Why are so many Freelancers destined to fail?
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
--- Henry Ford
Okay, so the title of this post is not exactly motivating or inspirational.
‘Guaranteed to fail’ sounds a little scary. In fact, it sounds a little risky. And right now, you might be thinking: "but you told me that freelancing isn’t risky!"
Because it isn’t.
‘‘But then why are so many freelancers guaranteed to fail?”
Simple. They don’t know how to freelance.
So many freelancers fail because they don’t know how to freelance.
I’m not going to pull any punches here. I’m going to give you tough love as we go through this training. If I coddle you, if I pat you on the back and tell you…
“It’s going to be okay”
“Just show up and think happy thoughts”
“It will all just work out”
... I would be doing you a huge disservice.
The Reality of Freelancing
Freelancing has its benefits, and there is so much opportunity in the world today, right now, for freelancers. But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and lollipops, and it’s my job is to prepare you for the reality of freelancing.
If you want to succeed as a freelancer, you have to do the right things. There are methods and strategies and skill sets involved in freelancing, and you have to learn these methods and strategies and skills sets, and then apply them, if you want to be successful.
FACT #1 The world is on a fast track to a freelancing dominated work-space
Jobs are evolving. The workforce is shifting and traditional employee/employer relationships as we know them are changing. In the US alone, they predict that by 2028, half the population will be in some kind of freelancing role. Half the population!
FACT #2 You might not know what your future job will be
The statistic is a little unclear, but I heard somewhere that something like 70% of jobs we’ll be doing in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. The internet, technology as whole, what people need and/or require, is changing – and with that change comes opportunity. As freelancing gains momentum, and more and more ‘freelancing’ jobs become available, those that know how to freelance will have an edge over those that don’t because…
FACT #3 A LOT of competition
As a freelancer, you are competing with thousands, if not millions of other people for work. And although that sounds scary…
FACT #4 Someone is getting the work
Someone is landing the jobs. Someone is racking in the clients. And with the right training, you can easily become that ‘someone.’
I have presented these facts to help you understand how big freelancing is from a global perspective. Freelancing is a wave and it’s still gaining height, speed, and strength.
I want to prepare you for this wave; I want to give you an edge and help you get on this wave before it crests; I want to help the people that want to listen get ahead of the curve; I want to equip them with the right mindset and skills they will need, not just now, but in the future when the wave comes crashing in. Because…
FACT #5 Freelancing is growing in all countries, all over the world
No matter where you live, there are opportunities for you as a freelancer. And, like a wave, these opportunities are going to keep rolling in.
Population of Freelancers
Currently, the highest numbers of freelancers today are in Asia. Asia, as a whole, far outnumbers the US when it comes to the number of people freelancing.
The biggest countries within Asia for freelancers are: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. And although this is for everyone, and for freelancers of any country, the countries in Asia have a unique opportunity when it comes to freelancing.
In many Asian countries the cost of living is low, but the freelancers in Asia can market themselves to a Western market. This means they can earn US dollars, or Euros, or Canadian dollars – money that goes very far when the cost of living is low.
However, because there are more freelancers in Asia than anywhere else, the competition is especially strong.
So, although freelancers in Asia have huge opportunity when it comes to earning potential, they also have huge competition. I am pointing this out because, although the skills I teach in this book apply to everyone, they are especially important to freelancers in Asia because the competition is currently so fierce.
The Guaranteed Failure of an Unprepared Freelancer
So now that we’ve established just how big the freelancing market is, and that there is virtually limitless opportunity for success, let’s revisit the key concept of this chapter: the guaranteed failure of the unprepared freelancer.
Notice how I said ‘unprepared’? Because that’s really what it is. Freelancers that are not properly prepared will ultimately fail.
It’s not enough to just have a unique skillset. It’s not enough to just say: ‘hey, I’m a great graphic designer, or writer, or VA,’ and expect to win, because that won’t work.
It’s tough love time, and I’m here to tell you that your unique skill is not enough. Even if you’re the very best at what you do, it’s not enough to just be talented and skilled.
