.
1 – Right now, my freelance offerings are programming. Programming is a labor and time intensive exercise. My long-term goal is not to be the widget maker, but to consult and subcontract in the making of widgets. However, I don’t believe I can establish myself as an authority in this niche without having first grown a portfolio based on successful creations.
2 – I am severely undercutting my value. People pay good money for such services and programmers. I’m dangling a low-price carrot. The thought is that after the initial project with a client you can renegotiate outside of the freelance mechanisms. This is a dangerous assumption. One of my mentors, Joel Sims suggests that
“there is a freelance culture where smart, respectable business people are hunting for top notch work at lowest price, period. If you raise prices, they’ll move on”.
The only way I know how to see is to experiment myself.
3 – The clients are difficult to commune with due to restrictions to only communicate through freelance services. Companies like Fiverr.com and Upwork.com usually require that all transactions, payments and conversation of any type occur through their platform. This is how they keep in business and make sure you don’t go and do business without them or get scammed. So it’s kind of against the rules to contact a client for additional work outside of the freelance online service.
So far, it’s been painful…
but perhaps I can be clever
Perhaps I only have to do this with each client once. Maybe I can get clients to find my website and contact me privately. Or if all else fails, after a successful project I can ask for a referral for someone else who might use my services. I can play by the rules.
Render unto Caesar what is Caesars.
I’m simply taking a gamble that freelance programming with turn into additional consulting referrals.
Maybe I’m just not that good at it yet
Maybe I’m just bad at it freelancing. Maybe. Just remember that before you can be good you must be mediocre, and before mediocrity you must get past being bad. It’s the same path. I haven’t given the experiment enough time yet, that is certain.
Let’s revisit this in a year and see how it went!
Here are a few other things to consider. If done right, freelancing can be a money-making hobby. Some of you have asked yourself a question similar to, “How can I make money tonight?” If you’ve ever wondered how to increase your income, you might want to consider Freelancing.
I’ve mentioned freelance sites since it’s easy to search and be found, but it is not only these services. Consider your customer and the circles they are likely to travel within.
If you have any questions about freelancing or want to share, please let me know your thoughts.