Taking the Freelance Plunge
“There’s nothing quite like asking someone to pay you for something you’re not quite sure you can do.” -Me.
One of the most
!important and delicate times for a business is the validation phase: do people want to and will they give you money? You’ve built your product, or practiced your elevator pitch just so, and you’ve even made a business card that you can hand out to people.
I’ve done that too. And I still do. It’s probably one of the best things that you can do in order to form your new identity. You are no longer sitting on the sidelines; you’re getting into the game (albeit with frequent breaks, because you’re winded and maybe not in the best shape yet. At least you didn’t injure yourself yet!).
The business cards, the elevator pitch, the three page website (landing, about and contact pages) are meant to do one thing: establish your new identity as a freelancer. And that’s what you want, right? You want:
- people to call you when they need X.
- folks to ask (and pay for) your opinion on Y.
- your family and friends to take you seriously when you say, “I’m a Z”.
And this is all good and well…
The Identity Crisis
However, behind the fresh smell of business cards, the pat on the back for your DYI website, and excited jitters of your first meeting with a client, there’s a deeper shift going on.
It’s a shifting of your identity. Who you are as a person is changing. If this is a “side gig” for you, now you say, “…oh, and I also do XYZ on the side…” While the new tag-lines and suffixes to your self-introduction may sound convincing, it probably feels more like you’re still trying to talk yourself into what you’ve committed to do:
- I think I can, I think I can…
- Is this really me? This isn’t really me… is it?
- Who is crazy enough to believe me? I don’t even have a customer/client yet!
The crazy thing is, you actually start to believe yourself! And then, you land your first client.
My first client was great, and I spent a lot of time emailing and talking through the project that we were going to do before there was any money on the table. I set up their website for a very low rate (already underpricing myself; classic rookie move!), and made sure they were satisfied and sent a feedback form.
I didn’t get any feedback, but thankfully, they’ve returned for a second session.
Two points of validation:
- They were willing to pay once.
- They enjoyed my final product and services so much they’re back for more.
And that is when you know you can get the next client… and the next one… and the next…
Estimated hours spent acquiring first three clients: 9.
Value of the validation of my products and services: Priceless
This is my first post that I’ve written entirely with Markdown. What is Markdown, you say? It’s the easiest language you’ll ever learn.