There are phenomenal writers out there with no clients. There are fantastic graphic designers out there with not a job in sight. There are the most amazing, most wonderfully skilled, most highly educated, most specialized people literally sitting behind their computer screens, scratching their heads, wondering why they can’t find work.
The jobs are out there. They’ve applied to them. But no one is hiring them.
Because they don’t know how to freelance.
Skills that a Freelancer should have
Freelancing involves a whole whack of other skills. On top of the specific skill you are offering, you must possess a plethora of other skills. And it’s these skills, these ‘other skills’, that separate the freelancers that flourish from the ones that fail.
So, what are these skills? And how do you obtain them? I’ve listed these skills below so you can understand them, but as far as obtaining them goes, well, that’s what I’m here to teach you…
1. Marketing and Sales
As a freelancer, you have to sell yourself to potential clients. You have to learn how to negotiate, and how to effectively market yourself within the space you are freelancing in.
To be a successful freelancer, you need to be an effective communicator. You will need to communicate with clients on a regular basis, so you have to be able to do so in a clear, concise, and effective way.
3. Customer Service
Almost every job in the world requires some level of customer service, and freelancing is no exception. You have to learn how to keep your clients happy, because they are your customers.
4. Administration and Accounting skills.
You are your own business, and with that comes all the responsibility of running a business, including accounting, bookkeeping, and all the other stuff that goes along with that.
5. Project Management Skills.
You’ve got to manage your projects, manage your time, and hold yourself accountable. This can be a difficult one for some people, because if you are coming from a ‘workplace’ setting, you are likely used to having someone tell you what to do and when to do it.
But as a freelancer, you have to take care of the project, as well as everything else, including the communication, the billing, the customer service, etc. This can be especially difficult if you are juggling several clients, so you have to learn how to effectively manage each project as best you can.
These are all skills that can be learned, but they all have one very important thing in common; they all stem from an entrepreneurial mindset.
Be like an entrepreneur
An entrepreneur understands that he or she is responsible for all aspects of his or her business, or at least for delegating everything that needs to be done.
This is the same with a freelancer. In fact, as a freelance, you are, in essence, an entrepreneur. So, you need to start thinking like one. Entrepreneurs are aware of all the skill sets they need to be successful, and now, as a freelancer, so are you.
I am always hiring. I hire freelancers and contractors every single month. In fact, across my multiple companies at any given time, I will have a dozen or more agencies, contractors, freelancers - all working for me on different projects. This puts me in a unique position, as I’m able to see what 95% of freelancers are doing wrong.
And it starts with mindset. If you’ve been trying to get clients and haven’t been successful, it’s because you’re not standing out from the crowd. Remember, there could be dozens, even hundreds of other people competing for your job, and it’s not enough to just be talented – you have to be a ‘full package.’
You have to think like an entrepreneur, and you have to acquire all the skills you need so that you can stand out from the crowd. You need to shift your mindset and understand that being ‘good at what you do’ is not enough – you need to be good at a lot more than just the skill you’re selling.
How to succeed as a Freelancer
Let’s look at it this way. The service you are selling is your egg. Content creation, website programming, writing, marketing – whatever your service is, that’s your egg.
But there are a lot of other people all trying to sell their eggs, so you can’t just wave your egg around in the air and say, ‘buy it.’ You need to make your egg stand out, you need to make it appealing to a buyer, you need to separate your egg from all the other eggs out there.
So how do you do this?
You weave a basket for your egg. Your basket is woven from all the other skills we’ve talked about in this chapter. You need these skills; you need a basket. And if you don’t have these skills, then you won’t have a basket, and your client will move on to someone who does.
To land the client, you need to position yourself to be the more attractive offer than all the other competitors. You need to have the most attractive basket.
I can teach you how to make that basket. I can teach you about the tools you need to create, and the foundation you need to build. I can teach you how to get clients, and how to get them to say ‘yes’ to you over the other people.
So why are so many freelancers guaranteed to fail? They had great eggs, even better eggs than some.
But they didn’t have a basket. They didn’t know how to make one. They didn’t even know they needed one in the first place.
But now you know. So, let’s start weaving