Freelancers And Small Business Owners: Being Great At Your Craft Isn’t Enough
You’re an experienced and talented [insert professional specialty here]. That’s a fabulous selling point, but it may not be enough to attract your ideal clients or keep them happy for the long-term.
Sure, when you excel at the work you do, you have a competitive edge. To sharpen that edge, however, you may need to demonstrate other important skills, too.
Besides seeing yourself as a freelancer/professional extraordinaire doing your craft, strive to fulfill other roles, as well, to make yourself an invaluable resource to your customers.
Three Personas To Improve Your Professionalism
Competent Project Manager
Some clients have it all together—others not so much. If you have project management skills, you can fill a critical void for customers who lack the ability to organize efforts and keep projects on track. I was fortunate to have had the experience of working as a telecom product manager in my past career. Tasked with managing time lines and deliverables across various groups, the competence I developed in coordinating projects has become one of my biggest value propositions as a freelance writer.
Describing products and services, proposing rates, setting expectations, confirming responsibilities, explaining processes, and so on—things every business owner needs to do almost daily—all require communicating clearly. Concentrate on organizing your thoughts and getting to the point in conversations written and spoken. As an accomplished communicator, you can more effectively avoid misunderstandings and ensure you and your clients will be on the same page.
Listening so you absorb what clients are saying, recognizing the motivation behind their words, and going a little above and beyond to understand their challenges can really set you apart. By getting to the heart of your clients’ issues rather than simply treating symptoms with Band-Aid solutions, you will earn trust, respect, and hopefully long-term business relationships. For example, I regularly have prospects come to me thinking their websites’ existing content is why they aren’t generating online leads. But after listening to them, reviewing their content, and looking at the big picture, I often find content alone isn’t their problem, and my services independently wouldn’t significantly improve their outcomes. In those situations, I refer these customers to other professionals who have the ability to fill the voids I cannot (like website design/development, SEO, and social media strategy).
The Value Of Being More
By developing these identities within your professional persona, you become more than just a service provider—you become an indispensable asset to your clients.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” ~ Warren Buffett
Give them value and you’ll gain trust, respect, and loyalty.
What will you do to be more today?