How To Sell Yourself In The Self-Employed Market

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June 23, 2017
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In a big organisation, cowed by cubicles and lunch breaks, we’re prone to pleasing others for the sake of it. Employee behaviours are hard to unlearn: usually, they make us choose the option of least risk, because we rely on others for our wage, and they have to see us smiling and nodding along to their ideas.

So when a freelancer or contractor starts out, a few old habits may follow their steps to a new way of life. Self-reliance means we have to be smart, savvy and able to say ‘no’ when we have to. Here’s how to train those skills, if you’re breaking from an employee mindset…

Find the right price for your services

We’ve covered this before, but it’s worth repeating. Research your competitors and find a mid-point between the lowest and highest freelancer rates. Yes, it’s a bad idea to aim for a price you can’t justify, considering your experience, yet there’s equal (if not more) harm in selling yourself short.

Realise that you aren’t just a ‘provider’ – you’re someone who can add a transformative, irreplaceable value to those that recognise it. When you gain a small portfolio, don’t be shy to dig into what that value might be.

Don’t race to one job after another

That golden word – client – should worm into your skull. It’ll replace the idea of a random, there-and-then-it’s-over assignment. Freelancers have to forge relationships that’ll last for months, or even years. To court a dependable pool of clients, you have to spend time looking for them.

Therefore, treat your outreach, whether in spent minutes or monetary costs, as a necessary part of being The Real Deal. If a project looks like a quick financial fix, don’t leap to it. Consider where future opportunities lie. Obviously, take some one-off assignments too – just don’t make them the be-all, end-all of your business model.

Admit weaknesses, and solve them

The days of performance reviews are gone forever. There’s no hawkish management figure peering over you, or chance to moan about a faulty computer system. While this can be liberating, there’s a catch: that of fixing any holes in your freelance strategy, whether they’re down to tech, timescales or self-taught industry knowledge.

So there’s plenty of merit in taking tough, frequent looks at how you produce something. A particular strain of software, for instance, could be a valid investment that ends up paying for itself. Or what about time tracking for each project, re-evaluating extra fees, and switching up the queries you tend to fall back on in a meeting?

Put together a ‘pros and cons’ list. Then, as soon as you’ve acknowledged what’s lacking, do your best to solve it. Sitting on decisions, and refusing to change, is simply going to harm your professional stature.

To this last point, we’d like to add the vitality of a fool-proof accounting structure… Bright Ideas can slot neatly into your freelance lifestyle, advising on where to save, how to meet tax obligations, and clear routes to a strong cashflow. By taking control of those finances, you’ll hit another self-employed yardstick – call us on 0161 951 9305 to get there as fast as you can!

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