Which side of success do you want to be on?
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” — Leonardo da Vinci
Have you ever wondered why some freelancers are successful, while others not so much?
Is it luck? Skill? Talent? Ability? Intelligence? Experience? Motivation? Some other intangible?
Unless you’re a completely unlucky, unskilled, untalented, incapable, senseless, unexperienced and lazy person, the difference between those we deem successful and those who come up short lies in your willingness to be proactive, instead of reactive.
Reactive is when freelancers only rely on word-of-mouth until, one day, it unexpectedly and suddenly dries up, forcing them to either get a “real” job or deploy Operation: Contact Everyone I Know. (Trust me from experience when I warn you to avoid this situation at all costs.)
Reactive is when freelancers solely use freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Freelancer to get new projects, only to realize people in less-developed countries (e.g. India) can offer similar services for half the price (and get the majority of projects as a result).
Reactive is when people unfortunately lose their job (I just met someone who did), and then scramble to start a freelance business that ends up failing because they rushed it. (The alternative: Start a freelance business while you have other income, and take the diligent steps to build a freelance business that will make you more money than you’ve ever made before.)
To be proactive, on the other hand, is to prepare for an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one. For example, I still rely on word-of-mouth, but it’s not my only source of new clients. Instead, I’ve developed highly effective marketing and branding strategies to stay relevant and create value in the minds of my potential clients until they are willing, able and ready to hire me.
Ironically, my best clients — the clients who unquestionably pay me top dollar — come from my marketing and branding strategies, not word-of-mouth. Why? Because word-of-mouth clients don’t know me as well, which means they don’t trust me as much. They haven’t read any of my nearly 200 articles on LinkedIn, or received my weekly emails — both of which I use to portray forward-thinking insights about digital marketing.
On the flip side, the clients who come from my marketing and branding strategies have, in many cases, spent at least a few months reading my LinkedIn articles and weekly emails. They’ve experienced my forward-thinking approach to building marketing strategies that result in more new customers and higher customer spending frequency (two of the things businesses care most about).
As a result, they believe (another word for trust) that I can do the same for their business, and they hire me sooner or later. When I provide them with a proposal for $125 an hour, or $2,000 for a project that only takes me about 10 hours to complete, they simply ask: Where do I sign?
Word-of-mouth clients, however, are quick to question, probe and negotiate. And I don’t even mess with freelance marketplaces based on the economics of high supply (of available freelancers), and relatively low demand (of businesses seeking freelancers).
So, here’s the thing: You can sit back and let things happen to you (like I did for the first two years of my freelance career, with very little success). Or, you can go out and happen to things (like I’ve done the past three years, and boy have the results been spectacular).
The only question is: Which side of success do you want to be on?
P.S. The $300 discount and bonuses for both MasterCourses expire on June 22, 2017. Take advantage of them while you can 🙃